Be proactive to avoid the health effects of stress

Two new studies show that young adults who take preventative steps to respond to stress are better able to avoid adverse health outcomes.

“The fact that we have two studies with the same results highlights the importance of proactive coping for young adults when it comes to coping with stress,” says Shevaun Neupert, a North Carolina professor of psychology and author of a paper on the two studies. State University.

“Since proactive coping refers to skills that can be taught, these results are important in helping us work with people to build resilience. The findings also show that young adults in particular can benefit significantly from these skills.”

Proactive coping is an umbrella term for behaviors that allow people to avoid future stressors or prepare themselves to respond to those stressors. These can be behavioral, such as saving money to deal with unexpected expenses, or cognitive, such as visualizing how to deal with potential difficulties.

“You can also think of proactive coping as a way to help people keep working towards their goals even when dealing with challenges,” Neupert says.

The first of the two studies focused on skills that allow people to concentrate on their goals while dealing with stressors. For this study, the researchers enrolled 223 people: 107 young adults (18-36 years old) and 116 older adults (60-90 years old).

Study participants completed an initial questionnaire focused on understanding the goal-directed proactive coping behaviors that the participants were involved in. Participants then completed daily questionnaires for the next eight days that recorded physical health symptoms as well as stress factors they experienced each day.

“We found that young adults who consistently engage in proactive coping, such as thinking about what they need to be successful, experience fewer negative physical health symptoms on stressful days,” Neupert says. “However, for older adults, proactive coping had no positive or negative effects.”

The second study focused on efforts aimed at avoiding or avoiding stressors. For this study, the researchers enrolled 140 people ages 19 to 86. Study participants completed a baseline questionnaire designed to capture stress prevention proactive coping behaviors. After that, study participants completed daily questionnaires for 29 days and reported on their daily stressors and physical health.

For this study, the researchers found that adults ages 19 to 36 who engaged in proactive coping reported little or no decline in their physical health on stressful days, compared with adults of the same age who engaged in less proactive coping. However, as in the first study, proactive coping had no effect on older adults.

“The effects in both studies were linear, so the more proactively young adults cope, the better their physical health during stressful days,” Neupert says.

“These findings show that there is tremendous value in teaching teens proactive coping, starting with college-age young adults but extending to people who have settled into adulthood.”

The paper appears in the magazine prediction.

Funding from the NC State College of the Humanities and Social Sciences supported the work.

Source: NC State

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *