Sweating the small stuff: how different types of hassles result in the experience of stress

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The current study examines the level of stress caused by different types of daily hassles. Using an open-ended response format, participants (n = 164) described hassles that they were currently experiencing in their lives, and then rated their hassles on dimensions of perceived control, negative emotions, importance, as well as the overall amount of stress that they associated with each hassle. Reported hassles were coded into one of four types (interpersonal, intrapersonal, school/work, everyday living), and relationships between control, negative emotions and importance on stress by type of hassle were examined. Results indicate that for all types of hassles, the amount of negative emotions that a hassle evokes is the strongest predictor of stress. In addition, hassles' importance significantly predicts stress for intrapersonal hassles, school/work hassles and everyday living hassles. Perceived control, however, only predicts stress due to everyday living hassles. Gender differences in the experience of different types of hassles were also found, with female participants reporting a greater number of interpersonal hassles and associating interpersonal hassles with more negative emotions than males. This study extends the literature on hassles by describing the conditions under which different types of everyday events become stressful. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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