Reaction to stress as important as cause of it

stressed

Traumatic life events are the most significant cause of anxiety and depression, but how a person thinks about these events determines the level of stress he or she experiences.

A new study by psychologists at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Psychology, Health and Society reveals their analysis of more than 32,000 participants' responses to the BBC’s "Stress Test." This was an online survey created to explore the causes and consequences of stress.

Examining response to stressful situations

The "Stress Test" was launched on BBC Radio 4's "All in the Mind," and was available on the BBC website. The survey asked participants a range of questions about their family history of mental health problems, life events, income and education levels, relationship status and social circumstances. Participants were asked how they responded to stressful situations.

Professor Peter Kinderman, lead researcher and Head of the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, explained:

Whilst we know that person's genetics and life circumstances contribute to mental health problems, the results showed that traumatic life events are the main reason people suffer from anxiety and depression. However the way a person thinks about, and deals with stressful events is as much an indicator of the level of stress and anxiety they feel. Though we can’t change a person’s family history or their life experiences, it is possible to help a person to change the way they think and to teach them positive coping strategies that can mitigate and reduce stress levels.

Sources: MedicalNewsToday, University of Liverpool

 
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