Major life events, hassles, and adaptation in adolescence: confounding in the conceptualization and measurement of life stress and adjustment revisited.
Prior work has suggested that methodological and conceptual confounding may play a role in the associations obtained between stressful life events, social resources, and adaptive outcome. Of particular concern in our work were (a) the source and method of assessment; (b) conceptual overlap between life stress and resource items and symptoms of disorder; and (c) induced response bias through the instructional sets of the stress measures. A second goal was to extend our understanding of the life stress-adjustment linkage in groups for whom little data of this type exist. By using multi-trait-multimethod procedures we found that both distal major life events and proximal daily stressors had important degrees of unique and shared variance with adaptive functioning, whereas the effects for social support were inconclusive. Further, the importance of considering possible sources of potential confounding in producing quite different levels of association between life stress and adaptation was underscored by the results.