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BMC Psychiatry. 2016 Jun 3;16:181. doi: 10.1186/s12888-016-0886-6.

Cross-country discrepancies on public understanding of stress concepts: evidence for stress-management psychoeducational programs.

Author information

1
Department of Medical-Surgical Nursing, School of Nursing, University of São Paulo, Av. Dr Enéas de Carvalho Aguiar, 419, São Paulo, SP, 05403 000, Brazil. junery@usp.br.
2
Center for Studies on Human Stress, Mental Health Research Center Fernand-Seguin, Hospital Louis-H. Lafontaine, Université de Montreal, 7401, rue Hochelaga, Montréal, Québec, H1N 3M5, Canada.
3
Institute of Heart, Hospital das Clínicas, University of São Paulo, Av. Dr. Enéas de Carvalho Aguiar, São Paulo, SP, 05403000, Brazil.
4
Department of Internal Medicine, Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Av. Prof. Alfredo Balena, 190, Belo Horizonte, MG, 30130-100, Brazil.
5
Department of Medical-Surgical Nursing, School of Nursing, University of São Paulo, Av. Dr Enéas de Carvalho Aguiar, 419, São Paulo, SP, 05403 000, Brazil.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Negative effects of stress have pose one of the major threats to the health and economic well being of individuals independently of age and cultural background. Nevertheless, the term "stress" has been globally used unlinked from scientificevidence-based meaning. The discrepancies between scientific and public stress knowledge are focus of concern and little is know about it. This is relevant since misconceptions about stress may influence the effects of stress-management psychoeducational programs and the development of best practices for interventions. The study aimed to analyze stress knowledge among the Canadian and Brazilian general public and to determine the extent to which scientific and popular views of stress differ between those countries.

METHODS:

We evaluated 1156 healthy participants between 18 and 88 years of age recruited from Canada (n = 502) and Brazil (n = 654). To assess stress knowledge, a questionnaire composed of questions regarding stress concepts ("stress is bad" versus "stress-free life is good") and factors capable of triggering the stress response ("novelty, unpredictability, low sense of control and social evaluative threat versus "time pressure,work overload, conflict, unbalance and children") was used.

RESULTS:

Both Canadian and Brazilian participants showed misconceptions about stress and the factors capable of triggering a stress response. However, the rate of misconceptions was higher in Brazil than in Canada (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSION:

These findings suggest a lack of public understanding of stress science and its variance according to a country's society. Psychoeducational programs and vulnerability of stress-related disorder are discussed.

KEYWORDS:

Comprehension; Cross-cultural comparison; Psychological stress; Social context

PMID:
27260184
PMCID:
PMC4893292
DOI:
10.1186/s12888-016-0886-6
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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