Stress, lifestyle and quality of life in midlife and older Australian women : results from the stress and the health of women study

Seib, Charrlotte, Whiteside, Eliza, Lee, Kathryn, Humphreys, Janice, Dao Tran, Tiet Hanh, Chopin, Lisa K., & Anderson, Debra J. (2014) Stress, lifestyle and quality of life in midlife and older Australian women : results from the stress and the health of women study. Women's Health Issues, 24(1), e43-e52.

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  • Chronic psychological stress may pose a serious threat to health, although the mechanisms are not fully understood. This study examines the impact of stress on modifiable lifestyle factors, depressive symptoms, health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and chronic illness in older Australian women.


  • Cross-sectional data were collected from a random sample of 181 older adults aged 60-70 years from rural and urban areas of South-East Queensland, Australia. We used structural equation modelling to examine associations between stress, modifiable lifestyle factors, HRQoL, and chronic illness.


  • Parameter estimates show that older women who reported life stressors where they felt helpless and feared for their life (high magnitude stressors) also reported higher body mass index (p = 0.03) and more chronic illness (p <0.01). In contrast, duration of exposure to life stressors was associated with higher depressive symptom scores (CES-D, p = 0.02) and sleep disturbance scores (p <0.01).


  • Our findings support the link between traumatic personal histories (exposure to high magnitude stressors) and unhealthy lifestyle factors. Findings highlight the need for more research on how stress reduction healthy lifestyle and positive coping strategies can be used to reduce the effects of high magnitude stress on health-related quality of life and chronic illness.

Impact and interest:

5 citations in Scopus
3 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 66832
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: stress, women, health status, aging, modifiable lifestyle factors
DOI: 10.1016/j.whi.2013.11.004
ISSN: 1049-3867
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Biomedical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health
Copyright Statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Womens Health Issues. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Womens Health Issues, [VOL 24, ISSUE 1, (2014)] DOI: 10.1016/j.whi.2013.11.004
Deposited On: 03 Feb 2014 22:53
Last Modified: 23 May 2017 06:21

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