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A new buffering theory of social support and psychological stress

Bekiros, Stelios, Jahanshahi, Hadi and Munoz-Pacheco, Jesus M. (2022) A new buffering theory of social support and psychological stress. PLOS ONE, 17 (10). ISSN 1932-6203

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Identification Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0275364


A dynamical model linking stress, social support, and health has been recently proposed and numerically analyzed from a classical point of view of integer-order calculus. Although interesting observations have been obtained in this way, the present work conducts a fractional-order analysis of that model. Under a periodic forcing of an environmental stress variable, the perceived stress has been analyzed through bifurcation diagrams and two well-known metrics of entropy and complexity, such as spectral entropy and C0 complexity. The results obtained by numerical simulations have shown novel insights into how stress evolves with frequency and amplitude of the perturbation, as well as with initial conditions for the system variables. More precisely, it has been observed that stress can alternate between chaos, periodic oscillations, and stable behaviors as the fractional order varies. Moreover, the perturbation frequency has revealed a narrow interval for the chaotic oscillations, while its amplitude may present different values indicating a low sensitivity regarding chaos generation. Also, the perceived stress has been noted to be highly sensitive to initial conditions for the symptoms of stress-related ill-health and for the social support received from family and friends. This work opens new directions of research whereby fractional calculus might offer more insight into psychology, life sciences, mental disorders, and stress-free well-being.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2022 14:33
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2024 04:27

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