Mothers' Coping Styles During Times of Chronic Security Stress: Effect on Health Status Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • In this study, we investigated the coping behaviors used by Israeli mothers to manage various sources of stress, including security-related stress, based on a life-course perspective of women's health. A random telephone survey of 302 mothers who had children under age 18 living at home was conducted in the Negev area. Measures of stress such as domestic violence, sources of tension in everyday life, and time pressure were assessed together with indicators of exposure to the Intifada for their relationship to indicators of physiological health and depression. Factor analysis revealed three distinct coping styles: social-leisure style, loosening control style, and a restlessness style which were used by 91.4%, 68.5%, and 69.5% of the sample, respectively. Security-related stress was associated with greater reported health symptoms, particularly gynecological symptoms. A history of child abuse and domestic violence and exposure to the Intifada were associated with greater depressive symptoms, but not with physical health indicators. Other sources of stress particularly affected symptoms related to gynecological function. Most mothers used a variety of coping strategies during times of chronic security stress, some of which are health promoting and others that detract from health.

publication date

  • January 1, 2010