HRS Newsletter: Stress
Examining the Impact of Stress: New resources and harmonized data now available
HRS provides one of the most comprehensive assessments of psychosocial stress in existing population-based studies. Resources are now available to better take advantage of these stress measures, and to access stress variables that have been harmonized across 9 HRS families of studies to conduct cross-national analyses.
The National Institute on Aging-funded Stress
Measurement Network together with the Gateway to Global Aging
initiative are happy to announce the release of newly available stress harmonization data. Across 10
cohort studies, stress variables –including exposures to stressful events and psychological perceptions
of stress—have been harmonized to allow for cross-national analysis.
This includes a user manual that outlines every measure (and each individual item) that captures stress exposure and perception of stress at each wave of HRS as well as similar measures in many other HRS family studies. The newly created HRS stress variables and HRS-specific documentation are now available as part of the Harmonized HRS ver.B available on the HRS Data Downloads and can be used in conjunction with comparable variables from other HRS families of studies (e.g. ELSA, LASI, MHAS).
Furthermore, the Stress Measurement Network (R24AG048024) has developed resources to help scientists improve the conceptualization and measurement of psychosocial stress, including an Online Toolbox that describes nearly 100 stress measures. The Health and Retirement Study offers one of the most comprehensive assessments of psychosocial stress in existing population based studies. A recently published paper in the Journal of Gerontology Series B (Crosswell et al., 2018) provides a comprehensive review of all the stress measures and how frequently they have been used in peer-reviewed publications. There are many unanswered questions about how stress exposures and perceptions of stress influence aging trajectories that can be answered with the newly available data.