Journal of Public Health

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 205–209 | Cite as

Life stress, uncertainty stress and self-reported illness: a representative nationwide study of Chinese students

  • Tingzhong Yang
  • Shuhan Jiang
  • Lingwei Yu
  • Randall R. Cottrell
  • Qi Si
Original Article



To examine the association between life stress, uncertainty stress and self-reported illness among Chinese college students.


Participants were 11,942 students who were identified through a multistage survey sampling process that included 50 universities. Stress and illness status were obtained by self-report. Both unadjusted and adjusted methods were considered in the analyses.


Self-reported short- and long-term illness prevalences were 27.4% (95% CI: 23.9%–30.8%) and 20.0% (95% CI: 17.0%–23.1%), respectively. The logistic regression model found that while uncertainty stress was associated with both categories of illness, life stress was not related to either category of illness.


These findings underscore the importance of controlling uncertainty stress and can be used to inform future policies and reinforce the need for uncertainty stress management in China.


Life stress Uncertainty stress University students China 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

This study was partially funded by the WHO project titled “Global Health Professions Student Survey, China,” the National Nature Science Foundation of China (Major Project, 71,490,733; 71,473,221), the National Social Science Foundation of China (16BTY063) and Global Bridges/IGLC(2014SC1). All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were approved by the Ethics Committee of the Medical Center, Zhejiang University, and informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017
corrected publication January/2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Medicine/Center for Tobacco Control ResearchZhejiang University School of MedicineHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Public Health Studies Program, School of Health and Applied Human SciencesUniversity of North CarolinaWilmingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Sport and Exercise Science, College of EducationZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

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