Relationship of chronic stress, social support, and coping style to health among Namibian refugees

Olive Shisana, David D. Celentano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study investigates how social support and coping style affect the relationship between a traumatic chronic stressor and health status. A population of 88 Namibian refugees living in an equatorial region of Africa participated in the study. The central hypothesis was that social support and coping style moderate the relationship between length of stay in exile (a proxy measure of chronic stress) and health status (symptoms of generalized anxiety disorders, self-reported physical health status and length of stay in hospital). The results show that when social support is high the relationship between length of stay in exile and all three health outcomes is substantially reduced. When social support is low, the relation between stress and poor health outcomes is high. Coping style moderates the relationship between length of stay in exile and period of hospitalization but has no effect on level of anxiety or perceived health status. When both social support and coping style are simultaneously considered, the best results emerge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-157
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1987

Keywords

  • coping
  • refugee health
  • social support
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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