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Exp Gerontol. 2014 Nov;59:74-80. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2014.06.019. Epub 2014 Jul 1.

Do hassles mediate between life events and mortality in older men? Longitudinal findings from the VA Normative Aging Study.

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Oregon State University, United States. Electronic address:
Chonbuk National University, Republic of Korea.
Oregon State University, United States.
VA Boston Healthcare System, United States; Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine, United States.


We investigated whether hassles mediated the effect of life events on mortality in a sample of 1293 men (Mage=65.58, SD=7.01), participants in the VA Normative Aging Study. We utilized measures of stressful life events (SLE) and hassles from 1989 to 2004, and men were followed for mortality until 2010. For life events and hassles, previous research identified three and four patterns of change over time, respectively, generally indicating low, moderate, and high trajectories, with one moderate, non-linear pattern for hassles (shallow U curve). Controlling for demographics and health behaviors, we found that those with moderate SLE trajectories (38%) more likely to die than those with low SLE trajectories, HR=1.42, 95% CI [1.16, 3.45]. Including the hassles classes showed that those with the moderate non-linear hassles trajectory were 63% more likely to die than those with low hassles trajectory, HR=1.63, 95% CI [1.19, 2.23], while those with consistently high hassles trajectory were over 3 times more likely to die, HR=3.30, 95% CI [1.58, 6.89]. However, the HR for moderate SLE trajectory decreased only slightly to 1.38, 95% CI [1.13, 1.68], suggesting that the two types of stress have largely independent effects on mortality. Research is needed to determine the physiological and behavioral pathways through which SLE and hassles differentially affect mortality.


Aging; Hassles; Mortality; Stressful life events; Trajectories

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