Stressed men die sooner
There’s more evidence that older men should do whatever they can to reduce their stress levels. According to research from Oregon State University, men who are chronically stressed, whether by everyday stresses or big life events, have a higher mortality rate than their peers.
The research team notes that the types of stress may have different effects on mortality. While both everyday stressors, such as commuting to work or family issues, and big life events, such as the death of a spouse, appear to be harmful to men’s health, how men handle the stressors is what sets them apart. For instance, “taking things in stride,” may serve as a protector for someone experiencing a series of stressful events.
“It’s not the number of hassles that does you in, it’s the perception of them being a big deal that causes problems,” said researcher Carolyn Aldwin.
The researchers used data from the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study. They studied stressful life events and everyday hassles for 1,293 men between 1989 and 2005 then followed the men until 2010. About 43 percent of the men had died by the end of the study period.
About a third of the men who reported having few stressful life events had died, while closer to half of the men reporting moderate or high numbers of stressful events had died by the end of the study. Men who reported few everyday hassles had the lowest mortality rate, at 28.7 percent. Just under half of the men reporting a mid-range number of hassles had died by the end of the study, while 64.3 percent of the men reporting a high number of hassles had died.
While the study provides a good view of how different stressors can affect men’s health, the researchers note that the findings are not a long-term predictor of health. The team also suggests the importance of learning coping skills for dealing with stressful, or annoying, everyday hassles, as men may live longer if they’re able to better control their reactions.