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physical, emotional, cognitive and behavioral responses to events that are appraised as threatening or challenging


stress causing events


occurs when people experience unpleasant stressors


the optimal amount of stress that people need to promote health and well-being

acute stress disorder (ASD)

symptoms include anxiety, recurring nightmares, sleep disturbances, problems in concentration, relive event in dream or flashback for as long as one month

post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

when symptoms associated with ASD last for more than one month

Social Readjustment Rating scale (SRRS)

Holmes and Rahe created; a way for people to measure the amount of stress in a person's life by having that person add up the total "life change units" associated with each major event


daily annoyances


occurs when people are blocked or prevented from achieving a desired goal or fulfilling a perceived need

external frustrations

losses, rejections, failures, delays

internal frustrations (personal frustrations)

goal cannot be obtained because of internal or personal characteristics


the continuation of efforts to get around whatever is causing the frustration

frustration-aggression hypothesis

frustration creates an internal readiness to aggress but that aggressionwill not follow unless certain external cues are also present (Berkowitz)

displaced aggression

taking out one's aggression on less threatening, more available targets

approach-approach conflict

person experiences desire for two goals, each of which is attractive; choosing between two good things

avoidance-avoidance conflict

choice is between tow or more goals or events that are unpleasant

approach-avoidance conflict

choice between one goal or event, which has both positive and negative aspects that make the goal appealing and unappealing (i.e. getting married)

double approach-avoidance conflict

choice is between two goals that have both positive and negative elements (i.e buying a house in country or city)

multiple approach-avoidance conflicts

more than two goals to options to consider, making the decision even more difficult and stressful (i.e. college students deciding on a career)

general adaptation syndrome (GAS)

the sequence of psychological reactions that the body goes through when adapting to a stressor; founded by Hans Selye; alarm, resistance, exhaustion


body first reacts to stressor, sympathetic nervous system is activated, hormones released


stress continues;body settles into sympathetic division activity, stage will continue until stressor ends or the organism has used up all its resources


when body's resources are gone, leads to stress related diseases or the death of the organism if outside help is unavailable


concerns the study of the effects of psychological factors such as stress, emotions, thinking, and behavior on the immune system

natural killer cell

main function is the suppression of viruses and the destruction of tumor cells

Richard Lazarus

developed the cognitive-medical theory of emotions

cognitive-medical theory of emotions

the way people think about and appraise a stressor is a major factor in how stressful that particular stressor becomes

primary appraisal

involves estimating the severity of the stressor and classifying it as a threat, challenge, or a harm or loss that has already occurred

secondary appraisal

people who have identified a threat or harmful effect must estimate the resources that they have available for coping with the stressor

type A people

workaholics, competitive, ambitious, hate to waste time, find it difficult to relax; greater risk of heart disease

type B people

less competitive, easy going, relaxed, at peace; less risk of heart disease

type C people

pleasant, try to keep the peace, find it difficult to express emotions, internalize anger; characteristics strongly associated with cancer

Martin Seligman

social learning psychologist, developed the concept of learned helplessness, began positive psychological movement

downward social comparison

making one's self feel better by comparing it to someone with a less competent performance (optimists use)

alternative thinking

come up with alternative explanations for why bad things happened (optimists use)

hardy personality

coined by Suzanne Kobasa; type a people that thrive on stress, they are deeply committed, feel of being in control of life, interpret events as challenges

acculturative stress

stress resulting from the need to change and adapt to the dominant or majority culture


individual tries to maintain a sense of the original cultural identity while also trying to for a positive relationship with members of the dominant culture; low stress


minority person gives up the old cultural identity and completely adopts the majority culture's ways; moderate stress


minority person rejects the majority culture's ways and tries to maintain the original cultural identity; fairly high stress


neither maintaining contact with the original culture nor joining the majority group

problem-focused coping

when people try to eliminate the source of a stress or reduce its impact through their own actions (i.e. can't understand a prof, ask a fellow student to clarify)

emotion-focused coping

changing the way a person feels or emotionally reacts to a stressor (share frustrations w/friend)

psychological defense mechanisms

unconscious distortions of the perception of reality; Anna Freud

concentrative meditation

goal is to focus the mind on some repetitive or unchanging stimulus

receptive meditation

trying to expand consciousness outward

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