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Psychol Health Med. 2011 Dec;16(6):631-40. doi: 10.1080/13548506.2011.564192. Epub 2011 Jun 13.

Traditional versus modern values and interpersonal factors predicting stress response syndromes in a Swiss elderly population.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


Stress response syndromes like adjustment disorders or complicated grief are assumed to be shaped by social-cultural factors in addition to biological and psychological factors. In previous research, value orientations and interpersonal factors were found to jointly predict those syndromes (Maercker, A., Mohiyeddini, C., Müller, M., Xie, W., Hui Yang, Z., Wang, J., & Müller, J. ( 2009 ). Traditional versus modern values, self-perceived interpersonal factors, and posttraumatic stress in Chinese and German crime victims. Psychology and Psychotherapy, 82(Pt 2), 219-232.). In addition to the previous finding, the current study using Swiss elderly (65-97 years) aimed to replicate patterns of predictors leading to stress responses in people with recent bereavement or severe life events. Traditional (conformity, tradition and benevolence) and modern values (stimulation, hedonism and achievement) and two self-perceived interpersonal mediator processes (disclosure intentions and social acknowledgement as a victim) were assessed. The current study confirms the previous model in parts, that is, the indirect path from social acknowledgment to stress response syndrome is mediated by disclosure intentions. Traditional values and not modern values explained substantial variance for disclosure intentions and are therefore indirectly linked to worse mental health outcomes whereas the direct association appears somewhat controversial in light of previous findings.

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