Special Issue "Stress and Health: Understanding the Effects and Examining Interventions"

A special issue of Healthcare (ISSN 2227-9032).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 December 2020).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Alyx Taylor
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Psychology, Sport and Physical Activity, AECC University College, Bournemouth BH5 2DF, UK
Interests: human stress response; mental health; neuroendocrinology; HPA-axis; neurophysiology; affective disorders; gene x environment interactions; child development; interventions for stress management; multi-modal rehabilitation for stress
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Modern life is associated with high levels of stress for many people. Stress factors include work, living conditions, financial resources, personal relationships, and the physical or mental health status of the individual and their family members. Many professional groups such as those in public services including healthcare workers are exposed to high levels of stress in the course of their work. 

Some people appear to manage high-stress situations without negative effects, and some even report that they thrive on high stress levels, for example, at work. However, other people are unable to manage the stress factors in their lives and report negative responses to stress. 

There is research evidence to support associations between specific stressors and physical or mental health problems in different groups of people. There is also increasing research evidence to demonstrate pathways by which children may be negatively affected by maternal experiences of stress, both in utero and throughout development. This can lead to health problems in the next generation. In this way, the negative effects of stress can become a further burden for individuals and society. Innovative research is being undertaken to find ways to mitigate the effects of unavoidable stress, to improve the health of individuals, and to reduce the cost of stress to society. 

Dr. Alyx Taylor
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Healthcare is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • human stress response;
  • neuroendocrinology;
  • HPA-axis; neurophysiology;
  • affective disorders;
  • gene x environment interactions;
  • child development;
  • social support; sense of coherence;
  • pharmacological intervention;
  • cognitive behavioral therapy;
  • physical exercise; yoga;
  • mindfulness;
  • multi-modal rehabilitation for stress.

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Article
A Qualitative Case Study on Influencing Factors of Parents’ Child Abuse of North Korean Refugees in South Korea
Healthcare 2021, 9(1), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9010049 - 05 Jan 2021
Viewed by 582
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to investigate the influencing factors of parental child abuse by North Korean refugees who are living in South Korea. In-depth interviews were conducted with five parents who escaped from North Korea. The study identified three categories of [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the influencing factors of parental child abuse by North Korean refugees who are living in South Korea. In-depth interviews were conducted with five parents who escaped from North Korea. The study identified three categories of factors impacting child abuse: the weakening of family functions from past experiences before and after defection, the stress of adapting to the culture of an unfamiliar society, and low parenting self-efficacy. North Korean parents suffered from emotional and functional crises from past traumatic events and, at the same time, experienced additional acculturative stress as a “minority” after entering South Korea, even as they continued to deal with Maternal Parenting Stress. These complex factors have been shown to lead to child abuse in migrant societies. This study contemplated the context of child abuse through specific examples. The results could provide thoughtful insights into child abuse among migrants and refugee parents, and provide evidence-based intervention plans for its prevention. Full article
Article
Results of Mentoring in the Psychosocial Well-Being of Young Immigrants and Refugees in Spain
Healthcare 2021, 9(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9010013 - 24 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1007
Abstract
This study examined the change processes associated with the Nightingale project, a community-based mentoring programme whose aim is to promote the social inclusion of minors of immigrant origin. A pre-test–post-test study was conducted on a group of 158 young immigrants between the ages [...] Read more.
This study examined the change processes associated with the Nightingale project, a community-based mentoring programme whose aim is to promote the social inclusion of minors of immigrant origin. A pre-test–post-test study was conducted on a group of 158 young immigrants between the ages of 8 and 15, in which the influence of the mentoring programme on the youths’ psychosocial well-being was measured. Non-parametric tests were used to calculate the results before and after mentoring, comparing the results over a six-month period and controlling for sex and age. The analyses reflected associations between mentoring and improvements in specific aspects of the emotional well-being of young immigrants and highlighted the potential of mentorships to cushion the stressful events they are subjected to in the process of adapting to a new social reality. Full article
Article
Vulnerability Factors Associated with Lifetime Posttraumatic Stress Disorder among Veterans 40 Years after War
Healthcare 2020, 8(4), 359; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare8040359 - 24 Sep 2020
Viewed by 829
Abstract
Vulnerability factors for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) development are still controversial. Our aim was to study the vulnerability factors for the development of war-related PTSD over a period of 40 years after exposure. A cross-sectional, observational study was carried out on 61 male [...] Read more.
Vulnerability factors for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) development are still controversial. Our aim was to study the vulnerability factors for the development of war-related PTSD over a period of 40 years after exposure. A cross-sectional, observational study was carried out on 61 male traumatized war veterans, taking into consideration adverse childhood experiences (ACE), attachment orientations, number of non-war-related traumatic events, and war experiences. Lifetime PTSD was assessed by using the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale. Insecure attachment styles were significantly associated with lifetime PTSD and even after adjustment for war exposure this was still significant. Non-war-related traumatic events were not associated with lifetime PTSD, whereas ACE were associated with lifetime PTSD. War-related experiences were also associated with lifetime PTSD, except for injury or disease. The results for our sample show that, 40 years after war, the intensity of war-related experiences and ACE were significantly and independently associated with the development of lifetime PTSD. Insecure attachment was significantly associated with lifetime PTSD, which, in turn, are both positively associated with war exposure. These findings may have implications for patient care, as they constitute a strong argument that attachment-focused therapies could well be necessary 40 years after trauma. Full article
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Article
How to Relax in Stressful Situations: A Smart Stress Reduction System
Healthcare 2020, 8(2), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare8020100 - 16 Apr 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2673
Abstract
Stress is an inescapable element of the modern age. Instances of untreated stress may lead to a reduction in the individual’s health, well-being and socio-economic situation. Stress management application development for wearable smart devices is a growing market. The use of wearable smart [...] Read more.
Stress is an inescapable element of the modern age. Instances of untreated stress may lead to a reduction in the individual’s health, well-being and socio-economic situation. Stress management application development for wearable smart devices is a growing market. The use of wearable smart devices and biofeedback for individualized real-life stress reduction interventions has received less attention. By using our unobtrusive automatic stress detection system for use with consumer-grade smart bands, we first detected stress levels. When a high stress level is detected, our system suggests the most appropriate relaxation method by analyzing the physical activity-based contextual information. In more restricted contexts, physical activity is lower and mobile relaxation methods might be more appropriate, whereas in free contexts traditional methods might be useful. We further compared traditional and mobile relaxation methods by using our stress level detection system during an eight day EU project training event involving 15 early stage researchers (mean age 28; gender 9 Male, 6 Female). Participants’ daily stress levels were monitored and a range of traditional and mobile stress management techniques was applied. On day eight, participants were exposed to a ‘stressful’ event by being required to give an oral presentation. Insights about the success of both traditional and mobile relaxation methods by using the physiological signals and collected self-reports were provided. Full article
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Review

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Review
The Pathways between Cortisol-Related Regulation Genes and PTSD Psychotherapy
Healthcare 2020, 8(4), 376; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare8040376 - 01 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1305
Abstract
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) only develops after exposure to a traumatic event in some individuals. PTSD can be chronic and debilitating, and is associated with co-morbidities such as depression, substance use, and cardiometabolic disorders. One of the most important pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the [...] Read more.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) only develops after exposure to a traumatic event in some individuals. PTSD can be chronic and debilitating, and is associated with co-morbidities such as depression, substance use, and cardiometabolic disorders. One of the most important pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the development of PTSD and its subsequent maintenance is a dysfunctional hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis. The corticotrophin-releasing hormone, cortisol, glucocorticoid receptor (GR), and their respective genes are some of the mediators of PTSD’s pathophysiology. Several treatments are available, including medication and psychotherapies, although their success rate is limited. Some pharmacological therapies based on the HPA axis are currently being tested in clinical trials and changes in HPA axis biomarkers have been found to occur in response not only to pharmacological treatments, but also to psychotherapy—including the epigenetic modification of the GR gene. Psychotherapies are considered to be the first line treatments for PTSD in some guidelines, even though they are effective for some, but not for all patients with PTSD. This review aims to address how knowledge of the HPA axis-related genetic makeup can inform and predict the outcomes of psychotherapeutic treatments. Full article
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