Life Course Socioeconomic Status, Daily Stressors, and Daily Well-Being: Examining Chain of Risk Models

Agus Surachman, Britney Wardecker, Sy Miin Chow, David Almeida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Objectives This article models the chain of risk that links life course socioeconomic status (SES), daily stressor exposure and severity, and daily well-being. Method Data from the main survey and the daily diary project of the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) Refresher study were combined, resulting in 782 participants (55.6% female; age 25-74, M age = 47.9) who reported on 5,849 days of information on daily stressors and daily well-being. Data were measured at both person and day levels. Between-person predictor variables include childhood SES, education, and adult SES. Within-person daily variables assessed exposure to daily stressors, severity of daily stressors, positive affect, negative affect, and daily physical symptoms. We contrasted hypothesized models, the chain of risk trigger effect model versus the additive model within a multilevel structural equation modeling framework. Results The influences of life course SES and daily stressor exposure and severity on daily well-being were better described by the chain of risk additive model than the chain of risk trigger effect model. Childhood SES was directly and indirectly (through education, adult SES, and daily stressor exposure and severity) associated with daily well-being (in between-person level), especially daily physical symptoms and daily negative affect. Discussion Childhood may be a sensitive period that has salient implications for day-to-day well-being later in life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-135
Number of pages10
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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