Anderson, C. A., & Arnoult, L. H. (1989).

An examination of perceived control, humor, irrational beliefs, and positive stress as moderators of the relation between negative stress and health.

Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 10, 101-117.


Coping humor, beliefs about personal control, irrational beliefs, and the occurrence of desirable events (positive stress) have been proposed as moderators of the effects of negative stress on psychological and physical health. The effects of these variables and of negative stressful life events on health were examined in a retrospective study of 159 college students. The results indicated that: (a) negative stress was directly related to both psychological and physical health as a main effect, but positive stress was not; (b) when statistical corrections designed to hold the overall Type 1 error rate at .05 were made, there were no significant negative stress by moderator interactions; (c) when less conservative statistical restrictions were used, four negative stress by moderator interactions approached significance; however, three of these were actually in the wrong direction, further suggesting (as in b) that these moderator effects were actually Type 1 errors; (d) coping humor, personal control, and irrational beliefs each yielded at least one significant main effect on health. The prevalence of Type 1 errors within studies and between studies as a function of publication and reporting biases is also discussed.

©1989 by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

For a pdf version of the article, click here.