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Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Stress and the Unknown Stressor

We all try and avoid stress if we can. But sometimes Stress is unavoidable, especially if the stress is just the waiting.

Researchers recently found that not knowing your diagnosis is a very serious stressor - and can be worse (in terms of stress) than knowing you have a serious illness!

In this study 214 women scheduled to undergo different diagnostic and treatment procedures ahd their stress levels checked. About half were awaiting breast biopsy to check a suspicious lump in their chest, whilst the others were undergoing treatment for cancer or uterine myoma or benign fibroids.

Breast biopsy patients reported significantly higher levels of anxiety/stress, compared to the group undergoing treatment.

The researcher running the study, Dr Lang, said: "These results really drive the point home that the distress of not knowing your diagnosis is serious." It seems that the emotional and psychological effect is far worse when you don't know what the problem is, compared to knowing about a serious illness under treatment.

Similar results were found in a 2008 study by Jacob Hirsh and Michael Inzlicht. They found that, with neurotic individuals, participants experienced immediate and uncomfortable response to uncertainty, even more so than when they are faced with clear negative information.

“Uncertainty can be very stressful,” said Hirsh.

So enough of umm-ing and ahh-ing, whoever you are! People need to know one way or another, because to not know is just stressful!

Article 1

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