ERIC Number: ED252755
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Stressful Life Events and Psychological Well-Being: A Causal Relationship?
Schroeder, David H.
Previous research linking life events and psychological well being may have been biased by traditional retrospective designs. To eliminate retrospective bias, a prospective design was used in which events were measured before the criterion had occurred. Subjects were 209 male and 159 female participants in the Augmented Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, who reported their life events for the previous year on an 87-item checklist. Two months later they completed the Affect Balance Scale (ABS), a life satisfaction measure, Andrew and Withey's D-T scale, and Dupuy's General Well Being Scale. Subjects had completed the first three scales two years earlier, forming a composite measure of prestress well being. Results suggested that methodological artifacts seriously inflate event-outcome correlations in traditional self-report studies, especially in neurotic individuals who may (1) over-report stressful events, or (2) incur such events. The effect size for the overall scale was 11 times the size for the unconfounded scale when prestress well being was controlled. The actual causal impact of life events was trivial, suggesting that life event checklists are poor indicators of stress. A better strategy might be to employ a transactional approach. (JAC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Life Events
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (92nd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August 24-28, 1984). This research constitutes a portion of the author's doctoral dissertation, Johns Hopkins University.