Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Soc Ment Health. 2011 July 1; 1(2): 124–136.


Copyright American Sociological Association 2011. Published by SAGE Publications.


Stress process and life-course models of mental distress emphasize socio-cultural and historical processes that influence stress exposure and the impact of stress on mental health outcomes. Drawing from these theoretical orientations as well as concepts from the historical trauma literature, we examine the effects of culturally relevant and more generalized sources of stress on distress among North American Indigenous adults, and tests for the potential cumulative and interactive effects of stress on distress across the life-course via self-reported early childhood and adult/contemporary stressors. Results of OLS regression analyses reveal positive, significant associations between general stressors and distress as well as culturally-meaningful stressors and distress. In addition, we found evidence of the accumulating and interactive impact of stress on psychological distress.