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December 15, 1999

Chronic Stress and Mortality Among Older Adults

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Psychiatry and the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, Ohio State University College of Medicine (Dr Kiecolt-Glaser), Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology, and Medical Genetics, the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research and the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ohio State University College of Medicine (Dr R. Glaser).

JAMA. 1999;282(23):2259-2260. doi:10.1001/jama.282.23.2259

A growing body of evidence has implicated caregiving as a risk factor for health. Extending this research, the article by Schulz and Beach1 in this issue of THE JOURNAL is the first study to demonstrate that caregiving is a risk factor for mortality, and thus it makes an important contribution to the broader literature on chronic stress. The caregivers in their cohort were part of a large population-based study of the elderly drawn from a random, stratified sample; additional laudable strengths include the fact that the mortality data controlled for baseline health status and the careful determination of mortality status for 100% of the sample.