Stress Illness and Specific Populations

The type of illness that results from too much stress depends on a variety of factors. Your age, gender, ethnic heritage, culture, and even geographical location all influence your response to developing stress-related illnesses. Some populations are more vulnerable to the effects of stress, just as some populations are more susceptible to certain diseases. Population-based health care focuses on assessing health needs, planning culturally sensitive prevention and intervention programs, and improving public health.

In this context, populations are groups of people defined by a common condition that perhaps need focused health education, prevention programs, or treatment. The following are some examples of populations: Pregnant women Military personnel returning from war Those with low socioeconomic status Those experiencing discrimination  Refugees Those with asthma The elderly Those experiencing significant loss Illegal immigrants Those with cardiovascular disease Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse Victims of crime Those with serious mental illness

Whether it is poverty, grief, or discrimination, the variety of stressors that members of these populations might encounter does not vanish overnight. As a result, the persistence of stress can contribute to long-lasting illness or chronic disease, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and arthritis. Seventy percent of all deaths in the United States are due to chronic disease. Fifty percent of Americans have at least one chronic disease. Chronic diseases are the most common and expensive diseases facing the world and since most chronic diseases have modifiable risk factors, most are preventable. The most common modifiable risks are poor diet, lack of exercise, and tobacco, alcohol, or drug use.

For this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources including the Stress and Immune-Related Disease” section of the “ Stress, the Immune System, Chronic Illness, and Your Body” handout. Select an illness to use for this Discussion. Think about a population that is more susceptible to this illness and a population that is less susceptible to this illness.

With these thoughts in mind: Post by Day 4 a brief description of the illness you selected. Then describe one population that is more susceptible and one population that is less susceptible to this illness and explain why. Include how stress and coping might differ between these populations. Be specific.

Course Text: Aldwin, C. M. & Yancura, L. (2011). Stress, coping, and adult development. In R. J. Contrada & A. Baum (Eds.), The handbook of stress science: Biology, psychology, and health (pp. 263–274). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
Course Text: Brandolo, E., Brady ver Halen, N., Libby, D., & Pencille, M. (2011). Racism as a psychosocial stressor. In R. J. Contrada & A. Baum (Eds.), The handbook of stress science: Biology, psychology, and health (pp. 167–184). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.  Course Text: Chandola, T., & Marmot, M. G. (2011). Socioeconomic status and stress. In R. J. Contrada & A. Baum (Eds.), The handbook of stress science: Biology, psychology, and health (pp. 185–193). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company. Course Text: Davis, M. C., Burleson, M. H., & Kruszewski, D. M. (2011). Gender: Its relationship to stressor exposure, cognitive appraisal/coping processes, stress responses, and health outcomes. In R. J. Contrada & A. Baum (Eds.), The handbook of stress science: Biology, psychology, and health (pp. 247–261). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.  Course Text: Garrido, M. M., Hash-Converse, J. M., Leventhal, H., & Leventhal, E. A. (2011). Stress and chronic disease management. In R. J. Contrada & A. Baum (Eds.), The handbook of stress science: Biology, psychology, and health (pp. 487–500). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company. Course Text: Nezu, A. M., Maguth Nezu, C., & Xanthopoulos, M. S. (2011). Stress reduction in chronically ill patients. In R. J. Contrada & A. Baum (Eds.), The handbook of stress science: Biology, psychology, and health (pp. 475–485). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.  Article: American Psychological Association. (2007, August 17). New research shows how chronic stress worsens neurodegenerative disease course [Press release]. Retrieved from Article: Dhabhar, F. S. (2009). Enhancing versus suppressive effects of stress on immune function: Implications for immunoprotection and immunopathology. Neuroimmunomodulation, 16(5), 300–317.
Retrieved from the Walden Library using the MEDLINE with Full Text database. Article: Lupien, S. J., McEwen, B. S., Gunnar, M. R., & Heim, C. (2009). Effects of stress throughout the lifespan on the brain, behavior and cognition. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 10(6), 434–445.
Retrieved from the Walden Library using the Academic Search Complete database. Article: National Institute of Mental Health. (2007, October 18). Stress: Brain yields clues about why some succumb while others prevail [Press release]. Retrieved from   Article: Potts, J. (2007, October). Study of relationship between chronic diseases and stress. Medical News Today. Retrieved from  Article: Stauder, A., Thege, B. K., Kovács, M. E., Balog, P., Williams, V. P., & Williams, R. B. (2010). Worldwide stress: Different problems, similar solutions? Cultural adaptation and evaluation of a standardized stress management program in Hungary. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 17(1), 25–32.
Retrieved from the Walden Library using the Academic Search Complete database. Article: Suglia, S.F., Staudenmayer, J., Cohen, S., Bosquet Enlow, M., Rick-Edwards, J. W., & Wright, R. J. (2010). Cumulative stress and cortisol disruption among Black and Hispanic pregnant women in an urban cohort. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 2(4), 326–334.
Retrieved from the Walden Library using the PsycARTICLES database. Article: Wilson, D. R. (2010). Stress management for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse: A holistic inquiry. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 32(1), 103–127.
Retrieved from the Walden Library using the CINAHL Plus with Full Text database.
Handout: Laureate Education, Inc. (2012). Stress, the immune system, chronic illness, and your body. Unpublished document.  Read the section titled “Stress and Immune-Related Disease” Web Resource: World Health Organization. (n.d.). Chronic diseases. Retrieved from   Web Resource: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Chronic disease prevention and health promotion. Retrieved from  

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