Social—Environmental Influences on the Chronic Stress Process

  • Stephen J. Lepore
Part of the The Springer Series on Stress and Coping book series (SSSO)

Abstract

The social environment can facilitate or hamper one’s ability to cope with chronic stressors, but it can also be a direct source of chronic stress. This chapter examines three ways in which the social environment is implicated in chronic stress processes. First, it describes the variety of social sources of chronic stress. Second, it shows how the social environment can moderate, or alter, the impact of chronic stressors by mitigating or exacerbating people’s responses to them. Finally, it illustrates how enduring and undesirable changes in the social environment, which often result from stressful life events, can mediate, or explain, the effects of major life events on health and well-being.

Keywords

Social Support Psychological Distress Social Relationship Social Environment Chronic Stress 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Baron, R. S., Cutrona, C. E., Hicklin, D., Russell, D. W., and Lubaroff, D. M. (1990). Social support and immune function among spouses of cancer patients. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59, 344–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baum, A., and Paulus, P. B. (1987). Crowding. In D. Stokols and I. Altman (Eds.), Handbook of environmental psychology (pp. 533–570 ). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  3. Belle, D. (1982). The stress of caring: Women as providers of social support. In L. Goldberger and S. Breznitz (Eds.), Handbook of stress: Theoretical and clinical aspects (pp. 496505 ). New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bloom, J. R., and Kessler, L. (1994). Emotional support following cancer: A test of the stigma and social activity hypothesis. journal of Health and Social Behavior, 35, 118–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bolger, N., Delongis, A., Kessler, R. C., and Schilling, E. A. (1989). Effects of daily stress on negative mood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 808–818.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Coates, D., Wortman, C. B., and Abbey, A. (1979). Reactions to Victims. In I. H. Frieze, D. Bar-tal, and J. S. Carroll (Eds.), New Approaches to social problems (pp. 21–52 ). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  7. Cohen, S., Evans, G. W., Stokols, D., and Krantz, D. S. (1986). Behavior, health, and environmental stress. New York: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cohen, S., and Mckay, G. (1984). Social support, stress, and the buffering hypothesis: A theoretical analysis. In A. Braum, S. E. Taylor, and J. E. Singer (Eds.), Handbook of psychology and health (pp. 253–267 ). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  9. Cohen, S., and Wills, T. A. (1985). Stress, social support, and the buffering hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 98, 310–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Creed, F. (1987). Immigrant stress. Stress Medicine, 3, 185–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cutrona, C. E. (1990). Stress and social support: In search of optimal matching. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 9, 3–14.Google Scholar
  12. Cutrona, C. E., and Russell, D. (1990). Type of social support and specific stress: Toward a theory of optimal matching. In B. R. Sarason, I. G. Sarason, and G. R. Pierce (Eds.), Social support: An interactional view (pp. 319–366 ). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  13. Eckenrode, J., and Bolger, N. (1995). Daily and within-day event measurement. In S. Cohen, R. Kessler, and L. Gordon (Eds.), Measuring stress: A guide for health and social scientists (pp. 80–101 ). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Eckenrode, J., and Gore, S. (1990). Stress and coping at the boundary of work and family. In J. Eckenrode and S. Gore (Eds.), Stress between work and family (pp. 1-16). New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  15. Eckenrode, J., and Gore, S. (1981). Stressful events and social supports: The significance of context. In B. H. Gottlieb (Eds.), Social networks and social support (pp. 43–68 ). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  16. Evans, G. W., and Lepore, S. J. (1993). Household crowding and social support: A quasiexperimental analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 308–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Evans, G. W., and Lepore, S. J. (in press). Moderating and mediating processes in environment-behavior research. In G. T. Moore and R. W. Marans (Eds.), Advances in environment, behavior, and design (Vol. 4). New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  18. Evans, G. W., Lepore, S. J., and Schroeder, A. (1996). The role of interior design elements in human responses to crowding. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 41–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Frable, D. E., Blackstone, T., and Scherbaum, C. (1990). Marginal and mindful: Deviants in social interactions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59, 140–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Funch, D. P., andMettlin, C. (1982). The role of support in relation to recovery from breast surgery. Social Science and Medicine, 16(1),91–98.Google Scholar
  21. Gilligan, C. P. (1982). In a different voice: Psychological theory and women’s development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Gottlieb, B. H. (1992). Quandaries in translating support concepts to intervention. In H. O. F. Veiel and U. Baumann (Eds.), The meaning and measurement of social support (pp. 293–309 ). New York: Hemisphere.Google Scholar
  23. Hibbard, J. R., and Pope, C. R. (1992). Women’s employment, social support, and mortality. Women and Health, 18, 119–133.Google Scholar
  24. Hinkle, L. E. (1974). The effect of exposure to culture change, social change, and changes in interpersonal relationships on health. In B. S. Dohrenwend and B. P. Dohrenwend (Eds.), Stressful life events: Their nature and effects (pp. 9–44 ). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  25. Hobfoll, S. E., andVaux, A. (1993). Social support: Social resources and social context. In L. Goldberger and S. Breznitz (Eds.), Handbook of stress: Theoretical and clinical aspects (pp. 685–705). New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  26. House, J. S. (1981). Work stress and social support. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  27. House, J. S., Landis, K. R., and Umberson, D. (1989). Social relationships and health. Science, 241, 540–544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Johnson, J. V., Hall, E. M., and Theorell, T. (1989). Combined effects of job strain and social isolation on cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality in a random sample of the Swedish male working population. Scandinavian Journal of Work, 15, 271–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kaniasty, K., and Norris, F. H. (1993). A test of the social support deterioration model in the context of natural disaster. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64, 395–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kaplan, J. R., Adams, M. R., Clarkson, T. B., and Koritnik, D. R. (1984). Psychosocial influences on female “protection” among cynomolgus macaques. Atherosclerosis, 53, 283–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kaplan, J. R., Manuck, S. B., Clarkson, T. B., Lusso, F. M., and Taub, D. M. (1982). Social status, environment, and atherosclerosis in cynomolgus monkeys. Arteriosclerosis, 2, 359–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kaiak, A. E., and Wilcox, B. L. (1984). The structure and function of social support networks in families with handicapped children. American Journal of Community Psychology, 12, 645–661.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kessler, R. C., Mcleod, J. D., and Wethington, E. (1985). The costs of caring: A perspective on the relationships between sex and psychological distress. In I. G. Sarason, and B. R. Sarason (Eds.), Social support: Theory, research and applications (pp. 491–506 ). The Hague, the Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff.Google Scholar
  34. Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., Dyer, C. S., and Shuttleworth, E. C. (1988). Upsetting social interactions and distress among Alzheimer’s disease family caregivers: A replication and extension. American Journal of Community Psychology, 16, 825–837.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., and Glaser, R. (1991). Stress and immune function in humans. In R. Ader, D. L. Felten, and N. Cohen (Eds.), Psychoneuroimmunology ( 2nd edition ) (pp. 849–867 ). New York: Academic Press. Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., Glaser, R., Dyer, C., Shuttleworth, E., Ogrocki, P., and SpeicherGoogle Scholar
  36. C. E. (1987). Chronic stress and immunity in family caregivers of Alzheimer’s disease victims. Psychosomatic Medicine, 49, 523–535.Google Scholar
  37. Krupat, E. (1985). People in cities. New York: Cambridge.Google Scholar
  38. Langer, E., Fiske, S., Taylor, S., and Chanowitz, B. (1976). Stigma, staring, and discom- fort: A novel-stimulus hypothesis. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 12, 451–463.Google Scholar
  39. Lepore, S. J. (1992). Social conflict, social support, and psychological distress: Evidence of cross-domain buffering. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 857–867.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lepore, S. J. (1994). Crowding: Effects on health and behavior. In V. S. Ramachandran (Ed.), Encyclopedia of human behavior (Vol. 2, pp. 43–51 ). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  41. Lepore, S. J. (1995a). Measurement of chronic stressors. In S. Cohen, R. Kessler, and L. Gordon (Eds.), Measuring stress: A guide for health and social scientists (pp. 102–120 ). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Lepore, S. J. (1995b). Cynicism, social support, and cardiovascular reactivity. Health Psychology, 14, 210–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lepore, S. J., Allen, K. A. M., andEvans, G. W. (1992). Social support lowers cardiovascular reactivity to an acute stressor. Psychosomatic Medicine, 55, 518–524.Google Scholar
  44. Lepore, S. J, andEvans, G. W. (1996). Coping with multiple stressors in the environment. In M. Zeidner and N. Endler (Eds.), Handbook of coping: Theory, research, and applications (pp. 350–377). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  45. Lepore, S. J., Evans, G. W., and Palsane, M. N. (1991). Social hassles and psychological health in the context of chronic crowding. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 32, 357–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lepore, S. J., Evans, G. W., and Schneider, M. L. (1991). Dynamic role of social support in the link between chronic stress and psychological distress. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 899–909.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lepore, S. J., Evans, G. W., and Schneider, M. L. (1992). Role of control and social support in explaining the stress of hassles and crowding. Environment and Behavior, 24, 795811.Google Scholar
  48. Lepore, S. J., andMiles, H. J. (1996, March). Chronic stressors increase cardiovascular reactivity to acute stressors Paper presented at the Fourth International Congress of Behavioral Medicine, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  49. Lepore, S. J., Silver, R. C., Wortman, C. B., and Wayment, H. A. (1996). Social constraints, intrusive thoughts, and depressive symptoms among bereaved mothers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 271–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lerner, M. J. and Miller, D. T. (1978). Just world research and the attribution process: Looking back and ahead. Psychological Bulletin, 85, 1030–1051.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Lin, N., and Westcott, J. (1991). Marital engagement/disengagement, social networks, and mental health. In J. Eckenrode (Ed.), The social context of coping (pp. 213–238 ). New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  52. LipowsKI, Z. J. (1975). Sensory and information inputs overload: Behavioral effects. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 16, 199–221.Google Scholar
  53. Milgram, S. (1970). The experience of living in cities. Science, 167, 1461–1468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Norris, F. H., and Uhl, G. A. (1993). Chronic stress as a mediator of acute stress: The case of Hurricane Hugo. Journal of Applied and Social Psychology, 23, 1263–1284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Northouse, L. L. (1988). Social support in patients’ and husbands’ adjustment to breast cancer. Nursing Research, 37(2), 91–95.Google Scholar
  56. Olsen, R. B., Olsen, J., Gunner-Svensson, F., and Waldstron, B. (1991). Social networks and longevity. A 14 year follow-up study among elderly in Denmark. Social Science and Medicine, 33, 1189–1195.Google Scholar
  57. Orth-Gomer, K., Rosengren, A., and Wilhelmson, L. (1993). Lack of social support and incidence of coronary heart disease in middle-aged Swedish men. Psychosomatic Medicine, 55, 37–43.Google Scholar
  58. Pearlin, L. I. (1982). The social contexts of stress. In L. Goldberger and S. Breznitz (Eds.), Handbook of stress: Theoretical and clinical aspects (pp. 367–379). New York: Free Press. Pearlin, L. I. (1989). The sociological study of stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 30, 241–256.Google Scholar
  59. Pearlin, L. I., Lieberman, M., Menaghan, E., and Mullan, J. (1981). The stress process. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 22, 337–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Peplau, L. A., and Perlman, D. (Eds.) (1982). Loneliness: A sourcebook of current theory, research and therapy. New York: Wiley-Interscience.Google Scholar
  61. Quittner, A. L., Gluekauf, R. L., and Jackson, D. N. (1990). Chronic parenting stress: Moderating versus mediating effects of social support. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59 (6), 1266–1278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Repetti, R. L. (1993). The effects of workload and the social environment at work on health. In L. Goldberger and S. Breznitz (Eds.), Handbook of stress: Theoretical and clinical aspects ( 2nd ed. ) (pp. 368–385 ). New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  63. Rogler, L. H. (1994). International migrations: A framework for directing research. American Psychologist, 49, 701–708.Google Scholar
  64. Rook, K. (1984). Interventions for loneliness: A review and analysis. In L. A. Peplau and S. E. Goldston (Eds.), Preventing the harmful consequences of severe and persistent loneliness (Dhhs Publication No. 84–1312, pp. 47–80 ). Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  65. Rook, K. S., and Dooley, D. (1985). Applying social support research: Theoretical problems and future directions. Journal of Social Issues, 41, 5–28.Google Scholar
  66. Schonpflug, W. (1986). Behavior economics as an approach to stress theory. In M. H. Appley and R. Trumbull (Eds.), Dynamics of stress: Physiological, psychological, and social perspectives (pp. 81–98 ). New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  67. Schulz, R., and Tompkins, C. (1990). Life events and changes in social relationships: Examples, mechanisms, and measurement. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 9, 69–77.Google Scholar
  68. Seeman, T. E., Berkman, L. F., Kohout, F., Lacroix, A., Glynn, R., and Blazer, D. (1993). Intercommunity variations in the association between social ties and mortality in the elderly. A comparative analysis of three communities. Annals of Epidemiology, 3, 325–335.Google Scholar
  69. Shinn, M., Lehmann, S., and Wong, N. W. (1984). Social interaction and social support. Journal of Social Issues, 40, 55–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Silver, R. L., Wortman, C. B., and Crofton, C. (1990). The role of coping in support provision: The self-presentational dilemma of victims in life crises. In B. R. Sarason, I. G. Sarason, and G. R. Pierce (Eds.), Social support: An interactional view (pp. 397–426 ). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  71. Smith, T. W. (1992). Hostility and health: Current status of a psychosomatic hypothesis. Health Psychology, 11, 139–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Sugisawa, H., Liang, J., and Liu, X. (1994). Social networks, social support, and mortality among older people in Japan. Journal of Gerontology, 49, 3–13.Google Scholar
  73. Thotts, P. A. (1982). Social support as coping assistance. Journal of Clinical and Consulting Psychology, 54, 416–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Thoits, P. A. (1986). Conceptual, methodological, and theoretical problems in studying social support as a buffer against life stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 23, 145–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Vachon, M. L. S., and Stylianos, S. K. (1988). The role of social support in bereavement. Journal of Social Issues, 44(3), 175–190.Google Scholar
  76. Vetel, H O F (1992). Some cautionary notes on the buffer effect. In H. O. F. Veiel and U. Bauman (Eds.), The meaning and measurement of social support. New York: Hemisphere.Google Scholar
  77. Wheaton, B. (August, 1991 ). Chronic stressors: Models and measurement. Paper presented at the Society for Social Problems Meeting, Cincinnati, Ohio.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen J. Lepore
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

Personalised recommendations