The role of personality and socio‐economic status in the stress–illness relation: A longitudinal study

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Abstract

Although a wide variety of factors have been found to be related to health in some way, researchers on the subject of health generally fail to integrate findings of other research disciplines within their own line of research. This study has attempted to bring together two research disciplines: (a) research on personality and health, and (b) research on socio‐economical differences in health. Personality factors as well as social class have been found to mediate the stress‐illness relation. Based on empirical and theoretical considerations, we proposed a simple model for the occurrence and course of disease. The personality factors studied were neuroticism, locus of control, and self‐esteem. Socio‐economic status (SES) was represented by education level, occupation status, and income. Health was operationalized as the number of somatic diseases. The research questions were investigated (using t‐tests andpath analysis) in a longitudinal set of data that were collected between 1970 and 1984 among 245 subjects in the normal population. Neuroticism appeared to be an important mediator of the stress‐illness relation. Of the SES variables, occupation and education served as mediators; education was especially infuential on the course of disease. The role of neuroticism is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-108
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Personality
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr-1991

Keywords

  • HEALTH-STATUS
  • LIFE EVENTS
  • HARDINESS
  • EXPLANATIONS
  • INEQUALITIES
  • DISTRESS
  • DISEASE

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