A longitudinal study of the impact of chronic psychological stress on health-related quality of life and clinical biomarkers: protocol for the Australian Healthy Aging of Women Study

Seib, Charrlotte and Whiteside, Eliza J. and Humphreys, Janice and Lee, Kathryn and Thomas, Patrick and Chopin, Lisa and Crisp, Gabrielle and O'Keeffe, Angela and Kimlin, Michael and Stacey, Andrew and Anderson, Debra (2014) A longitudinal study of the impact of chronic psychological stress on health-related quality of life and clinical biomarkers: protocol for the Australian Healthy Aging of Women Study. BMC Public Health, 14 (9). ISSN 1471-2458

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Abstract

Background
Despite advancements in our understanding of the importance of stress reduction in achieving good health, we still only have limited insight into the impact of stress on cellular function. Recent studies have suggested that exposure to prolonged psychological stress may alter an individual’s physiological responses, and contribute to morbidity and mortality. This paper presents an overview of the study protocol we are using to examine the impact of life stressors on lifestyle factors, health-related quality of life and novel and established biomarkers of stress in midlife and older Australian women.

The primary aim of this study is to explore the links between chronic psychological stress on both subjective and objective health markers in midlife and older Australian women. The study examines the extent to which exposure frightening, upsetting or stressful events such as natural disasters, illness or death of a relative, miscarriage and relationship conflict is correlated with a variety of objective and subjective health markers.

Methods/Design
This study is embedded within the longitudinal Healthy Aging of Women’s study which has collected data from midlife and older Australian women at 5 yearly intervals since 2001, and uses the Allostastic model of women’s health by Groër and colleagues in 2010. The current study expands the focus of the HOW study and will assess the impact of life stressors on quality of life and clinical biomarkers in midlife and older Australian women to explain the impact of chronic psychological stress in women.

Discussion
The proposed study hypothesizes that women are at increased risk of exposure to multiple or repeated stressors, some being unique to women, and the frequency and chronicity of stressors increases women’s risk of adverse health outcomes. This study aims to further our understanding of the relationships between stressful life experiences, perceived quality of life, stress biomarkers, chronic illness, and health status in women.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2014 Seib et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2015 20:48
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2015 01:13
Uncontrolled Keywords: women; stress; health-related quality of life; stress biomarkers; modifiable lifestyle factors; midlife
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1101 Medical Biochemistry and Metabolomics > 110199 Medical Biochemistry and Metabolomics not elsewhere classified
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111714 Mental Health
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920408 Health Status (e.g. Indicators of Well-Being)
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-9
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/26388

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