Life history strategy and stress: An effect of stressful life events, coping strategies, or both?
Personality and Individual Differences , Volume 135 p. 277- 285
Life history (LH) theory provides an evolutionary account of individual differences in various traits, including wellbeing. The theory distinguishes between a fast LH strategy, indicated by a short-term perspective (e.g., impulsivity), versus a slow LH strategy, indicated by a long-term perspective (e.g., more constraint behavior). Previous studies have reported an association between a fast LH strategy and more stress, but much of the mediating mechanisms are still unknown. Accordingly, we present three studies testing 1) whether LH strategy is directly associated with the number of disruptive life events and coping strategies, and 2) whether life events and coping mediate the LH-strategy-stress relationship. The results of the three studies converged: Faster LH strategists reported more disrupted life events, showed a less effective coping pattern, and life events and coping both partially mediated the LH strategy-stress association. These results point to several factors that can explain why LH strategy relates to stress.