Perception and experience of types of social stress and self-image among adolescents

Patrick Tolan, Lisa Miller, Peter Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Eighty-four 16-18-year-old male and female volunteers were sampled to test the relationship of ratings and experience of four types of social stressors (developmental transitions, induced transitions, daily hassles, and circumscribed events). Also the relationship of self-image as measured by the Offer Self-Image Questionnaire to each type of stressor was studied. Contrary to previous research, we did not find correlations between ratings and experience, and observed minimal gender differences in ratings, experience levels, and psychopathology. Several differences in impact were found when stressor types were differentiated. Apparently, developmental transitions are least stressful for adolescents and daily hassles are most influential on their self-image. Gender differences were noted in the perceived change required by types of stressors and the manner in which stressors impacted on self-image. These results suggest that it is important to distinguish type of Stressors by type of adjustment process required, and that previously reported gender differences are less a matter of global differences or affects of specific Stressors than a matter of variations in perceived adjustment required and aspect of functioning impacted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-163
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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