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Life Stressors, Allostatic Overload, and Their Impact on Posttraumatic Growth

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Posttraumatic growth (PTG) has rarely been explored in terms of a comparison between stressful events and chronic stress. The definition of allostatic overload (AO) refers to the chronic, cumulative effect of stressful situations in daily life experienced by the individual as taxing or exceeding his or her coping skills. Sixty breast cancer survivors and 60 healthy stressed women were divided into four groups according to various psychosocial variables: survivors with and without allostatic overload and healthy stressed women with and without allostatic overload. Women with breast cancer had higher scores on PTG scales reflecting new possibilities, personal strengths, and spiritual changes than healthy women with AO. Chronic stress may hamper growth following adversities. Evaluation of chronic stress may help in targeting interventions for promoting posttraumatic growth.
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Keywords: allostatic load; breast cancer; posttraumatic growth; psychological well-being; stress

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Publication date: March 4, 2015

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