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THE EFFECT OF ROLE CHANGE ON PHYSICAL HEALTH, MENTAL HEALTH AND GENERAL LIFE SATISFACTION: A PANEL ANALYSIS (MARITAL, EMPLOYMENT, PARENTAL, STRESS, LONGITUDINAL DESIGN)
This research examines the effect of role changes on physical health, mental health and general life satisfaction using longitudinal data from the Nebraska Annual Social Indicators Survey. Using a random, representative sample of 1,188 Nebraskans, interviewed in 1977, 1979, 1981, three role changes were examined: change in marital status, parental status, and employment status. Three alternative explanations--stress associated with role change, stressful roles, and selectivity theory--were tested for goodness of fit for each of these role changes. Role change theory argues that all role changes are stressful but, that this stress is transitory. Thus, levels of health and happiness would initially decrease and then, recover. Stressful role theory suggests that some roles are inherently stressful because they are negatively valued or ambiguously defined: occupation of these roles in and of itself will depress levels of health and happiness. Thus, one would anticipate movement into some roles to be associated with permanent decreases in levels of health and happiness. Selectivity theory posits that people are selected into or out of certain roles because of individual characteristics. These characteristics rather than roles or role change determine quality of life. Thus, one would not expect to find role change affecting levels of health or happiness. Little evidence was found for role change theory and only modest evidence was found for stressful role theory. It was found that widowed and divorced individuals experienced reduced levels of general life satisfaction which continues over time. The unemployed experienced permanent reductions in physical health. Additionally, getting married and particularly remarried, is associated with improvements in general life satisfaction. The evidence on getting and losing kids suggest that parenting is a stressful role. Overall, it appears that many of everyday role changes which have been thought to be stressful are not.
EELLS, LAURA WORKMAN, "THE EFFECT OF ROLE CHANGE ON PHYSICAL HEALTH, MENTAL HEALTH AND GENERAL LIFE SATISFACTION: A PANEL ANALYSIS (MARITAL, EMPLOYMENT, PARENTAL, STRESS, LONGITUDINAL DESIGN)" (1985). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI8526619.