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Soc Sci Med. 2009 Jan;68(2):243-50. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.10.008. Epub 2008 Nov 19.

Resources, stressors and psychological distress among older adults in Chennai, India.

Author information

  • National University of Singapore, 117570 Singapore, Singapore. srinivasan.chokkanathan@gmail.com


Scant information exists on the complex interaction between resources and stressors and their subsequent influence on the psychological distress of older adults in India. Within the framework of resource theory, the present study examined the various pathways through which resources and stressors influence psychological distress by testing four models - the independence model, the stress-suppression model, the counteractive model and the resource-deterioration model. The independence model posits that resources and stressors have a direct relationship with psychological distress. The stress-suppression model hypothesizes that stressors mediate the influence of resources on psychological distress. The counteractive model postulates that stressors mobilize resources, which in turn influence psychological distress. The resource-deterioration model states that stressors deplete resources and subsequently exacerbate distress. In the present study, resources include social support, religiosity and mastery; stressors include life events, abuse and health problems. Psychological distress was measured using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale and Geriatric Depression Scale. Interviews were conducted among 400 adults aged 65 years and above, randomly selected from the electoral list of urban Chennai, India. The battery of instruments was translated into Tamil (local language) by back-translation. Structural Equation Modeling was conducted to test the three models. The results supported the stress-suppressor model. Resources had an indirect, negative relationship with psychological distress, and stressors had a direct, positive effect on distress. As such there is a need to identify and strengthen the resources available to older adults in India.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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