Contrary to popular perception, stressors don't cause health problems -- it's people's reactions to the stressors that determine whether they will suffer health consequences, according to researchers at Penn State. "Our research shows that how you react to what happens in your life today predicts your chronic health conditions and 10 years in the future, independent of your current health and your future stress," said David Almeida, professor of human development and family studies. "For example, if you have a lot of work to do today and you are really grumpy because of it, then you are more likely to suffer negative health consequences 10 years from now than someone who also has a lot of work to do today, but doesn't let it bother her."
We've all had days when it seems like a million little stressors add up to one big bad mood. We've heard that stress isn't good for our health—that it raises our blood pressure, gives us indigestion, and causes us to become depressed, for example. So should we just avoid stressors as much as possible? The answer, according to David Almeida, professor of human development and family studies, is no.
Quick quiz: Which can be more detrimental to a couple's physical and mental health, job loss or the ongoing battle over the toilet seat?
David Almeida, professor of human development in Penn State's College of Health and Human Development, will present the 2011 Pattishall Research Lecture. His lecture, "The Speedometer of Life: Daily Stress, Health, and Well-Being," will be given at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 30, in the Bennett Pierce Living Center, 110 Henderson Building on the University Park campus. The event, sponsored by the College of Health and Human Development, is free and open to the public.
Penn State researchers are examining how stress at work impacts employees and their families using a data collection method known as the "daily diary." Susan McHale, professor of human development and director of Penn State's Social Science Research Institute, and three other investigators on the multisite Work, Family & Health Network presented data at a congressional briefing in October. McHale's presentation focused on studying the effects of workplace stress using a daily diary.
How employees manage stress at work and in their homes is the focus of Penn State's portion of a $35 million National Institutes of Health grant that will also test the efficacy of a workplace intervention designed to reduce employee stress and promote well-being.
Admit it—when you see a middle-aged man sliding behind the wheel of his sleek new convertible, you aren't thinking, "Wow, he must have gotten a nice raise." No, the phrase crossing your mind is "mid-life crisis."
The same syndrome takes the blame when a middle-aged person decides to have elective plastic surgery, has an illicit love affair, returns to college, or even rearranges the living room furniture.
As the clock hand swept us into the first moments of 2006, the "leading edge" of the Baby Boomers—a group 78 million strong, born between 1946 and 1964—began to turn 60. In response, the media has turned its anxious attention to analyzing the Boomers' physical, mental, and fiscal health, prognosticating the impact of this milestone birthday on the nation.