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Is social stress in the first half of life detrimental to later physical and mental health in both men and women?

Steverink, N., Veenstra, R., Oldehinkel, A. J., Gans, R. O. B. & Rosmalen, J. G. M., Mar-2011, In : European Journal of Ageing. 8, 1, p. 21-30 10 p.

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DOI

This study examined gender differences in the associations between affection-and status-related stressors encountered in the first half of life and physical and mental health problems later on. Based on the theory of Social Production Functions (SPF) two hypotheses have been formulated, which were tested in a representative sample of 446 men and 514 women (aged 40-79). Main outcome measures were number of chronic somatic diseases and level of psychological distress. As expected, regression analyses showed no gender differences in the associations between affection-related stressors and physical and mental health problems later on. In contrast, but as also expected, status-related stressors encountered in the first half of life were associated with later physical and mental health for men only. It is concluded that the gender differences in the associations between earlier social stressors and later health problems may be more complex than the common assumption that men are only affected by status stress and women only by affection stress. This study contributes to the knowledge on gender differences concerning the link between social stress and health, and it indicates that social experiences encountered earlier in life are of importance for being healthy and happy in later life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-30
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Ageing
Volume8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2011

    Keywords

  • Social stressors, Gender, Social production function theory, Chronic somatic diseases, Psychological distress, GENDER-DIFFERENCES, COMMON COLD, CROSS, SUSCEPTIBILITY, LONELINESS, DEPRESSION, RESPONSES, VALIDITY, BEHAVIOR, ADULTS

ID: 2135291