Exposure to socioenvironmental stress as a predictor of physical and mental health

Halling, M., S. Timmer-Murillo, J. C. Hunt, T. Geier, K. M. Beyer, K. M. Malecki, and T. A. deRoon-Cassini. Exposure to Socioenvironmental Stress As a Predictor of Physical and Mental Health. Journal of Health Psychology, 2021.

DOI: 10.1177/13591053211024712 The literature demonstrates links between socioenvironmental characteristics, dysregulation of the stress response system, and PTSD, though few studies integrate these factors in one model. In a secondary analysis of cross-sectional data collected by the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW), structural equation modeling evaluated the relationships between socioenvironmental stress, cumulative biological risk (CBR), and PTSD symptom severity. The model hypothesized that exposure to socioenvironmental stress was associated with PTSD and that this relationship is mediated by increased CBR. Indices suggest the model provided a good fit to the data and supported socioenvironmental stress and CBR as valid latent constructs. Although the association between CBR and PTSD was not found to be statistically significant in this study, socioenvironmental stress was a significant predictor of PTSD and CBR. Given the role of socioenvironmental factors on CBR and PTSD symptoms, providers need to better assess and incorporate social stressors within evaluation and treatment.

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