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Social Hassles and Psychological Health in the Context of Chronic Crowding

Stephen J. Lepore, Gary W. Evans and M. N. Palsane
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 32, No. 4 (Dec., 1991), pp. 357-367
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2137103
Page Count: 11
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Social Hassles and Psychological Health in the Context of Chronic Crowding
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Abstract

Data are presented on the interactive effects of an enduring environmental stressor with acute, daily social stressors on psychological distress. A cross-sectional study of males in urban India and a longitudinal study of male and female American college students examined the interplay of these two types of stressors. In India, social hassles in the home predicted psychological symptoms only among residents of crowded homes, after statistically adjusting for income. In America, the interaction between social hassles and crowding was replicated in analyses adjusting for prior psychological symptoms, prior social acquaintanceship with housemates, and income. A six-month follow-up study with the American sample replicated the interaction. In all three analyses of the social hassle-crowding interaction, there was a main effect of crowding but no main effect of social hassles on psychological symptoms. These findings suggest that some chronic environmental stressors may increase the impact of acute social stressors, and highlight the importance of examining contextual factors in the stress and health process.

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