Health practices and hardiness as mediators in the stress-illness relationship.

D. J. Wiebe, D. M. McCallum

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Abstract

Two stress and illness models that include the joint mediating effects of health practices and hardiness were tested prospectively over a 2-month period. At the beginning of one academic quarter, 60 female and 26 male undergraduate students completed five subscales indexing hardiness. Stress, health practices, and illness for the prior month were assessed at this time as well as 1 and 2 months later. Stress was measured by the number of negatively rated stressors reported on the Life Experiences Survey. Health practices were measured by the Self Care Inventory. In the first model, illness was measured by the severity of physical symptoms reported on the Seriousness of Illness Rating Scale; in the second model, it was measured by the number of symptoms reported. Correlations between all measures of stress and illness were typical for life events research (r = .22 to .29). In both models, path analyses revealed that stress acted directly to affect illness as well as indirectly by changing health practices. Hardiness also had a direct effect on illness as well as in indirect effect through health practices. Hardiness did not appear to have a stress-buffering effect on illness; rather, its effects on illness appeared to be independent of its effects on stress. Implications for life events research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-438
Number of pages14
JournalHealth psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association
Volume5
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1986

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

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abstract = "Two stress and illness models that include the joint mediating effects of health practices and hardiness were tested prospectively over a 2-month period. At the beginning of one academic quarter, 60 female and 26 male undergraduate students completed five subscales indexing hardiness. Stress, health practices, and illness for the prior month were assessed at this time as well as 1 and 2 months later. Stress was measured by the number of negatively rated stressors reported on the Life Experiences Survey. Health practices were measured by the Self Care Inventory. In the first model, illness was measured by the severity of physical symptoms reported on the Seriousness of Illness Rating Scale; in the second model, it was measured by the number of symptoms reported. Correlations between all measures of stress and illness were typical for life events research (r = .22 to .29). In both models, path analyses revealed that stress acted directly to affect illness as well as indirectly by changing health practices. Hardiness also had a direct effect on illness as well as in indirect effect through health practices. Hardiness did not appear to have a stress-buffering effect on illness; rather, its effects on illness appeared to be independent of its effects on stress. Implications for life events research are discussed.",
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