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The Stress Paradox: Coping with trauma can strengthen us over time

Professor Carolyn Aldwin, has interviewed thousands of people across the United States, many of them combat veterans, for longitudinal studies of aging. Her findings have shaken up conventional notions about stress and trauma across the lifespan.

She is the author of Stress, Coping and Development: An Integrative Perspective. Carolyn’s research was recently featured in terra OSU’s research magazine.

According to Carolyn, “Stress is fairly constant across the lifespan, but what changes as we age is the way we view our troubles and the way we deal with them.” In her research over the past several decades, she has worked with colleagues to challenge traditional beliefs about stress and trauma, questioning how adults can find the silver lining in even the most wrenching life events and why old people are reporting fewer stressors than younger people. She studies the interplay between physical and mental health investigating ways in which personality and coping moderate the effects of stress on health, especially in older adults.

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