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1.  The effectiveness of stress management intervention in a community-based program: Isfahan Healthy Heart Program 
ARYA Atherosclerosis  2012;7(4):176-183.
This study was designed to assess the effectiveness of stress management training in improving the ability of coping with stress in a large population.
Five cross-sectional studies using multistage cluster random sampling were performed on adults aged ≥ 19 years between 2000 to 2005 in Isfahan and Najafabad (Iran) as intervention cities and Arak, Iran as the control city within the context of Isfahan Healthy Heart Program. Stress management training was adapted according to age and education levels of the target groups. In a 45-minute home interview, demographic data, General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) and stress management questionnaires were collected. Data was analyzed by t-test, linear regression and general linear model.
Trends of both adaptive and maladaptive coping skills and GHQ scores from baseline to the last survey were statistically significant in both intervention and reference areas (P < 0.001). While adaptive coping skills increased significantly, maladaptive coping skills decreased significantly in the intervention areas. Furthermore, stress levels decreased significantly in the intervention compared to the reference area.
Stress management programs could improve coping strategies at the community level and can be considered in designing behavioral interventions
PMCID: PMC3413087  PMID: 23205052
Stress Management; Community; Intervention; Coping Strategies
2.  Health Behaviours, Socioeconomic Status, and Mortality: Further Analyses of the British Whitehall II and the French GAZEL Prospective Cohorts 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(2):e1000419.
Further analysis of data from two prospective cohorts reveals differences in the extent to which health behaviors attenuate associations between socioeconomic position and mortality outcomes.
Differences in morbidity and mortality between socioeconomic groups constitute one of the most consistent findings of epidemiologic research. However, research on social inequalities in health has yet to provide a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms underlying this association. In recent analysis, we showed health behaviours, assessed longitudinally over the follow-up, to explain a major proportion of the association of socioeconomic status (SES) with mortality in the British Whitehall II study. However, whether health behaviours are equally important mediators of the SES-mortality association in different cultural settings remains unknown. In the present paper, we examine this issue in Whitehall II and another prospective European cohort, the French GAZEL study.
Methods and Findings
We included 9,771 participants from the Whitehall II study and 17,760 from the GAZEL study. Over the follow-up (mean 19.5 y in Whitehall II and 16.5 y in GAZEL), health behaviours (smoking, alcohol consumption, diet, and physical activity), were assessed longitudinally. Occupation (in the main analysis), education, and income (supplementary analysis) were the markers of SES. The socioeconomic gradient in smoking was greater (p<0.001) in Whitehall II (odds ratio [OR]  = 3.68, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.11–4.36) than in GAZEL (OR  = 1.33, 95% CI 1.18–1.49); this was also true for unhealthy diet (OR  = 7.42, 95% CI 5.19–10.60 in Whitehall II and OR  = 1.31, 95% CI 1.15–1.49 in GAZEL, p<0.001). Socioeconomic differences in mortality were similar in the two cohorts, a hazard ratio of 1.62 (95% CI 1.28–2.05) in Whitehall II and 1.94 in GAZEL (95% CI 1.58–2.39) for lowest versus highest occupational position. Health behaviours attenuated the association of SES with mortality by 75% (95% CI 44%–149%) in Whitehall II but only by 19% (95% CI 13%–29%) in GAZEL. Analysis using education and income yielded similar results.
Health behaviours were strong predictors of mortality in both cohorts but their association with SES was remarkably different. Thus, health behaviours are likely to be major contributors of socioeconomic differences in health only in contexts with a marked social characterisation of health behaviours.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
The influence of the socioeconomic environment on the health of individuals and populations is well known, giving rise to the so-called social determinants of health. The social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age, including the health system. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power, and resources at global, national, and local levels, which are themselves influenced by policy choices. The social determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequities—the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries. In addition, health-damaging behaviors are often strongly socially patterned. For example, material constraints, lack of knowledge, and limited opportunities to follow health promoting messages often act as barriers that prevent those from lower socioeconomic groups to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Yet the extent to which health behaviors explain social inequalities in health remains unclear and can range from 12% to 72% according to some studies.
Why Was This Study Done?
In a recently published paper using data from the British Whitehall II cohort, the researchers showed that longitudinal assessment of health behaviors accounted for socioeconomic differences in mortality better than a single baseline assessment as used in most previous studies. (The Whitehall II study started in 1985 to examine the socioeconomic gradient in health among 10,308 London-based civil servants [6,895 men and 3,413 women] aged 35–55).
However, it is not clear whether health behaviors are equally important mediators of the socioeconomic-health association in different cultural settings. In this study, the researchers examine this issue by comparing their recent findings of the Whitehall II study with another European cohort, the French GAZEL study. (The GAZEL study started in 1989 among employees of the French national gas and electricity company totaling 20,625 employees [15,011 men and 5,614 women], aged 35–50.) The Whitehall II study and the GAZEL study have comparable designs in the way both assess socioeconomic status, health behaviors, and mortality and have a similar age range and follow-up period.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers included 9,771 participants from the Whitehall II study and 17,760 from the GAZEL study—mean follow up for Whitehall II was 19.5 years and for GAZEL was 16.5 years. The researchers used occupation as the main marker of socioeconomic status, and education and income as supplementary markers of socioeconomic status. Apart from a few exceptions, the researchers analyzed each cohort separately and used statistical techniques to calculate: the mortality rates per 1000 person-years for each socioeconomic group; the age- and sex-adjusted prevalence rates of smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity, at the first and the last follow-up of the study for each socioeconomic group; and the differences in health behaviors prevalence between lowest and highest occupational position. Then the researchers used a statistical model to deduce the contribution of all health behaviors.
The researchers found that the socioeconomic gradient in smoking, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity was greater in Whitehall II than in GAZEL. Socioeconomic differences in mortality were similar in the two cohorts, a hazard ratio of 1.62 in Whitehall II and 1.94 in GAZEL for lowest versus highest occupational position. Health behaviors weakened the association between socioeconomic status and mortality by 75% in Whitehall II but only by 19% in GAZEL. The supplementary analysis the researchers conducted using education and income as socioeconomic markers gave similar results.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results suggest that the social patterning of unhealthy behaviors differs between countries. Although in both cohorts socioeconomic status and health behaviors were strong predictors of mortality, major differences in the social patterning of unhealthy behaviors in the two cohorts meant that the causal chains leading from socioeconomic status to health behaviors to mortality were different. Therefore it may be that health behaviors are likely to only be major contributors of socioeconomic differences in health in contexts with a marked social characterization of those behaviors. In order to identify the common and unique determinants of social inequalities in health in different populations, there needs to be further comparative research on the relative importance of different pathways linking socioeconomic status to health.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
WHO provides information on social determinants of health
University College London provides information on the Whitehall study
The GAZEL study is available in an online open access format
PMCID: PMC3043001  PMID: 21364974
3.  Predictive Factors of Delay in Contact with a Psychiatrist in Depressive Disorders: A Sample of Iranian Patients 
The different duration of delay to first contact with a psychiatrist in depressive disordered patients has been observed in western and non western cultures. This study aimed to examine the duration and predictive factors of delay in contact with a psychiatrist in depressive patients in Isfahan city of Iran.
In This cross sectional study 156 depressive patients were recruited from various outpatient clinics in Isfahan city between January 2013 and February 2013. We used the Anderson Socio-Behavioral Model (ASBM) for examine the role of various factors influencing delay in help seeking. In this models there were three categories variables (predisposing, enabling and need factors). Quintile regression model was used to study the predictors.
The median duration between symptom onset and first contact with a psychiatrist was 1 year. In the first step (predisposing model), age at onset of depressive symptoms and never married were negative predictors for delay, but widowed or divorced statues was positive predictors for delay. In the enabling model past contact with health provider was positively associated with duration of delay. In the need model, neither variable had a significant effect on duration of delay. In the full model, younger age at onset, widowed or divorced statues and past contact with health provider increased duration of delay.
More delay of help seeking by children and adolescence and probability of maladaptive coping style such as substance use and complicating of situation need to earlier diagnosis of depression in young group and earlier treatment for decrease DALLY for MDD, Therefore we suggest the mental health awareness programs for adolescent in school, and more ever for the influenced roles of parent and other family members and teachers on teen and young person's life, the education for families and teachers on adolescent mental health problems can be effective. First help seeking contact with non-psychiatric medical professionals enhance the delay of contact with a psychiatrist. Appropriate training of non-psychiatric medical professionals and developing a referral system would lead to better provision of mental health care.
PMCID: PMC4018647  PMID: 24829722
Delay; depression; predictive factors; psychiatrist
4.  Coping Styles, Well-Being and Self-Care Behaviors Among African Americans With Type 2 Diabetes 
The Diabetes educator  2008;34(3):501-510.
The purpose of this study was to describe how coping styles among African Americans with type 2 diabetes relate to diabetes appraisals, self-care behaviors, and health-related quality of life or well-being.
This cross-sectional analysis of baseline measures from 185 African Americans with type 2 diabetes enrolled in a church-based randomized controlled trial uses the theoretical framework of the transactional model of stress and coping to describe bivariate and multivariate associations among coping styles, psychosocial factors, self-care behaviors, and well-being, as measured by validated questionnaires.
Among participants who were on average 59 years of age with 9 years of diagnosed diabetes, passive and emotive styles of coping were used most frequently, with older and less educated participants using more often passive forms of coping. Emotive styles of coping were significantly associated with greater perceived stress, problem areas in diabetes, and negative appraisals of diabetes control. Both passive and active styles of coping were associated with better diabetes self-efficacy and competence in bivariate analysis. In multivariate analysis, significant proportions of the variance in dietary behaviors and mental well-being outcomes (general and diabetes specific) were explained, with coping styles among the independent predictors. A positive role for church involvement in the psychological adaptation to living with diabetes was also observed.
In this sample of older African Americans with diabetes, coping styles were important factors in diabetes appraisals, self-care behaviors, and psychological outcomes. These findings suggest potential benefits in emphasizing cognitive and behavioral strategies to promote healthy coping outcomes in persons living with diabetes.
PMCID: PMC2668814  PMID: 18535323
5.  Coping strategies, quality of life and pain in women with breast cancer 
Breast cancer is the most common malignancy among Iranian women and is a significant stressor in women's life that may affect their coping strategies and quality of life. This study aimed to investigate coping strategies, quality of life and pain of women with breast cancer.
Materials and Methods:
This was a cross-sectional study which held in Seyed-AL shohada hospital and two private offices in Isfahan, Iran. Target population was women with confirmed diagnosis of breast cancer in a recent year and between 18 and 60 years old. Data were collected via3 questionnaires (Brief cope, EORTC QLQ-C30 and Brief pain Inventory). The reliability and validity of these questionnaires were confirmed in different studies. Sixty-two patients completed the questionnaires. Analysis included descriptive statistics and Pearson correlation coefficient and t-test where necessary. All analysis were conducted using the SPSS version 16.0 and P-value of less than 0.05 considered as statistically significant.
Sixty-two women with breast cancer completed questionnaires. The mean age of respondents was 45/81±6/78 years; most married (93/5%), high school-educated (41/97%), house wife (82/3%) and stage II (46/8%).
The most common coping strategies were religion, acceptance, self-distraction, planning, active coping, positive reframing and denial. Mean score for the worst pain during the past 24 hours was 6/24 ± 2/55 and for the least pain was 3/19 ± 2/17. The global health scale was 60.34 ± 21.10. Emotion-focused coping strategies were positively and significantly related to symptom aspect of quality of life (r = 0/43 P ≤ 0/01) and affective interference of pain (r = 0/36 P = 0/004) and also was inversely correlated to functional health status (r = −0/38 P = 0/002). There was no significant correlation between problem-focused coping strategies and dimensions of quality of life and also different aspects of pain.
The findings of this study indicated that the care of breast cancer should address physical, psychological and social wellbeing and the findings point to the importance of taking individual coping strategies into account when evaluating the impact of breast cancer on psychosocial wellbeing. Description of coping strategies might be useful for identifying patients in need to particular counseling and support.
PMCID: PMC3748564  PMID: 23983738
Breast cancer; coping strategies; Iran; pain; quality of life
6.  When does cardiovascular risk start? Past and present socioeconomic circumstances and risk factors in adulthood 
STUDY OBJECTIVES: To compare associations of childhood and adult socioeconomic position with cardiovascular risk factors measured in adulthood. To estimate the effects of adult socioeconomic position after adjustment for childhood circumstances. DESIGN: Cross sectional survey, using the relative index of inequality method to compare socioeconomic differences at different life stages. SETTING: The Whitehall II longitudinal study of men and women employed in London offices of the Civil Service at study baseline in 1985-88. PARTICIPANTS: 4774 men and 2206 women born in the period 1930-53 who were administered questions on early socioeconomic circumstances. MAIN RESULTS: Adult occupational position (employment grade) was inversely associated (high status-low risk) with current smoking and leisure time physical inactivity, with waist/height, and with metabolic risk factors HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, post-load glucose and fibrinogen. Associations of these variables with childhood socioeconomic position (father's Registrar General Social Class) were weaker or absent, with the exception of smoking in women. Childhood social position was associated with adult weight in both sexes and with current smoking, waist/height, HDL cholesterol and fibrinogen in women. Height, a measure of health capital or constitution, was weakly linked with father's social class and more strongly linked with own employment grade. The combination of childhood disadvantage (low father's class) together with a low status clerical occupation in men was particularly associated with higher body mass index as an adult (interaction test p < 0.001). Adjustment for earlier socioeconomic position--using father's class and own education level simultaneously--did not weaken the effects of adult socioeconomic position, except in the case of smoking in women, when the grade effect was reduced by 59 per cent. CONCLUSIONS: Cardiovascular risk factors in adulthood were in general more strongly related to adult than to childhood socioeconomic position. Among women but not men there was a strong but unexplained link between father's class and adult smoking habit. In both sexes degree of obesity was associated with both childhood and adulthood social position. These findings suggest that the socially patterned accumulation of health capital and cardiovascular risk begins in childhood and continues, according to socioeconomic position, during adulthood.
PMCID: PMC1756821  PMID: 10656084
7.  Body Mass Index, Waist-circumference and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in Iranian Adults: Isfahan Healthy Heart Program 
Considering the main effect of obesity on chronic non-communicable diseases, this study was performed to assess the association between body mass index (BMI), waist-circumference (WC), cardiometabolic risk factors and to corroborate whether either or both BMI and WC are independently associated with the risk factors in a sample of Iranian adults. This cross-sectional study was performed on data from baseline survey of Isfahan Healthy Heart Program (IHHP). The study was done on 12,514 randomly-selected adults in Isfahan, Najafabad and Arak counties in 2000-2001. Ages of the subjects were recorded. Fasting blood glucose (FBG), 2-hour post-load glucose (2hpp), serum lipids, systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP and DBP), BMI, WC, smoking status, and total daily physical activity were determined. Increase in BMI and WC had a significant positive relation with the mean of FBG, 2hpp, SBP, DBP, serum lipids, except for HDL-C (p<0.001 for all). After adjustment for age, smoking, physical activity, socioeconomic status (SES), and BMI, the highest odds ratio (OR) (95% CI) for diabetes mellitus (DM) according to WC was 3.13 (1.93-5.08) and 1.99 (1.15-3.44) in women and men respectively. Moreover, the highest ORs based on BMI with adjustment for age, smoking, physical activity, SES, and WC were for dyslipidaemia (DLP) [1.97 (1.58-2.45) in women and 2.96 (2.41-3.63) in men]. The use of BMI or WC alone in the models caused to enhance all ORs. When both BMI and WC were entered in the model, the ORs for all risk factors, in men, according to BMI, were more compared to WC. However, in women, ORs for DM and hypertension (HTN) in WC quartiles were more than in BMI quartiles. BMI is the better predictor of DM, HTN, and DLP in men compared to WC. Conversely, in women, WC is a superior predictor than BMI, particularly for DM and HTN. Furthermore, the measurement of both WC and BMI in Iranian adults may be a better predictor of traditional risk factors of CVDs compared to BMI or WC alone.
PMCID: PMC3805889  PMID: 24288953
Body mass index; Diabetes mellitus; Dyslipidaemia; Hypertension; Obesity; Risk Factor; Waist-circumference; Iran
8.  Stress Level and Smoking Status in Central Iran: Isfahan Healthy Heart Program 
ARYA Atherosclerosis  2011;6(4):144-148.
Individuals are faced with numerous stressful life events which can negatively influence mental health. Many individuals use smoking as a means of confronting stress. Given the relatively high prevalence of smoking in central Iran, the present study was conducted to compare stress levels in smokers, non-smokers and those who had quit smoking.
This study was conducted as part of Isfahan Cardiovascular Research Program on 9752 individuals in the cities of Isfahan, Arak, and Najafabad in 2008. Sampling was performed using multi-stage cluster randomization method. Data on age, sex, demographic characteristics, and smoking status was collected through interviews. Stress level detected by General Health questionnaire.Logistic regression and chi- squere test was used for data analyzing.
In the present study, 30% of non-smokers, 32.1% ex- smoker and 36.9% of smokers had GHQ of 4 and higher (P=0.01). In regression analysis, the final model which was controlled for age, sex, socioeconomic statues (including place of residence, marital status and education level) showed that the odds ratio of stress in smokers and ex- smoker was significantly higher than in non-smokers (OR=1.66 and OR=1.12, respectively).
Since in conducted studies, mental problems and stresses have had an important role in people's smoking, it seems suitable to use the results of this study to present intervention for correct methods of coping with stress towards reducing the prevalence of smoking in the community.
PMCID: PMC3347833  PMID: 22577433
Cigarette; Stress; Community-based Program.
9.  An investigation of coping styles of hemodialysis patients 
Hemodialysis patients are exposed to different stressful factors and have to use coping strategies as supportive processes. The goal of the present study is to investigate coping styles of hemodialysis patients.
Materials and Methods:
This is a descriptive analytical study conducted on 96 patients referring to hemodialysis centers affiliated to Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in 2011. The data, collected by a questionnaire including two sections of demographic characteristics and patients’ coping with the disease, were analyzed by parametric and non- parametric statistical tests.
Patients used emotion focused coping strategies more (mean = 20.07, SD = 4.39) to adapt with the disease compared to problem focused coping strategies (mean = 14.65, SD = 5.08). There was a significant association in coping (P = 0.027) and emotion focused dimension (P = 0.008) in various ages, but there was no significant association in problem focused dimension (P = 0.134).
Since most of the hemodialysis patients use emotion focused coping styles, it is suggested to consider educational programs on application of problem focused coping styles for these patients in order to decrease the pressures of the disease and treatment, and to promote their mental health, quality of life and efficiency.
PMCID: PMC3748554  PMID: 23983727
Coping; hemodialysis; Iran; renal disease
10.  The Relationship between Socio-demographic Characteristics, Family Environment, and Caregiver Coping in Families of Children with Cancer 
Journal of clinical psychology in medical settings  2013;20(4):10.1007/s10880-013-9362-3.
The factors that influence caregiver coping mechanism preferences after a child’s diagnosis with cancer are not fully understood. This study examines the relationship between caregivers’ socio-demographic characteristics and the coping strategies they use to adapt to childhood cancer. Sixty caregivers of pediatric cancer patients completed a socio-demographic questionnaire, the Family Environment Scale, and the COPE inventory. There were no significant differences in family environment by income or education. Caregiver educational attainment was positively associated with use of planning and active coping styles, while income was not associated with caregiver coping style. Mothers were more likely than fathers to use active coping, instrumental support, religious coping, and emotional support. Men with lower education engaged in greater substance use coping and lower planning. The findings show that educational attainment and caregiver gender influence caregiver coping styles following a pediatric cancer diagnosis and suggest that educational attainment rather than financial resources drive the association between SES and coping. Programs that address educational gaps and teach caregivers planning and active coping skills may be beneficial for parents with lower educational attainment, particularly men.
PMCID: PMC3830713  PMID: 23670676
Socioeconomic status; Coping; Family environment; Gender; Cancer
11.  Relationship between legumes consumption and metabolic syndrome: Findings of the Isfahan Healthy Heart Program 
ARYA Atherosclerosis  2014;10(1):18-24.
Epidemiologic studies have shown an inverse association between dietary fiber and metabolic syndrome (MetS). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the association between MetS and consumption of legumes in adults in Isfahan, Iran.
This cross-sectional study was carried out on 2027 individuals who were a subsample of the 3rd phase of the Isfahan Healthy Heart Program (IHHP). Basic characteristics information such as age, sex, smoking status, and physical activity were collected using a questionnaire. A validated 48-item food frequency questionnaire was used to assess dietary behaviors. Blood pressure, waist circumference (WC), glucose, triacylglycerols, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol were measured, and MetS was defined based on Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines. Multiple logistic regression models examined associations of frequency consumption of legumes with MetS occurrence and its components.
All MetS components were less prevalent among subjects with regular legume intake (P < 0.01). Legume intake was inversely associated with the risk of MetS, after adjustment for confounding factors in women. Life style adjusted odds ratio of Mets between highest and lowest tertile and no consumption (as reference category) of legume intake were 0.31 (0.13, 0.70), 0.38 (0.17, 0.87), respectively, in women (P = 0.01).
This study showed that age has a crucial role in MetS incidence; therefore, after further age adjustment to lifestyle adjusted model there was no significant difference in lower and higher tertile of legume intake and MetS.
PMCID: PMC4063515  PMID: 24963309
Legumes; Metabolic Syndrome; Iran
12.  Mechanisms of psychological resiliency in women after mastectomy 
Contemporary Oncology  2012;16(4):341-344.
Aim of the study
To investigate into the mechanisms of resiliency in women after mastectomy. We hypothesized that the mechanism of resiliency in women with breast cancer would involve facilitation of adaptive coping strategies and inhibition of maladaptive strategies. We tested a mediational model in which resiliency was related to satisfaction with life through coping strategies.
Material and methods
Thirty women after mastectomy aged 28–69 years (M = 53.23, SD = 9.00) completed the Ego Resiliency Scale, Mental Adjustment to Cancer Scale, and Satisfaction with Life Scale.
The bootstrapping technique revealed that there were significant indirect effects for positive reframing (95% CI: 0.01–0.36), hopelessness/helplessness (95% CI: 0.18–0.83) and anxious preoccupation (95% CI: 0.001–0.55) but not for fighting spirit. The models explained up to 33% of the variance in satisfaction with life.
Coping strategies fully explain the effect of resiliency on satisfaction with life in women after mastectomy. This finding provides additional evidence of the fundamental role of coping strategies in the mechanisms of resiliency. We obtained similar results in patients with type II diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. The lack of significant associations of fighting spirit with resiliency suggests that this coping strategy may be beneficial for somatic health but its contribution to the mechanisms of psychological resiliency is complex.
PMCID: PMC3687422  PMID: 23788906
breast cancer; resiliency; positive emotions; coping strategies; satisfaction with life
13.  Socioeconomic Differences in Adolescent Stress: The Role of Psychological Resources 
Lower socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with greater stress and worse adolescent health, but whether lower SES youth have fewer psychological resources to manage stress is unknown. This study investigated whether psychological resources influenced the association between parent education (PE), a marker of SES, and perceived stress
Cross-sectional analyses were conducted in a sample of 1167 non-Hispanic black and white junior and senior high school students from a Midwestern public school district in 2002–2003. Hierarchical multivariable regression analyses examined relationships between PE (high school graduate or less=E1, >high school,
Relative to adolescents from families with a professionally educated parent, adolescents with lower parent education had higher perceived stress (E3 β=1.70, p<0.01, E2 β=1.94, p<0.01, E1 β=3.19, p<0.0001). Both psychological resources were associated with stress: higher optimism (β=−0.58, p<0.0001) and engagement coping (β=−0.19, p<0.0001) were associated with less stress and higher disengagement coping was associated with more stress (β=0.09, p<0.01). Adding optimism to the regression model attenuated the effect of SES by nearly 30%, suggesting that optimism partially mediates the inverse SES-stress relationship. Mediation was confirmed using a Sobel test (p<0.01).
Adolescents from families with lower parent education are less optimistic than teens from more educated families. This pessimism may be a mechanism through which lower SES increases stress in adolescence.
PMCID: PMC1847603  PMID: 17259052
Socioeconomic Status; Adolescent; Stress; Coping; Optimism
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(7):e1001479.
Silvia Stringhini and colleagues followed a group of British civil servants over 18 years to look for links between socioeconomic status and health.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Socioeconomic adversity in early life has been hypothesized to “program” a vulnerable phenotype with exaggerated inflammatory responses, so increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in adulthood. The aim of this study is to test this hypothesis by assessing the extent to which the association between lifecourse socioeconomic status and type 2 diabetes incidence is explained by chronic inflammation.
Methods and Findings
We use data from the British Whitehall II study, a prospective occupational cohort of adults established in 1985. The inflammatory markers C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 were measured repeatedly and type 2 diabetes incidence (new cases) was monitored over an 18-year follow-up (from 1991–1993 until 2007–2009). Our analytical sample consisted of 6,387 non-diabetic participants (1,818 women), of whom 731 (207 women) developed type 2 diabetes over the follow-up. Cumulative exposure to low socioeconomic status from childhood to middle age was associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in adulthood (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.96, 95% confidence interval: 1.48–2.58 for low cumulative lifecourse socioeconomic score and HR = 1.55, 95% confidence interval: 1.26–1.91 for low-low socioeconomic trajectory). 25% of the excess risk associated with cumulative socioeconomic adversity across the lifecourse and 32% of the excess risk associated with low-low socioeconomic trajectory was attributable to chronically elevated inflammation (95% confidence intervals 16%–58%).
In the present study, chronic inflammation explained a substantial part of the association between lifecourse socioeconomic disadvantage and type 2 diabetes. Further studies should be performed to confirm these findings in population-based samples, as the Whitehall II cohort is not representative of the general population, and to examine the extent to which social inequalities attributable to chronic inflammation are reversible.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Worldwide, more than 350 million people have diabetes, a metabolic disorder characterized by high amounts of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Blood sugar levels are normally controlled by insulin, a hormone released by the pancreas after meals (digestion of food produces glucose). In people with type 2 diabetes (the commonest form of diabetes) blood sugar control fails because the fat and muscle cells that normally respond to insulin by removing sugar from the blood become insulin resistant. Type 2 diabetes, which was previously called adult-onset diabetes, can be controlled with diet and exercise, and with drugs that help the pancreas make more insulin or that make cells more sensitive to insulin. However, as the disease progresses, the pancreatic beta cells, which make insulin, become impaired and patients may eventually need insulin injections. Long-term complications, which include an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, reduce the life expectancy of people with diabetes by about 10 years compared to people without diabetes.
Why Was This Study Done?
Socioeconomic adversity in childhood seems to increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes but why? One possibility is that chronic inflammation mediates the association between socioeconomic adversity and type 2 diabetes. Inflammation, which is the body's normal response to injury and disease, affects insulin signaling and increases beta-cell death, and markers of inflammation such as raised blood levels of C-reactive protein and interleukin 6 are associated with future diabetes risk. Notably, socioeconomic adversity in early life leads to exaggerated inflammatory responses later in life and people exposed to social adversity in adulthood show greater levels of inflammation than people with a higher socioeconomic status. In this prospective cohort study (an investigation that records the baseline characteristics of a group of people and then follows them to see who develops specific conditions), the researchers test the hypothesis that chronically increased inflammatory activity in individuals exposed to socioeconomic adversity over their lifetime may partly mediate the association between socioeconomic status over the lifecourse and future type 2 diabetes risk.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
To assess the extent to which chronic inflammation explains the association between lifecourse socioeconomic status and type 2 diabetes incidence (new cases), the researchers used data from the Whitehall II study, a prospective occupational cohort study initiated in 1985 to investigate the mechanisms underlying previously observed socioeconomic inequalities in disease. Whitehall II enrolled more than 10,000 London-based government employees ranging from clerical/support staff to administrative officials and monitored inflammatory marker levels and type 2 diabetes incidence in the study participants from 1991–1993 until 2007–2009. Of 6,387 participants who were not diabetic in 1991–1993, 731 developed diabetes during the 18-year follow-up. Compared to participants with the highest cumulative lifecourse socioeconomic score (calculated using information on father's occupational position and the participant's educational attainment and occupational position), participants with the lowest score had almost double the risk of developing diabetes during follow-up. Low lifetime socioeconomic status trajectories (being socially downwardly mobile or starting and ending with a low socioeconomic status) were also associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes in adulthood. A quarter of the excess risk associated with cumulative socioeconomic adversity and nearly a third of the excess risk associated with low socioeconomic trajectory was attributable to chronically increased inflammation.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show a robust association between adverse socioeconomic circumstances over the lifecourse of the Whitehall II study participants and the risk of type 2 diabetes and suggest that chronic inflammation explains up to a third of this association. The accuracy of these findings may be affected by the measures of socioeconomic status used in the study. Moreover, because the study participants were from an occupational cohort, these findings need to be confirmed in a general population. Studies are also needed to examine the extent to which social inequalities in diabetes risk that are attributable to chronic inflammation are reversible. Importantly, if future studies confirm and extend the findings reported here, it might be possible to reduce the social inequalities in type 2 diabetes by promoting interventions designed to reduce inflammation, including weight management, physical activity, and smoking cessation programs and the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, among socially disadvantaged groups.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse provides information about diabetes for patients, health-care professionals, and the general public, including information on diabetes prevention (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information for patients and carers about type 2 diabetes; it includes peoples stories about diabetes
The nonprofit Diabetes UK also provides detailed information about diabetes for patients and carers, including information on healthy lifestyles for people with diabetes, and has a further selection of stories from people with diabetes; the nonprofit Healthtalkonline has interviews with people about their experiences of diabetes
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources and advice about diabetes (in English and Spanish)
Information about the Whitehall II study is available
PMCID: PMC3699448  PMID: 23843750
The metabolic syndrome (Mets) consists of major clustering of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. This study determines the association of socioeconomic determinants and smoking behavior in a population-based sample of Iranians with Mets.
This cross-sectional survey comprised 12600 randomly selected men and women aged ≥ 19 years living in three counties in central part of Iran. They participated in the baseline survey of a community-based program for CVD prevention entitled” Isfahan Healthy Heart Program” in 2000-2001. Subjects with Mets were selected based on NCEP- ATPIII criteria. Demographic data, medical history, lifestyle, smoking habits, physical examination, blood pressure, obesity indices and serum lipids were determined.
The mean age of subjects with Mets was significantly higher. The mean age of smokers in both groups was higher than non-smokers but with lower WC and WHR. Marital status, age and residency were not significantly different in smokers with Mets and non-smokers with Mets. Smoking was more common in the middle educational group in the income category of Quartile 1-3. Mets was significantly related to age, sex and education. Middle-aged and elderly smokers were at approximately 4-5 times higher risk among Mets subjects. Low education decreased the risk of Mets by 0.48; similarly in non-smokers, 6-12 years of education decreased the risk of Mets by 0.72.
More educated persons had a better awareness and behavior related to their health and role of smoking. In the lower social strata of the Iranian population, more efforts are needed against smoking habits.
PMCID: PMC3371999  PMID: 22737524
Socioeconomic status; Smoking; Metabolic syndrome; Iran
The Scientific World Journal  2015;2015:343075.
We examined the mediating role of behavioral coping strategies in the association between work-family conflict and psychological distress. In particular, we examined the two directions of work-family conflict, namely, work interference into family and family interference into work. Furthermore, two coping styles in this study were adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies. This cross-sectional study was conducted among 429 Malaysian working women using self-reported data. The results of mediational analysis in the present study showed that adaptive coping strategy does not significantly mediate the effect of work-family conflict on psychological distress. However, maladaptive coping strategies significantly mediate the effect of work-family conflict on psychological distress. These results show that adaptive coping strategies, which aimed to improve the stressful situation, are not effective in managing stressor such as work-family conflict. We found that experiencing interrole conflict steers employees toward frequent use of maladaptive coping strategies which in turn lead to psychological distress. Interventions targeted at improvement of coping skills which are according to individual's needs and expectation may help working women to balance work and family demands. The important issue is to keep in mind that effective coping strategies are to control the situations not to eliminate work-family conflict.
PMCID: PMC4324931
BACKGROUND: This study was designed to describe the distribution of risk factors for cardiovascular disease by socioeconomic status in adult men and women across Canada using the Canadian Heart Health Surveys Database. METHODS: The data were derived from provincial cross-sectional surveys done between 1986 and 1992. Data were obtained through a home interview and a clinic visit using a probability sample of 29,855 men and women aged 18-74 years of whom 23,129 (77%) agreed to participate. The following risk factors for cardiovascular disease were considered: elevated total plasma cholesterol (greater than 5.2 mmol/L), regular current cigarette smoking (one or more daily), elevated diastolic or systolic blood pressure (140/90 mm Hg), overweight (body mass index and lack of leisure-time physical activity [less than once a week in the last month]). Education and income adequacy were used as measures of socioeconomic status and mother tongue as a measure of cultural affiliation. RESULTS: For most of the risk factors examined, the prevalence of the risk factors was inversely related to socioeconomic status, but the relationship was stronger and more consistent for education than for income. The inverse relationship between socioeconomic status and the prevalence of the risk factors was particularly strong for smoking and overweight, where a gradient was observed: 46% (standard error [SE] 1.4) of men and 42% (SE 4.3) of women who had not completed secondary school were regular smokers, but only 12% (SE 1.0) of men and 13% (SE 0.9) of women with a university degree were regular smokers. Thirty-nine percent (SE 1.4) of men and 19% (SE 3.8) of women who had not completed secondary school were overweight, compared with 26% (SE 2.6) of male and 19% of female university graduates. The prevalence of leisure-time physical inactivity and elevated cholesterol was highest in both men and women in the lowest socioeconomic category, particularly by level of education. INTERPRETATION: The differences in the prevalence of risk factors for cardiovascular disease between socioeconomic groups are still important in Canada and should be considered in planning programs to reduce the morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC1232440  PMID: 10813023
The Clinical journal of pain  2013;29(8):681-688.
Catastrophizing is a coping style linked to poorer patient outcomes. Little attention has focused on the parent-adolescent dyad and catastrophizing as a shared coping style. The purpose of this study was to: (1) examine the effects of adolescent and parent pain catastrophizing on adolescent functioning and (2) explore concordance in catastrophizing in parent-adolescent dyads, with equal interest in outcomes of dyads with discordant coping styles.
Pain intensity, catastrophizing, depressive symptoms, quality of life, and pain behaviors were assessed in adolescents (ages 11 to 17) presenting to a pediatric chronic pain clinic (N = 240).
Significant correlations between (1) parent and adolescent catastrophizing; (2) catastrophizing and pain behaviors; and (3) catastrophizing and adolescent outcomes were found. Parents and adolescents were classified into concordant or discordant dyads based on catastrophizing with a majority of dyads (> 70%) showing concordant coping styles. Among discordant dyads, functional disability and depressive symptoms were significantly higher in a dyad with a high catastrophizing adolescent and low catastrophizing parent.
Results provide further support for catastrophizing being a maladaptive coping strategy for adolescents with pain and their parents. Greater adolescent catastrophizing was related to increased pain behaviors and poorer adolescent functioning. Parent catastrophizing also seems related to poorer adolescent outcomes, and most parent-adolescent dyads showed concordance in use of catastrophizing, which may suggest a shared tendency for adaptive or maladaptive styles of coping with pain. Future research should investigate pain coping at a dyadic or family level to explore how family coping styles magnify distress and disability or buffer adolescents from such problems.
PMCID: PMC3730260  PMID: 23370064
catastrophizing; pain behaviors; discordance; pediatric chronic pain
Addictive behaviors  2012;38(3):1672-1678.
Using alcohol to cope (i.e., coping motivation) and general coping style both are theorized and demonstrated empirically to lead to problematic drinking. In the present study, we sought to examine whether these factors interact to predict alcohol use, both retrospectively reported and in the lab following a stressor task. Social drinkers (N=50, 50% women) received the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST), and then consumed beer under the guise of a taste-test. A Timeline Followback interview to assess past month alcohol use, the Drinking Motives Questionnaire (DMQ), and the COPE (to assess adaptive coping) were administered prior to the laboratory challenge. Multiple regression models were used to examine DMQ coping motives, adaptive coping, and their interaction as predictors of milliliters (mls) of beer consumed in a clinical laboratory setting. The association between coping motives and mls beer was positive at both high and low levels of adaptive coping, but at low levels of adaptive coping, this association was stronger. In contrast, there was no interaction between adaptive coping and coping motives in predicting quantity and frequency of drinking in the prior month. Findings suggest that stronger coping motives for drinking predict greater alcohol consumption following a stress provocation to a greater extent when an individual is lacking in adaptive coping strategies. As both general coping skills and coping motives for alcohol use are responsive to intervention, study of the conditions under which they exert unique and interactive effects is important.
PMCID: PMC3558592  PMID: 23254217
alcohol; coping motives; adaptive coping; stress; clinical laboratory; Trier Social Stress Test
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(3):e1000248.
Majid Ezzati and colleagues examine the contribution of a set of risk factors (smoking, high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose, and adiposity) to socioeconomic disparities in life expectancy in the US population.
There has been substantial research on psychosocial and health care determinants of health disparities in the United States (US) but less on the role of modifiable risk factors. We estimated the effects of smoking, high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose, and adiposity on national life expectancy and on disparities in life expectancy and disease-specific mortality among eight subgroups of the US population (the “Eight Americas”) defined on the basis of race and the location and socioeconomic characteristics of county of residence, in 2005.
Methods and Findings
We combined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to estimate unbiased risk factor levels for the Eight Americas. We used data from the National Center for Health Statistics to estimate age–sex–disease-specific number of deaths in 2005. We used systematic reviews and meta-analyses of epidemiologic studies to obtain risk factor effect sizes for disease-specific mortality. We used epidemiologic methods for multiple risk factors to estimate the effects of current exposure to these risk factors on death rates, and life table methods to estimate effects on life expectancy. Asians had the lowest mean body mass index, fasting plasma glucose, and smoking; whites had the lowest systolic blood pressure (SBP). SBP was highest in blacks, especially in the rural South—5–7 mmHg higher than whites. The other three risk factors were highest in Western Native Americans, Southern low-income rural blacks, and/or low-income whites in Appalachia and the Mississippi Valley. Nationally, these four risk factors reduced life expectancy at birth in 2005 by an estimated 4.9 y in men and 4.1 y in women. Life expectancy effects were smallest in Asians (M, 4.1 y; F, 3.6 y) and largest in Southern rural blacks (M, 6.7 y; F, 5.7 y). Standard deviation of life expectancies in the Eight Americas would decline by 0.50 y (18%) in men and 0.45 y (21%) in women if these risks had been reduced to optimal levels. Disparities in the probabilities of dying from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes at different ages would decline by 69%–80%; the corresponding reduction for probabilities of dying from cancers would be 29%–50%. Individually, smoking and high blood pressure had the largest effect on life expectancy disparities.
Disparities in smoking, blood pressure, blood glucose, and adiposity explain a significant proportion of disparities in mortality from cardiovascular diseases and cancers, and some of the life expectancy disparities in the US.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Life expectancy (a measure of longevity and premature death) and overall health have increased steadily in the United States over recent years. New drugs, new medical technologies, and better disease prevention have all helped Americans to lead longer, healthier lives. However, even now, some Americans live much longer and much healthier lives than others. Health disparities—differences in how often certain diseases occur and cause death in groups of people classified according to their ethnicity, geographical location, sex, or age—are extremely large and persistent in the US. On average, black men and women in the US live 6.3 and 4.5 years less, respectively, than their white counterparts; the gap between life expectancy in the US counties with the lowest and highest life expectancies is 18.4 years for men and 14.3 years for women. Disparities in deaths (mortality) from chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases (for example, heart attacks and stroke), cancers, and diabetes are known to be the main determinants of these life expectancy disparities.
Why Was This Study Done?
Preventable risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, excessive body fat (adiposity), and high blood sugar are responsible for many thousands of deaths from chronic diseases. Exposure to these risk factors varies widely by race, state of residence, and socioeconomic status. However, the effects of these observed disparities in exposure to modifiable risk factors on US life expectancy disparities have only been examined in selected groups of people and it is not known how multiple modifiable risk factors affect US health disparities. A better knowledge about how disparities in risk factor exposure contribute to health disparities is needed to ensure that prevention programs not only improve the average health status but also reduce health disparities. In this study, the researchers estimate the effects of smoking, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and adiposity on US life expectancy and on disparities in life expectancy and disease-specific deaths among the “Eight Americas,” population groups defined by race and by the location and socioeconomic characteristics of their county of residence.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers extracted data on exposure to these risk factors from US national health surveys, information on deaths from different diseases in 2005 from the US National Center for Health Statistics, and estimates of how much each risk factor increases the risk of death from each disease from published studies. They then used modeling methods to estimate the effects of risk factor exposure on death rates and life expectancy. The Asian subgroup had the lowest adiposity, blood sugar, and smoking rates, they report, and the three white subgroups had the lowest blood pressure. Blood pressure was highest in the three black subgroups, whereas the other three risk factors were highest in Western Native Americans, Southern rural blacks, and whites living in Appalachia and the Mississippi Valley. The effects on life expectancy of these factors were smallest in Asians and largest in Southern rural blacks but, overall, these risk factors reduced the life expectancy for men and women born in 2005 by 4.9 and 4.1 years, respectively. Other calculations indicate that if these four risk factors were reduced to optimal levels, disparities among the subgroups in deaths from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes and from cancers would be reduced by up to 80% and 50%, respectively.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that disparities in smoking, blood pressure, blood sugar, and adiposity among US racial and geographical subgroups explain a substantial proportion of the disparities in deaths from cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancers among these subgroups. The disparities in risk factor exposure also explain some of the disparities in life expectancy. The remaining disparities in deaths and life expectancy could be the result of preventable risk factors not included in this study—one of its limitations is that it does not consider the effect of dietary fat, alcohol use, and dietary salt, which are major contributors to different diseases. Thus, suggest the researchers, reduced exposure to preventable risk factors through the implementation of relevant policies and programs should reduce life expectancy and mortality disparities in the US and yield health benefits at a national scale.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US Office of Minority Health, and the US National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities all provide information on health disparities in the US
MedlinePlus provides links to information on health disparities and on healthy living (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on all aspects of healthy living
The American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society provide information on modifiable risk factors for patients and caregivers
Healthy People 2010 is a national framework designed to improve the health of people living in the US
The US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) collect information on risk factor exposures in the US
PMCID: PMC2843596  PMID: 20351772
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e108614.
In China, spouse caregivers of cancer patients (SCCPs) are involved in all aspects of patient care and experience psychological distress which could result in sleep disturbance and fatigue. However, few studies have explored the differences between SCCPs and the general population, or what factors affect SCCPs' sleep. This study aims to (1) Compare the differences in sleep disturbances and fatigue severity between SCCPs and the age- and gender-matched general population, and (2) Identify selected personal characteristics, including coping style that affect sleep disturbances in SCCPs.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The Stress and Coping Model was used to guide this study. Participants were recruited from the northeast part of China and included 600 people from the general population and 300 SCCPs. Participants completed a socio-demographic form, Fatigue Scale-14, trait Coping Style Questionnaire, and Symptom Checklist-90.
The majority of the participants were middle age, most of whom (78.7%) spent more than 8 hours each day taking care of their spouses. Compared to the general population, the SCCPs experienced significant sleep disturbances with a mean of 7.30 (SD = 1.27), and fatigue severity with a mean of 8.11 (SD = 3.25). Among the selected SCCPs' personal characteristics, current poor health status (β = 0.14, P<0.001), having a spouse under mixed treatment (β = 0.13, p<0.001), and financial burden (β = 0.14, P<0.001) are the significant predictors for sleep disturbances. Positive coping is the predictor for fewer sleep disturbances (β = 0.27, P<0.001). Those who reported sleep disturbances also experienced higher physical and mental fatigue severity (P<0.001).
Intervention to improve coping style in SCCPs is needed. Further research is also needed to explore the other mediators and moderators that regulate sleep disturbance and health outcomes in the SCCPs.
PMCID: PMC4183522  PMID: 25275619
Journal of Family Psychology  2011;25(6):963-972.
This study’s goals were to examine coping strategies of women and their male partners as predictors of change in women’s adjustment over the year following breast cancer treatment and to test whether partners’ coping processes interact to predict adjustment. In a sample of women who had recently completed breast cancer treatment and were taking part in a psychoeducational intervention trial and their partners, patients’ and partners’ cancer-specific coping strategies were assessed at study entry (average of 10 months after diagnosis). Assessed at study entry and 20 months after diagnosis (n = 139 couples), dependent variables were women’s general (i.e., vitality, depressive symptoms, relationship satisfaction) and cancer-specific adjustment (i.e., cancer-specific distress, perceived benefits). Both patients’ and partners’ coping strategies at study entry predicted change in women’s adjustment at 20 months. Women’s use of approach-oriented coping strategies predicted improvement in their vitality and depressive symptoms, men’s use of avoidant coping predicted declining marital satisfaction for wives, and men’s approach-oriented strategies predicted an increase in women’s perception of cancer-related benefits. Patients’ and partners’ coping strategies also interacted to predict adjustment, such that congruent coping strategy use generally predicted better adaptation than did dissimilar coping. Findings highlight the utility of examining patients’ and partners’ coping strategies simultaneously.
PMCID: PMC3350376  PMID: 21928887
coping; breast cancer; marital satisfaction; marriage; psychological adjustment
Ergonomics  2009;52(4):448-455.
A total of 13 to 14% of European and North American workers are involved in shift work. The present aim is to explore the relationships between coping strategies adopted by shift workers and their leisure-time energy expenditure. Twenty-four female and 71 male shift workers (mean ± SD age: 37 ± 9 years) completed an adapted version of the Standard Shift-work Index (SSI), together with a leisure-time physical activity questionnaire. Predictors of age, time spent in shift work, gender, marital status and the various shift-work coping indices were explored with step-wise multiple regression. Leisure-time energy expenditure over a 14-d period was entered as the outcome variable. Gender (β = 7168.9 kJ/week, p = 0.023) and time spent in shift work (β = 26.36 kJ/week, p = 0.051) were found to be predictors of energy expenditure, with the most experienced, male shift workers expending the most energy during leisure-time. Overall ‘disengagement’ coping scores from the SSI were positively related to leisure-time energy expenditure (β = 956.27 kJ/week, p = 0.054). In males disengagement of sleep problems (β = −1078.1 kJ/week, p = 0.086) was found to be negatively correlated to energy expenditure, whereas disengagement of domestic-related problems was found to be positively related to energy expenditure (β = 1961.92 kJ/week, p = 0.001). These relations were not found in female shift workers (p = 0.762). These data suggest that experienced male shift workers participate in the most leisure-time physical activity. These people ‘disengage’ more from their domestic-related problems, but less from their sleep-related problems. It is recommended that physical activity interventions for shift workers should be designed with careful consideration of individual domestic responsibilities and perceived disruption to sleep.
PMCID: PMC2784230  PMID: 19401896
domestic work; exercise; nocturnal work; sleep-wake cycles
This article reports on the relationship between cultural influences on life style, coping style, and sleep in a sample of female Portuguese immigrants living in Germany. Sleep quality is known to be poorer in women than in men, yet little is known about mediating psychological and sociological variables such as stress and coping with stressful life circumstances. Migration constitutes a particularly difficult life circumstance for women if it involves differing role conceptions in the country of origin and the emigrant country.
The study investigated sleep quality, coping styles and level of integration in a sample of Portuguese (N = 48) and Moroccan (N = 64) immigrant women who took part in a structured personal interview.
Sleep quality was poor in 54% of Portuguese and 39% of Moroccan women, which strongly exceeds reports of sleep complaints in epidemiologic studies of sleep quality in German women. Reports of poor sleep were associated with the degree of adoption of a German life style. Women who had integrated more into German society slept worse than less integrated women in both samples, suggesting that non-integration serves a protective function. An unusually large proportion of women preferred an information-seeking (monitoring) coping style and adaptive coping. Poor sleep was related to high monitoring in the Portuguese but not the Moroccan sample.
Sleep quality appears to be severely affected in women with a migration background. Our data suggest that non-integration may be less stressful than integration. This result points to possible benefits of non-integration. The high preference for an information-seeking coping style may be related to the process of migration, representing the attempt at regaining control over an uncontrollable and stressful life situation.
PMCID: PMC2518135  PMID: 18691437
The current study explored the prevalence of depressed mood among Chinese undergraduate students and examined the coping patterns and degree of flexibility of flexibility of such patterns associated with such mood.
A set of questionnaire assessing coping patterns, coping flexibility, and depressive symptoms were administered to 428 students (234 men and 194 women).
A total of 266 participants both completed the entire set of questionnaires and reported a frequency of two or more stressful life events (the criterion needed to calculate variance in perceived controllability). Findings showed that higher levels of depressive symptoms were significantly associated with higher levels of both event frequency (r = .368, p < .001) and event impact (r = .245, p < .001) and lower levels of perceived controllability (r = -.261, p < .001), coping effectiveness (r = -.375, p < .001), and ratio of strategy to situation fit (r = -.108, p < .05). Depressive symptoms were not significantly associated with cognitive flexibility (variance of perceived controllability; r = .031, p = .527), Gender was not a significant moderator of any of the reported associations.
Findings indicate that Chinese university students with depressive symptoms reported experiencing a greater number of negative events than did non-depressed university students. In addition, undergraduates with depressive symptoms were more likely than other undergraduates to utilize maladaptive coping methods. Such findings highlight the potential importance of interventions aimed at helping undergraduate students with a lower coping flexibility develop skills to cope with stressful life events.
PMCID: PMC2911409  PMID: 20626865

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