249406 Role of gender in stress perception: Why women perceive and react more negatively to stress than men?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Irum Abbasi, MA Experimental Psychology , Psychology, San Jose State University, San Diego, CA
Greg Feist, PhD , Psychology, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA
Alana Cordeiro, BA , Psychology, San Jose State University, San Jose
Latasha Barnwell, BA , Health, San Jose State University, San Jose
There is contemporary literature reporting the role of the neuroticism (N) personality type and gender in the stress process. Men and women show a different pattern in their resilience to stress and predisposition to stress related diseases. Dysregulation of the stress-hormone is linked with development, onset, and progression of psychological and physical disorders in both men and women. The influence of gender on stress perception and its resultant negative affect was explored by analyzing the data collected for a bigger study. In the original study, the mood of pre-screened college students (N=34, Females = 22, Males = 12), who scored high and low on the neuroticism subscale, was initially neutralized to their respective base level by using neutral pictorial stimuli. Later, their mood and stress perception were manipulated using a laboratory psycho-social stressor. In the end, their mood and stress perception were manipulated again through exposure to positive pictorial stimuli. The results indicated that the female group was generally more stressed and had higher negative affect throughout the study, as compared to the male group. Moreover, females reported significantly higher stress perception and negative affect during the stress task, than males. Females also reported a significantly higher stress perception, than males, even after they were exposed to positive stimuli. These results suggest that females, when compared to males, may be more sensitive to the negative stimuli but not equally responsive to the positive stimuli. Implications and limitations of the study will be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Administration, management, leadership
Public health biology
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Audience will be able to identify the differences between the stress perception and reaction patterns of men versus women. Audience will also be able to evaluate the content and design of the study and formulate their own ideas going forward.

Keywords: Gender, Women's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the primary investigator of the study that will be presented.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.