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14-02-2017 | Original Paper | Uitgave 5/2017

Journal of Child and Family Studies 5/2017

Daily Reports of Stress, Mood, and Physical Health in Middle Childhood

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 5/2017
Margaret L. Burkhart, Melanie Horn Mallers, Katherine E. Bono


Most empirical work examining stress in children focuses on major life events, like divorce of parents, while fewer studies consider the role of daily stressors, or the routine challenges of day-to-day living. Existing work on children’s daily stress is lacking such that it primarily: (1) focuses on children who are ill, disabled, or who face significant environmental risks, (2) relies on retrospective reports, (3) relies on parent or teacher reports of stressors experienced by children, or (4) does not comprehensively examine the role of stress on mood and health. In the current study, we explored daily experiences of stress, mood, and physical health symptoms across five consecutive days in 25 children between 8 and 10 years old. Results showed that children reported a variety of types of stressors, and that more stressors were reported by older children, girls, and on weekdays compared to weekends. Daily reports of stress were linked to same day reports of physical health symptoms but not mood, however the presence of both negative mood and daily stress was associated with even more same day health symptoms. This study extends prior work by examining children’s stress at the daily level as well as relying on children’s self-reports of their stress, mood, and physical health symptoms.

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