SAGE Journal Articles
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Abstract: Although exposure to stress is a central component of the stress process paradigm, little research has explicitly sought to identify antecedents of stress exposure. Based on a probability sample of 1393 adults aged 18–55 residing in Toronto, Canada, this research examines the effects of social status, past adversity, social and personal resources and history of mental disorder on recent exposure to stress. Consistent with earlier findings, results indicate that younger adults, divorced individuals and those with lower socioeconomic status, experience greater levels of social stress. Although respondent’s history of major depressive disorder was related to all types of stress exposure, past cumulative adversity was the most powerful predictor of both total current stress (operant burden) and the subsequent onset of life events, independent of other antecedents. Findings suggest that the onset of chronic stress is more affected by personal characteristics, such as emotional reliance and disorder history, than is onset of life events. Implications of these findings are discussed.
Journal Article 5.2: Pitt, A., Oprescu, F., Tapia, G., & Gray, M. (2017). An exploratory study of students’ weekly stress levels and sources of stress during the semester. Active Learning in Higher Education, 19(1), 61-75.
Abstract: Studying at university can be a very stressful experience. Although the literature provides some information regarding different sources of stress among students, studies have not addressed the issue of changes over the course progression. This study aimed to obtain a deeper understanding of the sources of stress for first-year students and whether these stressors are more prevalent at different times during the semester. A mixed-method approach was used. Content analysis was undertaken on longitudinal electronic message data, and thematic analysis was used for focus group data. Results indicated an increasing trend of stress over the semester. The major stressors identified were academic, financial/work, personal, family-related, interpersonal, social support, university/life balance and starting university. A number of stressors were found to be more prevalent at different times during the semester, including some academic-related stressors plus starting university, family-related and financial/work-related stressors. This is one of the few studies to examine the influence of timing of the levels of stress. Importantly, this study suggests that the start and end of the first semester constitute the riskiest periods for negative stress-related consequences. These results could be used to assist universities in developing student support programs.