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Environ Health Prev Med. 2004 May;9(3):73-86. doi: 10.1007/BF02898065.

Psychosocial stressors in inter-human relationships and health at each life stage: A review.

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Department of Welfare Promotion and Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, 2630 Sugitani, 930-0194, Toyama, Japan,


Currently, psychosocial stressors' impacts on health are increasing. Among these stressors, this review focused on inter-human relationships. Since social supports could be protective against ill health, consequences contributing to psychosocial stressors are discussed here in relation to social supports for each stage of childhood, adulthood and elderly status.For childhood, parental divorce/isolation, and child abuse/neglect appeared to be determinants of healthy development at either the initial or later stages. According to prospective studies, such stressors, especially those occurring until around 3 years of age, were associated with later adverse life quality in adulthood. Therefore, nationwide preventive strategies were developed in each country to monitor protective social programs.For adulthood, job strain was focused on Karasek's job strain model, effort-reward imbalance, employment grade and working hours. These psychosocial stressors were shown to affect not only the physical health but also the mental health of working people. These days, since Karoshi and even suicide related to excessive workloads are taking a toll on workplace organization, stress-coping abilities such as a sense of coherence were introduced from the individual-social interaction aspect.For elderly status, retirement, caring for the elderly, and spouse bereavement were discussed as psychosocial stressors. Some evidence indicates that these stressors could be determiants of health. Finally, social supports have been demonstrated to promote health and protect the elderly against diseases and death.


caring for the elderly; child abuse; job strain; parental divorce; psychosocial stressor; retirement; sense of coherence; social support; spouse bereavement

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