Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Christopher Marshburn

Second Advisor

Lauren Whitehurst


Stress is a complex and multifaceted process which is often not perceived as such. Therefore, given the unidimensional conceptualization of stress in previous research the current understanding of the associations between stress and memory are not well understood. This study investigates the association between stress and memory by capturing the complexity of stress through discrete and contextual stress factors. The current study used ecological momentary assessment (EMA) and geocoded indices (i.e., zip codes) of population density (i.e., urbanicity) and deprivation (socioeconomic disadvantage) in a large and diverse sample of U.S. participants (N = 8817) to examine the relationship between markers of daily stress (i.e., detection and intensity) and contextual factors (i.e., urbanicity and deprivation) on a well-established assessment of memory recall. Analyses examined models of cumulative stress reports and event-based stress reports. Results revealed significant main effects and interactions between our discrete and contextual stress factors highlighting that both factors contribute to the relationship between stress and memory. Additionally, examining the cumulative impact of stress across several days on a single memory test revealed to be more effective in assessing the impact of stress on memory compared to examining stress occurring at the same instance of test. Overall, this study provided new evidence in the way stress impacts memory thus suggesting the importance of examining cumulative stress over time and examining contextual factors of stress.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)