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Key Words:

Stress, Mental Health, Process, Pearlin, Model

Background / Metatheory:

We experience levels of depression for many different reasons. We know depression is influenced by a number of events and experiences, but is depression onset by actual important events and experiences or our reaction to them? Humans reacting to important events and experiences are historical, but current high rates of depression are not. So what is happening now that is different? It may be how we react that is different. For example, if we think the birth of a child as an important event, we will often react. Reactions to birth can be positive or negative, but both increase stress. If the birth of a child is not seen as an important event, then it will not result in stress. Reacting to important events and experiences with stress might effect depression. To some degree, everyone experiences important events and experiences. Since we cannot avoid important events and experiences, we need to better understand stress and depression.

Terms & Definitions:

Scope Conditions:

  1. Important experiences create stress.
  2. People have important experiences.

Propositions:

  1. If an important event happens, then stress will increase.
  2. If an important event happens, then social support will increase.
  3. If an important event happens, then social support will decrease.
  4. If an important event happens, then coping will increase.
  5. If an important event happens, then coping will decrease.
  6. If an important event happens, then mastery increases.
  7. If an important event happens, then mastery decreases.
  8. If an important event happens, then self-esteem increases.
  9. If an important event happens, then self-esteem decreases.
  10. If stress increases, then mastery decreases.
  11. If stress increases, then self-esteem decreases.
  12. If stress decreases, then mastery increases.
  13. If stress decreases, then self-esteem increases.
  14. If an important event happens, then depression will increase.
  15. If an important event does not happen, depression will decrease.
  16. If self-esteem decreases, then depression will increase.
  17. If self-esteem increases, then depression will decrease.
  18. If mastery increases, then depression will decrease.
  19. If mastery decreases, then depression will increase.
  20. If social support increases, then depression will decrease.
  21. If social support decreases, then depression will increase.
  22. If coping increases, then depression will decrease.
  23. If coping decreases, then depression will increase.

Derivations:

  1. A decrease in depression is caused by an important life event.
  2. An increase in depression is caused by an important life event.
  3. A decrease in depression is caused by an increase in social support.
  4. An increase in depression is caused by a decrease in social support.
  5. A decrease in depression is caused by an increase in coping.
  6. An increase in depression is caused by a decrease in coping.
  7. A decrease in depression is caused by an increase in self-esteem.
  8. An increase in depression is caused by a decrease in self-esteem.
  9. A decrease in depression is caused by an increase in mastery.
  10. An increase in depression is caused by a decrease in mastery.
  11. An increase in depression is caused by an increase in stress.

Evidence:

The stress process model is a theory that argues depression is caused by stress (Pearlin et al., 1981). The stress process model has been used for the past twenty years on hypotheses concerning mental health, family, neighborhoods, and psychiatric disorders (Pearlin et al., 1981, Aneshensel et al. 1991, Cohen, 1995, Thoits 2012). But when the stress process theory is used in articles, it is not defined or given scope conditions (Pearlin et al., 1981, Aneshensel et al. 1991, Cohen, 1995, Thoits 2012). The theory has been tested using surveys, secondary data analysis, and interviews; but the findings are questionable since the theory is applied without scope conditions. One researcher has contested the stress process model’s reliability (Hobfoll 1985). Hobfoll argues that the theory is unclear and that findings are not theoretical (1985). For example, Hobfoll argues that articles applying the theory use “important events,” “important experiences,” “important participation,” and “important incidents” interchangeably (Pearlin et al., 1981, Aneshensel et al. 1991, Cohen, 1995, Thoits 2012).
Title: The Stress Process Model
Version: 1 / 1
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