Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 357–372 | Cite as

The importance of chronicity and controllability of stress in the context of stress-illness relationships

  • Linda Gannon
  • Lynn Pardie


The primary purpose of the present study was to increase our understanding of the roles of chronicity and controllability in the measurement of stress within the context of stress-illness relationships. Controllability and chronicity were assessed directly using a modified version of the Everyday Problems Scale. In addition to this scale, measures of depression, psychosomatic symptoms, and social support were administered to 128 women and 100 men. The results indicated that, for both men and women, the number of stressors was the best single predictor of symptoms. However, for women, chronicity and controllability of the stressors accounted for a significant amount of the variance in health outcomes over and above that accounted for by the number of stressors endorsed; for men, the addition of neither chronicity nor controllability consistently increased the strength of the association. While available social support was not found to influence the stress-illness relationships, greater willingness to utilize social support was associated with lower levels of depression.

Key words

illness chronic stress controllability 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda Gannon
    • 1
  • Lynn Pardie
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologySouthern Illinois UniversityCarbondale

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