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Social support, life events and physical symptoms: A prospective study of chronic and recent life stress in men and women

Cropley, M and Steptoe, A (2005) Social support, life events and physical symptoms: A prospective study of chronic and recent life stress in men and women Psychology, Health and Medicine, 10 (4). pp. 317-325.

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The objective of this study was to examine whether functional social support buffers the effects of chronic and recent life stress on physical symptom reporting in men and women and assess whether perceptions of support remain stable over time. A longitudinal design was used. Self-ratings of stressful experiences were completed every 3 months over a period of 1 year. Physical symptoms were assessed at 6 and 12 months, and perceptions of social support were measured at baseline and at 12 months. Three groups were formed on the basis of average stress values for the first and second 6 months of the year: chronic low stress, chronic high stress and a recent high-stressed group consisting of individuals who reported low stress for the first 6 months, but high stress for the second 6 months of the year. As expected, high life stress was associated with greater symptom reporting. Perceptions of support remained stable and did not decline over the 12 months. After controlling for negative affectivity and physical symptoms at 6 months, no main effects of social support were found on reported physical health. However, perceived social support did moderate physical symptom reporting in those reporting recent high stress. For chronically high-stressed individuals there was no significant difference in physical symptoms between those with high or low social support. It was concluded that social support moderates the impact of recent but not chronic life stress on physical symptom reporting. © 2005 Taylor & Francis Group Ltd.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Steptoe, A
Date : 1 November 2005
DOI : 10.1080/1354850500093365
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 17 May 2017 09:50
Last Modified : 04 Dec 2019 15:55

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