Specific Stressors and the Specific Stress Symptoms They Elicit in School-Age Children
Creators:Brooks, Danielle N.
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. College of Nursing Honors Theses; 2005
School-age children experience stress much the same as adults do; both common, everyday stress and also atypical, larger-scale stress. Children may have difficulty knowing how to cope with their stress and how to describe what they are feeling or experiencing. Pediatric nurses have a good opportunity to discuss these stressful experiences and to guide and teach children how to cope. It is important that healthcare professionals be able to diagnose and treat stress, as it can lead to other problems in the child, such as the development of psychiatric disorders or initiate physical diseases (Lau, 2002). Although there have been several studies examining stress in children, many of these have been based on adult perception’s of the child’s stress experience. The problem stemming from this view is that adults may not appreciate certain events that, while seeming harmless and simple to an adult, may actually be quite stressful through a child’s eyes (Lau, 2002). Some of these particular childhood stressors may also occur quite regularly (Lewis, Siegel, & Lewis, 1984). Other studies tend to focus on specific stressful events in a child’s life, such as an illness in the family or a natural disaster, as opposed to more common but stressful events in children’s lives. Because stress does have such a major impact on school-age children, it is also important to establish if certain stressors determine certain stress symptoms. This can be helpful in diagnosing and treating a child experiencing stress. As McMahon, Grant, Compas, Thurm, & Ey (2003) point out, there has been no study that has “yet tested full specificity models (including examination of specific mediating and moderating pathways) of the role of stress in the etiology of a particular psychological outcome.” Therefore, the purpose of this study is to characterize the relationships between specific stressors and the specific stress symptoms they elicit in school-age children. We will also look for a direct relationship between these results and the gender of the child.