Stress less, live longer

Funded by an award from the National Institute on Aging funded Stress Measurement Network, Dr Joshua Wiley of the Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences (MICCN) is researching the effect of stress on health and, ultimately, on mortality. His most recent study questioned whether all stressors have an impact, and whether this impact is equal.

In the mid-1990s, over 7,000 adults from the Midlife in the United States Study reported their stress levels across 11 different measures, conceptually and empirically grouped into the domains of discrimination, inequality, perceived stress, and stressful events.

20 years on, Dr Wiley’s research has compared the prospective relationship between these 11 different stress measures with all-cause mortality (age at death for any reason).

Even after adjusting for socioeconomic status, gender, and health behaviours, results found that each conceptual stress domain predicted significantly earlier mortality, with stressful life events, general perceived stress, and experiences of everyday discrimination having had the largest effects.

Through further research, Dr Wiley now hopes to determine whether these findings are replicated in other studies, with an additional aim to explore why some types of stress are better predictors of mortality than others and ultimately, what can be done to minimise the impact of stress.

Dr Wiley presented “A Matter of Life and Death: Psychosocial stress predicts all-cause mortality over 20 years” at the 75th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society on Thursday 16 March 2017 in Spain.

For more information on his research, contact Dr Wiley on t: 03 9905 9598, e: Joshua.Wiley@monash.edu.

Note: This research is supported by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health under award R24 AG048024. The content is solely the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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Dr Joshua Wiley

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