Stress and Illness in Adolescence: Issues of Race and Gender

By Baldwin, Debora R.; Harris, Shanette M. et al. | Adolescence, Winter 1997 | Go to article overview

Stress and Illness in Adolescence: Issues of Race and Gender


Baldwin, Debora R., Harris, Shanette M., Chambliss, Lana N., Adolescence


Research has indicated that stress is a contributory factor in a variety of physical and mental health problems (Brantley & Jones, 1993; Holmes & Masuda, 1974; Newberry, Baldwin, Madden, & Gerstenberger, 1987). The notion that life events contribute significantly to the development of physical and psychological disorders has spawned a diagnostic category called "psychological factors affecting physical conditions" in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Third Edition, Revised).

One period of life characterized by rapid physiological, social, and cognitive changes that may generate stress is adolescence. According to Nielsen (1987), the adolescent is faced with numerous demands (e.g., family, school, peer groups), and "miscoping"' responses to these demands (e.g., truancy, drug abuse, isolation) can intensify the stressful transition to adulthood. Although most adolescents are free of serious health problems, studies have consistently shown a positive correlation between the accumulation of recent negative life events and reported psychological and physical health problems (see review by Johnson, 1986). For example, Greene, Walker, Hickson, and Thompson (1985) found that life stress was positively associated with recurrent pain and behavioral problems among adolescents seen at an outpatient clinic.

To date, there has been limited research on individual differences (e.g., race and gender) that may influence the experience of stress and subsequent illness among adolescents. With regard to gender, research on adults has shown that men and women tend not to differ on the number of undesirable life events experienced. However, women tend to be more vulnerable when such events occur to someone in their "social network" (Kessler & McLeod, 1984). More specifically, women appear to be more sensitive to the quality of interpersonal relationships than are men. For example, McIntosh, Keywell, Reifman, and Ellsworth (1994) reported greater stress due to sexism, lack of free time, and lack of time spent with spouse among female law students as compared with-their male counterparts. In addition, the female students displayed more depression and physical symptoms at the end of the semester. Similarly, adolescent females have been found to be more reactive to stressful life events affecting other individuals than are their male counterparts (Gore, Aseltine, & Colten, 1993).

With regard to race, Veroff, Douvan, and Kulka (1981) concluded that adult African-Americans tend to experience greater stress than do their Euro-American counterparts. Further, the realities of discrimination create a high base level of stress among adult African-Americans, which may contribute to their increased risk for disease, instability, and premature death (Gary, 1993). African-American male adolescents are faced with additional stressors (e.g., fewer job opportunities, lower income, increased exposure to violence), which may place them at greater risk for developing hypertension (Hediger, Schell, Katz, Gruskin, & Eveleth, 1984) and recurring symptomatology (Jones, 1989).

The purpose of this study was to further assess the stress-illness relationship, specifically with respect to race and gender, among adolescents. Since it is well documented that the measurement of adolescent stress is complex (Newcomb, Huba, & Bentler, 1981; Youngs, Rathge, Mullis, & Mullis, 1990), two different stress inventories were used. In order to measure the amount of readjustment or change associated with a given experience, a life event survey was administered. In order to take into account differences in cognitive appraisal, participants were asked to complete a perceived stress questionnaire. It was hypothesized that reported stress levels would be positively associated with reported symptomatology, and that there would be significant differences on the dependent measures as a function of race and gender. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Stress and Illness in Adolescence: Issues of Race and Gender
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.