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Stress

  • In: Encyclopedia of Epidemiology
  • Edited by: Sarah Boslaugh
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Health Research Methods , Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Stress is one of the most talked about psychosocial constructs in popular discourse. We invoke the language of stress when we want sympathy, to convey that we feel inundated by demands, responsibility, or worry. The harried young mother in a store, a student at exam time, and the busy corporate executive are all familiar images of the stressed individual. Less prominent in the popular imagination is the stress of the impoverished, the unemployed, those facing discrimination, and outcasts at the margins of society. Stress is central to the study of health disparities because the disadvantaged members of society bear it in disproportion.

In its epidemiological sense, stress is a way to characterize those aspects of experiencing the social and physical environment that influence the wellbeing ...

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