Effects of daily stress on negative mood

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1989 Nov;57(5):808-18. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.57.5.808.


This article examines the influence of daily stressors on mental health in a community sample. Ss were 166 married couples who completed diaries each day for 6 weeks. In pooled within-person analyses, daily stressors explained up to 20% of the variance in mood. Interpersonal conflicts were by far the most distressing events. Furthermore, when stressors occurred on a series of days, emotional habituation occurred by the second day for almost all events except interpersonal conflicts. Contrary to certain theoretical accounts, multiple stressors on the same day did not exacerbate one another's effects: rather an emotional plateau occurred. Finally on days following a stressful event, mood was better than it would have been if the stressor had not happened. These results reveal the complex emotional effects of daily stressors, and in particular they suggest that future investigations should focus primarily on interpersonal conflicts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Marriage
  • Models, Statistical
  • Sex Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Time Factors