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Review Article

Stress and Its Consequences from Prenatal Period to Older Ages

Nilay Pekel Uludağlı.

Human life includes numerous developmental changes starting from the mother’s womb to old ages. Both age related physical, cognitive, and emotional changes and social roles that are expected to be fulfilled at every age period require individual to adapt new conditions. Even if these new conditions are sometimes desirable, they lead individuals to feel stress. Although there are a large number of studies about stress in the relevant literature, they either approached stress pathologically or focused on specific age groups; how stress affects an individual across the life span was not addressed holistically. This review examined the important life events that are experienced respectively in the infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and older ages and the effects of these life events on the individuals’ health from the life span perspective. Accordingly, each individual’s conditions such as the amount of social support, living in a disadvantaged district, healthy life habits, and coping skills determine to what extent the individual experiences stress. The stress that the individual experiences with varying degrees in each age period may affect his/her physical and psychological health negatively. Although developmental stress is inevitable, having positive and supportive social relations helps coping with stress effectively.

Key words: Stress, life span development, health psychology

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