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Multidomain engagement and self-reported psychosomatic symptoms in middle-aged women and men


Freund, Alexandra M; Knecht, Michaela; Wiese, Bettina S (2014). Multidomain engagement and self-reported psychosomatic symptoms in middle-aged women and men. Gerontology, 60(3):255-262.

Abstract

Background: Multimorbidity can be operationalized as the presence of multiple psychosomatic symptoms and has been shown to be detrimental to the quality of life across the life span. Middle-aged adults are generally engaged in multiple life domains simultaneously. This is one of the developmental challenges of middle adulthood as it can lead to conflict between the demands of different domains and, in turn, contribute to multiple psychosomatic symptoms, thereby diminishing the quality of life. This may be particularly true for women. Facilitation between life domains may serve to reduce the number of psychosomatic symptoms. However, this subject has been largely neglected in the literature. Objective: We aimed to close this gap by investigating the influence of conflict and facilitation between life domains (work, family, leisure) on self-reported psychosomatic symptoms in middle-aged women and men. Methods: Life domain conflict/facilitation and psychosomatic symptoms were assessed via self-report in a cross-sectional study with 277 adults aged 30-55 years (mean = 41.70, SD = 7.2; 56.7% women) who all worked at least 30 h/week and lived with their partner or family. Results: In line with our hypothesis, women reported more psychosomatic symptoms when they experienced conflict between life domains. However, contrary to expectation, they did not profit more from facilitation than men and, at low levels of facilitation, women even reported more psychosomatic symptoms than men. In men, there was no association between life domain conflict/facilitation and psychosomatic symptoms. The results were robust when statistically controlling for neuroticism. Conclusions: Engagement in multiple life domains influences the frequency of psychosomatic symptoms in women, but not in men: women suffer more and profit less than men from combining work, family and leisure.

Abstract

Background: Multimorbidity can be operationalized as the presence of multiple psychosomatic symptoms and has been shown to be detrimental to the quality of life across the life span. Middle-aged adults are generally engaged in multiple life domains simultaneously. This is one of the developmental challenges of middle adulthood as it can lead to conflict between the demands of different domains and, in turn, contribute to multiple psychosomatic symptoms, thereby diminishing the quality of life. This may be particularly true for women. Facilitation between life domains may serve to reduce the number of psychosomatic symptoms. However, this subject has been largely neglected in the literature. Objective: We aimed to close this gap by investigating the influence of conflict and facilitation between life domains (work, family, leisure) on self-reported psychosomatic symptoms in middle-aged women and men. Methods: Life domain conflict/facilitation and psychosomatic symptoms were assessed via self-report in a cross-sectional study with 277 adults aged 30-55 years (mean = 41.70, SD = 7.2; 56.7% women) who all worked at least 30 h/week and lived with their partner or family. Results: In line with our hypothesis, women reported more psychosomatic symptoms when they experienced conflict between life domains. However, contrary to expectation, they did not profit more from facilitation than men and, at low levels of facilitation, women even reported more psychosomatic symptoms than men. In men, there was no association between life domain conflict/facilitation and psychosomatic symptoms. The results were robust when statistically controlling for neuroticism. Conclusions: Engagement in multiple life domains influences the frequency of psychosomatic symptoms in women, but not in men: women suffer more and profit less than men from combining work, family and leisure.

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8 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
08 University Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:23 Jul 2014 09:03
Last Modified:03 Jun 2016 10:20
Publisher:Karger
ISSN:0304-324X
Additional Information:© 2015 S. Karger AG
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1159/000358756
PubMed ID:24603051

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