Cumulative lifetime stress variables in predictors of depression and chronic illness in women

by Mireault, Maria

Abstract (Summary)
Cumulative Lifetime Stress Variables as Predictors of Depression and Chronic Illness in Women Maria Mireault Further progress in understanding the relationship between psychological stress and health may require examination of the cumulative effects of stress experienced across the lifespan. The main objectives of the present research were to leam more about the nature of stress experienced by women during the life course and to examine the relative contribution of cumulative lifetirne stress to the prediction of depression and chronic illness. Data acquired from a sample of three hundred and eight women who volunteered for an earlier shidy examining the impact of changing lifestyles on health were analyzed for this study. Subjects completed a wide variety of psychosocia~ measures including a retrospective mesure of lifetime stress, the Concordia Lifetime Stress Graph (CLSG). A qualitative analysis of the CLSG identified several differences in lifetime stress experienced by the younger and older women. Work-related stress was the rnost frequently reported stressor by women aged 30-59. In addition, work-related stress, separation and divorce were perceived as being the most stressful events by this age group. Women aged 60 and over reported death of a family member most fiequently and also rated it as being the most stressfuI event experienced. Younger and older women also differed in the vaxiability of lifetime stress experienced, however, they did not differ on mean lifetime stress. Results of the quantitative analyses indicated that cumulative lifetime stress, as measured by the CLSG is not related to depression or chronic physical ..a 111 illness in women. However, methodofogical problems may have influenced these findings and funher research should be conducted before concluding that lifetime stress does not affect women's health.
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Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:01/01/1998

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