Crisis versus chronic strain responses to adolescent stressors


Olson, Julie Skalamera (2016). Crisis versus chronic strain responses to adolescent stressors. 2016 Add Health Users Conference. Bethesda, MD.


Two competing models suggest that scientific understanding of the mental health risks posed to youth by stressful events might depend on the window of time in which these risks are assessed. The crisis model is characterized by an immediate mental health breakdown that is followed by recovery. The chronic strain model is characterized by enduring distress. Extant evidence suggests that mental health risks are often greatest in the immediate aftermath of a stressor experience, thereby supporting the crisis model. What needs to be explored, however, is the potentially great variability in this general pattern—particularly in terms of how the broader social contexts in which youth are embedded—shape mental health responses. The local resources that young people draw on from their families, peers, schools, and neighborhoods, may vary in important and systematic ways leading to differences in the protection from enduring mental health penalties following exposure to a stressor. In this spirit, the current study will use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health to test crisis versus chronic strain responses among young people. This overall goal will be accomplished by addressing three aims: 1) to identify how trajectories of mental health across the transition to adulthood vary by characteristic adolescent stressors; 2) to identify variability in young people’s mental health responses to stress via growth mixture modeling; and 3) to determine how variability in mental health response to stress may be influenced by their local contexts.


Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

2016 Add Health Users Conference


Olson, Julie Skalamera

Year Published


City of Publication

Bethesda, MD

Reference ID