Title

Stress and illness in adolescence: Issues of race and gender

Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

12-1-1997

Abstract

There is an abundance of information on the association between stressful life events and illness within the adult population. In contrast, research on this relationship among adolescents is limited. This study evaluated the role of individual differences (gender and race) on the stress-illness relationship within the adolescent population. Participants were 119 adolescents (54 females and 65 males), recruited from two public high schools located in the southeast, who were administered four questionnaires designed to measure levels of stress, anxiety, and illness. Overall, correlational analysis revealed that stress and anxiety were positively correlated with reported illness. However, racial and gender differences did emerge. Although no gender differences were found with regard to the experience of stress, African-American athletes reported a higher frequency of stressful life events than did their Euro-American counterparts. Further, African-American adolescents reported a lower frequency of illness than did the Euro-Americans. Females reported more illnesses than did males. Possible explanations for individual differences in reported stress and illness are discussed.

Publication Title

Adolescence

Volume

32

Issue

128

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