Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





Psychology, Clinical.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Life stress theory was examined from the perspective of its three components--life event characteristics, personal dispositions, and social supports. A literature review suggested that these components were important predictors of psychological adjustment. The purpose of the present study was to examine the stress-disorder relationship, with a secondary aim of exploring sex and age differences. It was expected that those who experienced more undesirable and uncontrollable events, who attributed internal, stable, and global causes to negative events, and who utilized fewer social supports, would show poor adjustment. In addition, due to sex-role stereotyping, females were expected to be less well-adjusted than males. An exploration of age differences was also attempted. In total, 224 respondents of both sexes and three age groups (adolescent, young adult, and middle-aged) answered a questionnaire. Life event changes were assessed by an adapted version of the Life Experiences Survey, personal dispositions by Seligman's Attributional Style Questionnaire, and social support by the Provisions of Social Relations Scale. Measures of adjustment were the Hopkins Symptom Checklist, the Beck Depression Inventory, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and Pearlin's Mastery Scale. Results from MANCOVA determined that there was an overall effect of undesirable and uncontrollable events on adjustment, with a significant interaction for somatic complaints. Stability of attributions for negative events was associated with unfavourable outcome scores. Personal supports were the best predictors of emotional well-being. Concerning sex and age expectations, the adolescent female group was the most distressed, while middle-aged women and men showed positive adjustment. Male university students experienced more events, and were more depressed and had lower self-esteem than other males. It was concluded that sex and age differences emerged within the context of specific stresses. Results were discussed in terms of the complex interplay of life stress components, and the importance of sampling various populations within the life stress paradigm. Suggestions for improved methodology and recommendations for stereotype-free research were presented.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1986 .J645. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 47-05, Section: B, page: 2168. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1986.