Upgrade to remove ads
Intro to Psych 14 Stress, Coping, and Health
Terms in this set (49)
A state brought on by any situation that threatens or appears to threaten a person's sense of well-being, thus challenging the individual's ability to cope. Can be triggered by real stressor, or by perceived stressors, such as someone looking at you oddly.
- Our ability to cope with a stressful situation helps to determine how stressed we get
- Coping mechanism
- Stress is actually more derived from how we appraise the situation
Stressor, Acute and Chronic
A situation or circumstance that triggers the stress response.
- Acute: A stressful situation or circumstance that happens in the short term and has a definite endpoint. Ex. Studying for finals, competing in a football game.
- Chronic: A stressful situation or circumstance that is more long term and often lacks a definite endpoint.
Ex. Poverty, high pressure job.
** Our appraisal and perception of a situation triggers the emotional state connected to stress
Ways of Experiencing Stress
People who experience stress are feeling threatened or challenged. These can come in different forms:
- Feeling frustrated: An emotion experienced when something prevents us from reaching a goal. Can be acute or chronic
- Feeling pressure: An expectation or demand that one should act in a certain way. Can be self-imposed.
- Feeling conflict: Discomfort due to two or more incompatible goals or impulses.
- Feeling endangered: Life-threatening situations produce stress
Three Basic Types of Conflict
Approach-Approach: Occurs when a person much choose between two equally desirable options
Avoidance-Avoidance: Occurs when a person must choose between two equally desirable options.
- If you deal with this kind of conflict by procrastinating, you are likely to experience stress
Approach-Avoidance: Conflict that occurs when any available choice has both desirable and undesirable qualities, making us indecisive, can be the most agonizing decisions, worry for some time and experience considerable stress along the way.
Kinds of Stressors
- Can be discrete life events or chronic stressors
- Daily hassles, traumatic events, life change, chronic negative situations, special socio-cultural conditions.
Small, everyday problems/ annoyances that accumulate to become a source of stress. Micro-stressors
- Bad or rude drivers
- Cannot find keys or phone
The accumulation of daily stressors often leads to increased health risks - often a greater impact on health than major life events.
May impair our immune system response
Altered circumstances requiring adjustment.
- Marriage, death, illness, finals, break up, starting university or a new school
Social Readjustments Rating Scale
Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe set out to develop a way of systematically measure how much stress people experience. (positive and negative)
- Compiled a list of 43 events that were likely to change a persons life
- Assigns life change units (LCUs) to various events that can occur in one's life. Ex. Death of spouse = 100, Vacation = 13
- The person's compiled score indicated how much stress they were under. Under 150, mild: 150-199, moderate: 200-299, major life stress: over 300
Shortcomings of SRRS
- May not give a complete picture because it has more negative than positive and leaves some things out.
- Doesn't apply equally to all populations: Mostly caucasion americans. Different races view stressors differently.
- Men and women view stressors differently
Unexpected disruptive events.
- Natural disaster, witness or victim to violence
- Profound and lost lasting impacts
- Can be short or long term.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
An anxiety disorder caused by a major traumatic event, characterized by lingering and persistent, frightening thoughts or memories of the event, along with anxiety and depression.
Chronic Negative Situations
Continued negative situation. Living in a dangerous place, poverty, challenges associated with being part of a minority group.
- Chronic Illness: The imposition of pain and limitations due to illness, can affect the caregivers substantially as well
Chronic Job Stress
Certain jobs produce chronic stress. Individuals who are first responders with life-threatening medical problems.
- Facing prejudice
- Minority groups trying to navigate through dominant cultures.
- The suspicions, confusion, and resulting vigilance experienced by minority group members as they interact with majority-group members, often referred to as a stereotype threat, is a very real stressor for minority-group members, but is often invisible to those in the majority
Physiological Response to Stress: Pathway 1 (SNS)
The brain excited nerves in the sympathetic nervous system. Sympathetic arousal stimulated the glands and organs of the body to prepare us for a state of emergency, either directly or by activating the adrenal medulla
The Sympathetic Nervous System --> Stimulates heart and other body organs --> Activates adrenal medulla (central part of the adrenal glands) --> releases norepinephrine and epinephrine --> rise in heart rate, bp, repiration, muscle tension; decrease in digestion; blood vessel constriction --> Rise in energy
Physiological Response to Stress: Pathway 2 (HPA Axis)
The brain's hypothalamus stimulates the pituitary gland to release ACTH, which in turn stimulates the adrenal cortex to release the stress hormone cortisol. The hormone activates various organs to help the body respond to the threat.
Hypothalamus --> Stimulates pituitary gland --> Releases ACTH --> stimulates adrenal cortex (outer part of adrenal gland) --> Releases cortisol (stress hormone) --> Increases blood sugar, metabolism --> Rise in Energy
Slower than SNS - takes minutes rather than seconds to have influence
The Fight-or-Flight Response
- Cannon was the first theorist to connect the bodily arousal associated with emotional response to need the fight-or-flee.
- Response is a series of physiological reactions throughout the sympathetic nervous system that mobilize an organism to either fight or flee an enemy.
- Normally the biological changes associate with this response subside around 15 minutes after the threatening situation eases.
Traels to a range of body organs, where, among other activities, it helps elevate blood sugar, supply energy to the organism under stress, and protect the body from inflammation.
If cortisol activity remains high for too long it can then become harmful, contributing in some cases to high blood pressure, inflammation, anxiety, and depression, among other problems
A Laugh a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
- Participants who laughed at the film showed decreases in stress and improvements in their immune system activity.
- Laughter may increase blood flow, thereby reducing blood pressure
- 100 laughs can provide an aerobic workout equal to 15 minutes on an exercise bike
- Humour results in greater social support, thereby aiding health, and that humour may help heal by bringing don a person's stress level
The Tend-and-Befriend Response
Females are more likely to have extensive and well-maintained social networks that are males and take support from social connections and friendships when coping with stressful events.
- Cope with stressful events by socializing with others
(The fight-or-flight response was thought to be associated with males)
The General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS)- ON EXAM!!!
- Hans Seyle: Exposed animals to different stressors and found that they responded with the same pattern he labelled as stress.
Three Stage Response:
1. Alarm: Body's reaction to initial exposure to stressor. Body becomes aroused physically as it prepares to face the challenge.
2. Resistance: Body's attempt to stabilize if stressor continues. May result in vulnerability to disease. Arousal is still elevated, yet slightly lower than during initial alarm phase. If new stressors are introduced, the body is less able to deal with it.
3. Exhaustion: Further exposure to stressor depleted energy and resistance. If the organism is exposed to the stressor for still longer periods of time, its resistance gradually gives way. Pg. 556.
Resistance to Seyle's Theory
- Question that the response is the same no matter what
- He only used physical stressors
- Precursors of stress are much more specific
Emotional Responses to Stress
- In addition to bodily arousal, stress triggers emotions and changes mood
- The greater amount of stress, the more negative the emotions associated with stress
- People living under severe stress are anxious, depressed, and otherwise upset.
- As stressors subside, mood becomes more positive
Cognitive Response to Stress
- Appraisal is key in ability to handle stressful situations
- Emotion is aroused by a combination of two elements - an environmental event and personal factors.
- Two steps in how we experience stress:
1. Primary Appraisal: Appraisal of stressor to determine how severe it is. A threat or a challenge
2. Secondary Appraisal: Appraisal of resources and one's ability to deal with stressor. Feeling like we have the resources can decrease the threat level.
Bad Response to Stressful Event
Wildfire destroys home
- Primary Appraisal: Unthinkable loss and overwhelming challenge
- Secondary Appraisal: We'll never be able to rebuild
- Response: High Stress
Good Response to Stressful Event
Wildfire destroys home
Primary Apprasial: Challenge
Secondary Appraisal: We'll work hard to rebuild
Response: Moderate/manageable stress
Individual Response to Stress
- How stressed someone gets in a particular situation depends on who the person is.
- We differ in our preferred style of interpretation, fovoured cluster of personality traits, operate within a particular social context.
- These differences influence our physical, emotional, and cognitive response to stress
Autonomic Reactivity and Stress
- Differences in intensity of autonomic nervous system (ANS) reaction. Ex. Individuals consistently displayed either high or low cardiovascular activity in response to stressor.
- ANS is highly active in some and less reactive in others
Explanatory Style and Stress
- The characteristic manner in which we explain events, our explanatory style, can make a difference in how we appraise and respond to stressors.
- Can be generally optimistic: Appraise situations more positively. They also see stressful situations as more manageable and thus tend to experience less stress.
- Can be generally pessimistic: Appraise a situation negatively and have a doomsday attitude toward stressors, thereby not finding social support or coping strategies.
- Optimists are more likely to seek out social support and to employ constructive coping techniques
- Optimistic Brand of Pessimism: Believe that things will go wrong but, at the same time, hope they won't.
Personality and Stress
Hardy personality (stress-resistant): Welcome challenges (opportunities for growth) and are willing to commit themselves and take control in their daily lives.
Type A: A personality type characterized by competitiveness, impatiences, anger and hostility. They interact with the world in a way that produces continual stress
Type B: A personality type that is less aggressive, more relaxed, and less hostile. They experience lower levels of stress
Type C: A personality type characterized by difficulty in expressing or acknowledging negative feelings. More vulnerable, turn anger inward, take losses hard
Social Support and Stress
- More social support seems to correlate with less stress
- Support may increase self-confidence in dealing with stressors
- Presence of others reduces bodily arousal and negative emotions
Coping with Stress
Coping: Cognitive and behavioural strategies to manage stress.
Can be adaptive or maladaptive
Psychological or physical
Angry words or behaviour at other people
Can be from a build up of stressors and then one last straw
Not constructive: Lashing out at other people hinders your social support
Defensive, avoidant behaviours to protect oneself from stress.
Dropping out of class, quitting a job, ending a troubling relationship.
- Repressive coping style: Consistently deny negative feelings and discomfort and try to push such emotions out of awareness.
- Can be difficult to achieve - mask stress rather than eliminate it
- Higher autonomic response may suggest that such repression requires considerable effort
- More medical problems
Short term solutions, not long term
Alcohol, drugs, overeating.
- These are helpful if stressor is simple or short-lived, but ineffective if problem is complex or ongoing.
- They fail to change the challenge
- May produce greater pressure, or higher stress
- As well these habits have serious health effects
Coping strategies focused on changing one's feelings about the stressor.
May involve cognitive reappraisal: Finding a way to reinterpret negative aspects of a situation so they are less upsetting.
Coping strategies focused on dealing directly with the stressor, such as by changing the stressor in some way.
- Ex. Fixing your tardiness by asking for a later shift.
Stress and Health
Interaction between psychological and biological factors
- Coronary heart disease: Psychological (Type A) and biological (obesity)
- Life change and illness: Life stressors (SRRS) linked to physical illness
- Stress inhibits digestions, growth, tissue repair, and response of you immune system and inflammatory systems.
- 70-80% of doctor visits are stress-related
- Coronary heart disease is the 2nd leading cause of death after cancer over the age of 45
- Type = Coronary-prone personality
Stress and the Immune System
Psychoneuroimmunology: Studies links between stress, the immune system and health
Immune System: Organs, tissues, and cells that identify and fight bodily invaders.
Lymphocytes: White blood cells, key in fighting bacterial and viral invaders. Stress can slow them down.
Norepinephrine: improves immune functioning at low levels of stress; it actually slows down immune functioning at higher levels.
Cortisol and Cytokines
Corticosteroids: Cortisol and other so-called stress hormones - contribute to poorer immune system functioning during periods of prolonged stress.
- Triggers cytokines production, which combats infection with moderate stress but can lead to inflammation after prolonged stress.
Cytokines: Are released when your body first comes into contat with bacteria or virus. Chronic cortisol drives up cytokine levels and this leads to long term inflammation which can contribute to heart disease, stroke and other illnesses.
Behaviour Changes in Response to Stress
Can affect the immune system
Anxiety and/or depression may trigger other behaviours
Ex. Smoking, alcohol or drug use, sleep deprivation
These behaviours result in slowed immune system
Improve immune system functioning and resilience in dealing with stress.
People exhibiting Type C behaviour pattern appear to be more at risk for cancer
Helps to shield us from the negative effects of stress
The Benefits of Stress
Eustress: Optimal stress level. Promotes physical and psychological health
Inoculation: Dealing with small levels of stress to improve functioning in increasingly stressful situations
Stress and Performance
Stress can actually benefit performance, depending on the complexity of the task. On very complex tasks, a low level of strss is optimal for performing your best; on very easy tasks, a high level of stress helps you stay focused. A moderately difficult tasks benefits from a moderate level of stress.
- SEE GRAPHS
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Anxiety disorder in response to traumatic event
1. Memories, dreams or nightmares about event
2. Avoid activities, thoughts, feelings, conversations that are reminders of the event
3. Depression, anxiety, guilt, fear, helplessness
4. Sleep problems; may feel detached from others
Combat, natural disaster, abuse, and victimization
Who Develops PTSD - Biological Factors
- Intense biological reactions that continue far beyond fight-or-flight
Ex: Increased cortisol and norepinephrine in rape victims and othrs who experiences severe stressors
- May have exaggerated sympathetic nervous system responses nd blunted HPA axis responses to stress
- May have a smaller hippocampus or the biochemical arousal may eventually shrink the hippocampus
Social Environment and PTSD
Individuals with strong social support are less likely to experience PTSD
Personality Traits and PTSD
Personality traits associated with decreased likelihood of developing PTSD
Examples: Optimism, constructive coping, more resilient
Childhood experiences may increase risk of developing PTSD
Examples: Poverty, abuse, family psychological disorders, experiencing a catastrophe at a young age
"YOU can ask: A program that seeks to identify and deal with stress in children. Aftermath of 9-11
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE...
Psychology: chapter 14 stress
Health Ch. 3 Stress, Its Meaning, Impact and Sourc…
Health Psychology Chapter 6- Stress
Psychology Around Us - Chapter 15
OTHER SETS BY THIS CREATOR
Intro to Psych 16 Treatment of Psychological Disor…
Growth and Development 12 Older Adult Assessment
Intro to Psych 13 Social Psychology
Growth and Development 17 Adulthood
OTHER QUIZLET SETS
NUR 202 Exam 2 Elsevier Review Questions
Syntax exam test 4
KNR 370 quiz #1