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The Effects of Daily Life on Stress Levels by Chad Clippingdale & Shannon Birk

Abstract Daily hassles, life experiences, and work are all predictors of stress, while sleep, exercise, and social support have been found to reduce stress. To replicate these findings, thirty participants, 15 males and 15 females (mean age of 30.4) were surveyed with a variety of questionnaires. Significant positive correlations were found between stress and the factors of daily hassles, life experiences, and work hours, while social support and stress were significantly negatively correlated. However, expected relationships between sleep and stress, and between exercise and stress, were not significant.

Introduction Stress is a part of everyday life (Weiten, 2001). We experience stress each day, sometimes positively and sometimes negatively. Without stress life would be dull; however, we must learn to cope with all forms of stress to prevent it affecting our psychological and physical health (Weiten, 2001). Kohn, Lafreniere & Gurevich (as cited in Weiten, 2001) found that routine daily hassles can have a significant effect on our mental health. Although minor hassles alone may not be stressful, many hassles may build up and overwhelm an individual, causing stress. Also, Holmes & Rahe (as cited in Weiten, 2001) and others have found that changes in life, positive or negative, require adjustment. During this time of adjustment, one may be more susceptible to

sleep. 2001). stress levels may become greater. Having someone to listen and give empathy helps to justify our feelings and makes us feel better. 2001). and work levels. a poor work environment. exercise. social support. not all life experiences are stressful. life experiences. However. which itself may increase stress levels (Weiten. According to Davis. Work stress is another important factor that has been the subject of much research. Morris & Kraus (1998). Exercise provides an opportunity to release frustrations and increases resistance to stress. 534). A heavy workload. 1988). When deprived of sleep. Weiten (2001) noted that "pressure has turned out to be more strongly related to measures of mental health than the SSRS" (p.stress. This study was designed to replicate past research and investigate the correlations between stress and daily hassles. When one spends longer hours exposed to these factors. . while sleep deprivation decreases it. Exercise and getting a good night sleep are also very important to coping with stress. there is an inverse correlation between social support and mental health. a measure of life change. one might under-perform on cognitive tasks. Social support is very important to reducing stress (House. a hectic work schedule. More changes in one's life may increase one's susceptibility to stress. Landis & Umberson. and low job security are all factors that can cause stress at work (Weiten.

Procedure Each participant was asked to complete the questionnaire package. or both. & Siegel. Life Experiences Survey (Sarason. and average hours of exercise per week. The researchers then scored the tests and correlated the results using the Pearson product-moment correlation. . Folkman. 1978). Materials Information was gathered using the Hassles Scale (Delongis.4. Johnson. Participants were also asked to report their average hours of work or school per week. 2001). and Social Support Scale (Weiten. work. 2001). The mean age was 30. 15 men and 15 women. Stress Test (Weiten. average hours of sleep per night. & Lazarus. Ages ranged from 13 to 59. 1988).Method Participants There were 30 participants in this study. Confidentiality was emphasized and participants were asked not to include their names. Participants were attending school.

01. As hassles.47** -.Results Pearson product-moment correlations were computed to measure the relationship between stress levels and the other factors studied. or work hours increase. The following table presents the findings. so does stress. and vice versa).08 -. life experiences.35* . Table 1 n = 30 Correlations between Stress & Various Stress Factors Factors Daily Hassles Social support Life experiences Weekly exercise Hrs of sleep Hrs of work ** p <.05).39* . life experiences. indicating a significant negative relationship between the two. * p <.05 Daily hassles.42* -. The correlation between social support and stress was r = -. Stress .35 (p<. (That is. lower levels of social support are associated with higher levels of stress.21 . This indicates significant positive relationships exist between these factors and stress levels. and hours of work were all significantly correlated with stress.

Landis & Umberson. Social support can be very important in reducing stress because it allows people to talk about.47.05) between work hours and stress supports Weiten's (2001) research on the subject. p < . .01) between daily hassles and stress levels supports Kohn et al.05) between life experience and stress also supports Holmes & Rahe's research (as cited in Weiten. The participants may have reported the amount of exercise that they believed to be socially acceptable instead of the amount of exercise they actually did. p < . 1998. The significant positive correlation (r = +. the more susceptible to stress one becomes. One hassle by itself may be small and insignificant. 2001) that the more changes in life one has.'s research on the stress effects of daily hassles (as cited in Weiten.35. The significant positive correlation (r = +. but when hassles start to build up they may cause a great deal of stress. Brown has shown that exercise can be beneficial to reducing stress levels. However.05) between social support and stress also supports past research (Davis. The finding of a negative correlation (r = -. 1991) and stress was unexpected. the absence of the expected inverse correlation between exercise (Brown. 2001) may also have been a factor. p < . The work environment can be a very stressful place and the more time one spends there. Social desirability bias (Weiten. Morris & Kraus. the higher their stress levels may become. Perhaps more participants were needed in order to show an accurate correlation.08) and between sleep and stress (r = -. Discussion The finding of a significant positive correlation (r = +. and have others listen to their problems.42.39. the correlations between exercise and stress (r= -.21) were not significant.However. p < . 1988). House. 2001).

54.. A good night's sleep is essential to resisting stress. Morris. (1988). J. House. R. 241. J. Journal of Psychology and Social Psychology. The impact of daily stress on health and mood: Psychological and social resources as mediators. Delongis. Relationship-specific and global perception of social support: Associations with well-being and attachments. 60. M. L. 74. 555-561. . S. M.The negative correlation between sleep and stress was not significant (r = -. Social relationships and health. A stronger. & Umberson. more significant correlation was expected. Landis. A. S. References Brown. One reason for these results might be that hours of sleep in this survey were all around eight hours. 468-481... & Kraus.21). 486496. Again. D. A. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. M. (1991). Folkman. Journal of Psychology and Social Psychology. D. (1988). Science. 540-545. Davis. the small sample size might be a factor. H. Staying fit and staying well: Physical fitness as a moderator of life stress [Abstract]. R... & Lazarus. (1998). more participants might increase the accuracy of the results. while stress levels were scattered over a much larger range. K. S.

(2010).. I. J. Weiten. Siegel. Toronto: Wadsworth. J. ed. Assessing the impact of life changes: Development of the Life Experiences Survey. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.Sarason. (1978). 943-946. G.).. . Psychology: Themes and variations (2nd Cdn. H. W. Johnson. 46. M.