Article

Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 379-388

Socioeconomic status and stress in Mexican–American women: a multi-method perspective

  • Linda C. GalloAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, San Diego State UniversitySDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology Email author 
  • , Smriti ShivpuriAffiliated withSDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology
  • , Patricia GonzalezAffiliated withGraduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University
  • , Addie L. FortmannAffiliated withSDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology
  • , Karla Espinosa de los MonterosAffiliated withSDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology
  • , Scott C. RoeschAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, San Diego State University
  • , Gregory A. TalaveraAffiliated withGraduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University
  • , Karen A. MatthewsAffiliated withUniversity of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

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Abstract

Stress is a hypothesized pathway in socioeconomic status (SES)-physical health associations, but the available empirical data are inconsistent. In part, this may reflect discrepancies in the approach to measuring stress across studies, and differences in the nature of SES-stress associations across demographic groups. We examined associations of SES (education, income) with general and domain-specific chronic stressors, stressful life events, perceived stress, and stressful daily experiences in 318 Mexican–American women (40–65 years old). Women with higher SES reported lower perceived stress and fewer low-control experiences in everyday life (ps < .05), but greater chronic stress (education only, p < .05). Domain-specific analyses showed negative associations of income with chronic housing and financial stress (ps < .05), but positive associations of SES with chronic work and caregiving stress (all ps < .05 except for income and caregiving stress, p < .10). Sensitivity analyses showed that most SES-stress associations were consistent across acculturation levels. Future research should adopt a multi-dimensional assessment approach to better understand links among SES, stress, and physical health, and should consider the sociodemographic context in conceptualizing the role of stress in SES-related health inequalities.

Keywords

Hispanic Latino Socioeconomic status Stress