The Impact of Chronic Stress on Stress, Rumination, Mindfulness, and Aging

Open Access
Author:
Freed, Sara Ann
Area of Honors:
Human Development and Family Studies
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Martin John Sliwinski, Thesis Supervisor
  • Lisa Michelle Kopp, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • stress
  • rumination
  • age
  • mindfulness
Abstract:
Theory suggests that rumination about stressful events can mediate the negative effects of stress by keeping stressful events active in the mind. Existing theories also suggest that increased age is associated with a decrease in rumination and perceived stress. The current study tests the relationship between rumination and perceived stress, as well as how these differ across age. The study uses survey information from individuals living in the Bronx, NY (N=240; 25-65 years old). Rumination and perceived stress were not significantly associated with age. Due to this unexpected result, demographic and chronic stress variables were tested as potential moderators between age and perceived stress. Chronic stress significantly moderated the relationship between age and perceived stress. These findings suggest that previously studied age differences in well-being may disappear in environments with high levels of chronic stressors. This supports a new theory of socioemotional aging that identifies conditions where older individuals do not experience higher well-being than younger adults.