Perceptions of stressful life events as turning points are associated with self-rated health and psychological distress

Angelina R. Sutin, Paul T. Costa, Elaine Wethington, William Eaton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We test the hypothesis that changes in physical and psychological health are associated with construals of stressful life events. At two points in time, approximately 10 years apart, participants (n = 1038) rated their physical health and psychological distress. At the second assessment, participants also reported their most stressful life event since the first assessment and indicated whether they considered the event a turning point and/or lesson learned. Lower self-ratings of health and higher ratings of psychological distress, controlling for baseline health and distress, and relevant demographic factors, were associated with perceiving the stressful life event as a turning point, particularly a negative turning point. The two health measures were primarily unrelated to lessons learned. How individuals construe the most stressful events in their lives are associated with changes in self-rated health and distress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-492
Number of pages14
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Volume23
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

Keywords

  • Lesson learned
  • Life story
  • Physical health
  • Psychological distress
  • Stressful life event
  • Turning points

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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