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Stress and Illness

Health behaviors and outcomes are directly related among the adults since undesirable demeanors result in adverse health conditions. Behaviors such as exercising and eating sensibly automatically lead to positive health outcomes such as lower risks of complications such as heart diseases and diabetes. On the contrary, according to Thomson (2015), the undesirable behavior such as smoking and excessive drinking naturally leads to detrimental health outcomes whereby the individual is susceptible to conditions such as high blood pressure, lung cancer, and liver disease. Moreover, according to Anderson (2014), the health behaviors and outcomes rarely develop when an individual is an adult but, instead, he or she are influenced by conditions that the person may have experienced during the development. This essay discusses how the family environment and psychological stress in development process may alter the health behaviors and outcomes of an individual in adulthood.

To begin with, the family is the basic social unit from which a child learns the art of social interaction ranging from the parent-child attachment to the communication with other siblings and peers (Olusegun, 2014). Furthermore, the parent-child interaction is very critical as it contributes significantly to the behaviors accepted by the child, which in the future may positively or negatively influence health status in the adulthood. Besides, the parenting styles adopted by the parents are different: some have positive impacts while others contribute negatively to molding the health behaviors of children. Further, the parenting styles range from authoritative, authoritarian, permissive to disengaged with each style having varying degrees of warmth, conflict and control strategies, which in turn have diverse outcomes on individual’s health behaviors and outcomes.


Concerning the authoritative style of parenting, interactions characterized by high warmth and positive control are experienced in comparison to the authoritarian style where communication is characterized by low warmth, high conflict, and unjustified punitive control attempts. Further, according to Anderson (2014), the permissive style exhibits high warmth with minimal control with the disengaged style being characterized with low warmth and minimal supervision of the child’s behaviors.

Besides, the authoritative style is the best, and children raised by authoritative parents become academically and socially competent, which in turn influences their behaviors. It is rare to find such children engaging in antisocial behaviors since they have learned the art of meaningful associations, hence they can alienate themselves from negative peer influences that may be involved in activities such as drug use, irresponsible sex behaviors, and crime among others. As a result, such children experience favorable health outcomes in the adulthood since chances of them developing life-threatening illnesses such as HIV/AIDs are minimized (Bennett, Arnold, Hatton, & Lagopoulos, 2016). Moreover, they are likely to be more informed in their childhood on the healthy eating habits such as reduced cholesterol. Therefore, they could also be less affected by conditions such as blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity to mention a few.

On the contrary, authoritarian, permissive and disengaged styles of raising children are characterized by elevated rates of conflict, low warmth and low control, which in turn result in high levels of delinquent and antisocial behaviors among the children (Blaze, Asok, & Roth, 2015). Furthermore, the more extreme the family environment is, the worse the adults’ health behavior and outcomes appear. In relation to that, children from hostile environments are more prone to health issues such as depression, anxiety and social withdrawal in their adulthood.

Further, the economic status of the family also influences the health behaviors and outcomes of the children in their adulthood. According to Blaze et.al (2015), children from socio-economically disadvantaged families begin their early childhood from a poorer health platform in comparison to their counterparts from the financially stable families. As a result, they are more susceptible to certain illnesses such as asthma in their adulthood while those from stable families are in a position to access immunization, hence the last are less prone to adverse health outcomes.

To present controversy, Olusegun (2014) states that the health behaviors and outcomes are majorly influenced by the genetic inheritance in the family line whereby some people are more inclined to some diseases and unhealthy demeanors such as smoking. The author further claims that adverse influences of the family environment are easily corrected as an individual matures by use of health promotions. Thus, such an impact is not attributable to the adulthood health behaviors and outcomes.

In opposition, Anderson (2014) states that majority of the health behaviors and outcomes are influenced by external factors such as the quality of air, water, and housing condition. The author notes that the continued use of low-quality resources makes the body adapting to the poor conditions in the process of development, which is a factor that influences the health outcomes in the adulthood. For example, such individuals are more prone to diseases such as asthma and pneumonia.

Further, psychological stress during development also alters the health behaviors and outcomes of individuals in adulthood. This is because stressors have significant influences on the moods and the sense of well-being of an individual hence controlling the actions of a person.

 Moreover, the nature and the persistence of the stressors whether in childhood or adulthood are likely to  affect the health of the person negatively, namely causing chronic diseases.

According to Thomson (2015), the most widely known stressors of children and adolescents include the exposure to violence, the abuse of various forms, for example, sexual, physical, or emotional, neglect, and divorce/marital conflict. Besides, in the modern world, the family unit is facing significant challenges with increased breakage of families, a factor that highly exposes the children to psychological stresses (Anderson, 2014). Children who are experiencing stress are likely to portray provocative behaviors with increased rebellion, which is the element that continues even in their adulthood. Such survivors face great difficulties in their adult life, especially in their social interactions, since majorities of them suffer from an inferiority complex, which under severe circumstances may develop into personality disorders.

 In an attempt to confront the adult challenges, the individuals mostly resort to alcoholic behaviors and smoking, which eventually lead to adverse health outcomes.

According to Anderson (2014), the children from divorced families exhibit various anti-social behaviors, particularly anxiety and lack of confidence, in comparison to their peers from stable households. Further, where counseling and support are not offered, the adult offspring of divorced parents experience significant challenges such as family conflicts, which may lead to depression hence influencing the individuals’ health negatively.

In addition, according to Bennett et. al (2016), the exposure to war and terrorism-related activities during childhood leads to high psychological stress of children and adolescents. Further, the mental torture may result in the individuals adopting violent behaviors as well as developing diseases such as post-traumatic stress disorder influencing their health negatively.

On the contrary, Thomson (2012) states that psychological damage in the development process is irreparable hence having significant effects in adulthood. According to the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health (2016), with the massive innovations in technology, the affected individuals can receive pieces of training and counseling that mitigates the effects of the psychological stress on their health behaviors and outcomes in adulthood.

In conclusion, the family environment and psychological stress during development have significant effects on the individuals’ health behaviors and outcomes. Therefore, parents and guardians should try hard to raise children in the most appropriate social surrounding. Moreover, conflicts should be reduced in the upbringing process since it results in violent and unruly behaviors, which eventually lead to unfavorable health outcomes such as depression, heart attacks, and lung cancer among other chronic diseases. On the contrary, the genetic inheritance and the exposure to adverse external factors such as poor housing conditions and low-quality air highly influence the health behaviors and outcomes. Further, psychological stress in the development process may be caused by factors such as physical and sexual abuse. Besides, the exposure to terrorism activities and poverty may lead to adverse health outcomes such as depression. However, with the development of technology where counseling is widely available, the negative behaviors exhibited in the development process such as withdrawal are easily corrected, thus having no major influences on health behaviors in adulthood.