Life stress and adiposity in mothers: A 14-year follow-up in the general population

Sanne J.W. Hoepel, Isabel K. Schuurmans, Charlotte A.M. Cecil, Vincent W.V. Jaddoe, Annemarie I. Luik*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Exposure to specific stressors has been found to associate with higher adiposity in adulthood. However, the potential overlapping effects of stress domains have been overlooked, as well as the role of parenting-related stressors that mothers are widely exposed to in mid-adulthood. Therefore, we assessed the association of overlapping effects of stress domains, including parenting-related stress, with subsequent adiposity in mothers. In 3957 mothers from the population-based Generation R Study, life stress was assessed during the first 10 years of child-rearing and measured as a reflective latent variable of stress domains. Structural equation modelling was used to assess the association of life stress and its individual domains with body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference after 14 years of follow-up. Greater life stress over the course of 10 years was associated with a higher BMI (standardized adjusted difference: 0.57 kg/m2 [95% CI: 0.41–0.72]) and a larger waist circumference (1.15 cm [0.72–1.57]). When examining individual stress domains, we found that life events was independently associated with a higher BMI (0.16 kg/m2) and contextual stress was independently associated with a higher BMI (0.43 kg/m2) and larger waist circumference (1.04 cm). Parenting stress and interpersonal stress were not independently associated with adiposity at follow-up. The overlap of multiple domains of stress in mothers is associated with a higher risk of adiposity. This effect was stronger than for individual life stress domains, reiterating the need to consider overlapping effects of different life stress domains.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3290
JournalStress and Health
Issue number1
Early online date12 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Funding information
ZonMw; Ministerie van Volksgezondheid,
Welzijn en Sport; Nederlandse Organisatie
voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Stress and Health published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


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