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Title: Stress and Health: 'Little Hassles' Versus Major Life Events
Contributor(s): Ruffin, Coral Lynette (author); Gates, Richard (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 1989
Copyright Date: 1988
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: The current study investigated the relationship between stress and health, from a psychological perspective. Until recently, modern stress-health research has been primarily concerned with the effects of major life events (Holmes and Rahe, 1967). However, studies undertaken by R. S. Lazarus and Colleagues (1981, 1982), suggested that it is the minor stresses, or 'little hassles,' characteristic of our daily transactions with the environment, that have a greater impact on health outcomes than do major life events. Given the positive outcome from the American 'hassles' research, the present study had two aims: (i) to investigate the relationship between 'hassles,' life events and health, using a transactional perspective (ii) to determine if the 'hassle-health' relationship held within an Australian population across a broader, demographic sample. It was predicted that hassles would relate more strongly to psychological and somatic health than would life events. Also, consistent with previous research, differences in stress and health levels were expected relative to the demographic variables sex, age marital status, occupation and education. The study sample consisted of 203 respondents (84 males and 119 females). A survey research design was used with a stratified sampling technique. Questionnaires were employed to obtain information on the frequency and intensity of respondent's hassles, psychological symptoms and somatic symptoms, and the number, change and distress levels of their life events. The fundamental hypothesis was generally supported. Hassles did impact more significantly on psychological and somatic health than did major life events. Further, the relationship held across the broader Australian sample, and the 'hassle' means were comparable to those reported in the American studies. As expected, there were demographic differences on the stress and health measures involving sex, age, marital status, occupation and eduction, but not all of these were statistically significant. Consistent with previous studies, it was concluded that generally, hassles were more predictive of health outcomes than were major, life events.
Publication Type: Thesis Masters Research
Rights Statement: Copyright 1988 - Coral Lynette Ruffin
HERDC Category Description: T1 Thesis - Masters Degree by Research
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