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The Influence Of Stress And Body Mass On Psychological Health Of Ageing People In Imo State




This study investigated the influence of Stress and Body Mass on Psychological Health of Ageing People in Imo State. Two hypotheses were postulated and tested. One hundred and eighty three (183) participants were selected through convenience sampling technique, from Ojiama-Okwellw in Onuimo Local Government of Imo State. They comprised of One hundred  and four (104) males and seventy nine (79) females with age ranged from 50-67 years and a mean age of 43.16 years. The participants were administered with psychophysiological symptom checklist (PSC) developed by Omoluabi, (1987). Psychach Scale (PAS) developed by Holden et al. (2001). Cross section survey design was adopted. Multiple regression statistics was used to analyse data. Result revealed that stress and body mass had no significant influence on psychological health of ageing people in Imo state. Recommendations and suggestions were made based on the implications of the findings.



Background to the study

The problem of psychological health is important with respect to how we function and adapt and with respect to whether our lives are satisfying and productive. Indeed, throughout the world, psychological health and wellbeing basically has to do with question: how are you? Or how is your mood?

Because of the constraints of the environment sturctues, psychological health, psychologists have found that it actually involves two separate issues. There is an upside and downside, both of which needs to be considered.

The upside involves two factors; your mood either positive or negative and your relationship “positive emotional ties” it entails if you are happy and if you do have a friend? In addition to feelings of emotional satisfaction, a positive mood also depends whether you generally feel calm and peaceful.

On the  downside, emotional wellbeing involves three factors; do you suffer anxiety? Are you depressed? And do you feel like you have lost control and can’t do anything about your feelings. This is the experience of psychological distress. Although there are two parts of the equation for general purposes, it can usually  be said that distress and happiness are two sides of a coin, usually, people are either happy or sad, and if their mood is not good they are often distressed to some extent.

It is also important to know that psychological health is an issue is different  from mental or emotional disorder.

Psychological health concerns itself with how we cope, how you are doing in response and whether you find life to be interesting  and enjoyable. Although life is better when there will be up’s and down’s.

Psychological health involves a normal emotional, behavioural, and social maturity to the every dayexistence of individuals.

According to Diener and Seligman (2002), there are so many reasons why one has to take his psychological health more important than just living a normal life. He went further to say that every individual who is been loved or hated will eventually develop a positive or negative impression about themselves. Therefore, he explained that psychological health refers to how individuals of different classes, social status and personality passive their emotional and physical state to be in accordance with how they want their lives to be and the level they want to attain in life.

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More so, he said  there are some factors  which influences psychological health of an individual , these are self-esteem, feeling loved, confidence, family break up or loss, physical ill health etc.

Self-esteem is said to be the value we place on ourselves, our positive self-image and sense of self-worth. People  with high  self-esteem generally have positive out look and are satisfied with themselves most of the time.

Secondly, feeling loved can also influence psychological health as children who feel loved, trusted and accepted by their parents and others are far more likely to have good esteem.

They are also more likely to feel comfortable, safe, secure and are better able to communicate and develop positive relationships with others, this leads to positive psychological health.

Confidence can be seen as another factor  that influence  psychological health as  youth should be encourage to discover their own  unique qualities and have the zeal to face challenges and take risk. Young people who are brought

up to have confidence in themselves are more likely to have a positive attitude and to live a happy and productive life.

In addition to this, family break up or loss can influence psychological health. Separation or divorce or the loss of a parent or sibling is extremely painful as finding ways to cope and to adjust to the changes wrought by these events criticalforevery one but particularly for ageing people, how grief is handled can affect them negatively.

Lastly, physical ill health such as diseases, injuries and other physical problems contribute to poor psychological health. Some physical causes such as birth, trauma, brain injuries or drug abuse can directly affect brown chemistry and contribute to mental illness. More commonly, poor physical health can affect self esteem and people’s ability to meet their goals, which lead to depression or unhappiness and may affect psychological health of an individual.

It is further said to be the inability of our body to respond  to any present demand at a particular period of time.
Another variable of interest  is stress. Stress is generally said to be a feeling that people tend to have when they are overloaded and struggling to come out of it.

In small doses, stressors can help give us increased energy and alertness even help to keep us focused on the  problem at hand. This type of stress is good, people may refer to the experience of this type of stress as feeling “PUMPED” or “WIRED”.  As the  level of  pressure  gets too great, stress eventually surpass our ability to cope with it in a positive way. Often, people describe themselves as being stressed out, burned out or at whit end. At this point, it is important to find positive and productive ways to deal with the stress and more importantly to address the person or situation that is causing the stress.

The best treatment for stress is to prevent getting into situations that are likely to overwhelm your ability to cope with situations at hand. This is not always possible as the stressor’s  may often come from outside source that are beyond  your control, it is important to distinguish between our  response to usual stressor and other conditions that can feel like stress, such as panic disorders, anxiety disorder or depression.

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In other words, stress can be caused by any type of physical or emotional stimulus or situation. Often,  people speak of different types of stress such as relationship stress, parenting stress. Some kind of stress may be related to specific stages of life such as ageing, pregnancy, the teen years, or the menopausal transition. Children can also be affected by stress.

The body reacts to these  changes with physical, mental and emotional responses, the body’s autonomic nervous system has built in stress response that causes physiological changes to allow the body to combat stressful situations , prolonged activation of the stress response causes

There are some factors which possibly affect uncontrolled stress, these are

  • Social and financial problems
  • Physical or mental illness
  • Lack of social support network
  • Family history of stress or family disorder

According to Longston (1994). There are four major types of stress which includes; Survival stress, internal stress, environment stress and fatigue and over worked stress

  • Survival stress is a common response to danger in all people and animals. When being afraid of someone or something hurting you, your body naturally responds with a burst of energy so that you will be better and able to survive the dangerous situation or escape it all together
  • Internal stress entails worrying so much especially of something you can’t really do little or no reason about for no reason at all. This is internal stress and it is one of the most important kind of stress to understand and manage
  • Environmental stress simply means response to things around us that can cause stress for example; noise, crowd and much pressure from work  place or family. The awareness of the stress can go a long way  in helping to control or manage the stress level
  • Fatigue and over labour stress is a kind of stress that builds up over a longtime and can take time out for relaxation at work.

Stress affect every make up of human which renders them unable to concentrate or think clearly, some times they may suffer a mental breakdown which will affect their psychological health negatively

Another variable that may influence psychological health is body mass index (BMI) when determining whether a patient underweight, healthy weight, overweight or clinically obese.

The body mass index or queletet index is measured of relative size based on the mass and height of an individual. The index was developed or devised by AdolphQueletet  during the causes of developing what he called “social physics” 1830-1850.

Body mass index for a person is defined as their body mass divided by the square of their weight with the value universally being given in units of kg/mR.

There are a wide variety of contents, where the BMI of an individual can be used as a simple method to assess how much the recorded body weight departs from what is healthy  or desirable for a person of that weight to squared heightowes its popularity to a paper published in July 1972 edition of the journal of chronic disease of Ancel keys.The body mass of an individual may also be determined using a chart which displays BMI as a function of mass & weight using contour lines or colons for different BMI categories and may use two different units of measurement.

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This found BMI to be the best proxy for body fat percentage among ratios of weight and height. BMI provides a simple number, allowing health professionals to discuss weight problem more objectively with their patients.

When an individual is overweight or clinically obese, people tends to evaluate them negatively which affects their self-worth negatively and lowers their self-esteem. Clinically, obesity goes with sickness like diabetes, high blood pressure etc. when this happens, the individual’s psychological health may be affected negatively.


Therefore, this research want to look at some of the effects of stress and body mass as predictors of psychological health of ageing people.Over the years, stress and body mass are  predictors of psychological health particularly among ageing people was a thing known to the western countries as a result of excessive consumption of chemicals foods. But in recent times, there is a high record of such act amongst our aged ones or ageing parents in our Nigerian society especially among rural dwellers where the agencies responsible for healthy life style is situated only in the urban areas. Most ageing people today in the society are faced with a lot of ailment, which makes old age burdensome and accompanied with pain. Some of this are associated problems of psychological health of ageing people, such as, Arthritis, diabetes, eye problem, waist pain, high blood pressure, hypertitis etc.


The researcher wants to use this study to proffer solutions on how aged people could bettertheir life’s and to investigate if:

  • Specifically, could stress predicts psychological health of ageing people
  • Specifically, could body mass predict psychological health of ageing people
  • Specifically, the research or intends to investigate the impact of stress and body on the psychological well being of the ageing ones


Stress can be defined as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. This will be measured with a psychological symptom check list (PSC) developed by Omoluabi (1987).Psychological health simply refers to the absence of psychiatric symptoms such as depression, fear, anxiety and worry in any individual’s life. This will be assessed with a Psycheche scale developed by Holden, Mehta, Cunningham and Meleod, (2001).

Body mass can be defined as a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women. This will be measured using meters for height and kilogram for weight. Body mass index will be gotten by dividing the individual’s weight in kilogram by their height in meters squared.

Pages:  53

Category: Project

Format:  Word & PDF        

Chapters: 1-5

Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References.


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