PSYC 1002 Lecture Notes - Lecture 14: Walter Bradford Cannon, Biopsychosocial Model, Hans Selye
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Chapter 14: Stress, Coping, and Health
The Nature of Stress
Prior to the 20th century, the principle threats to health were contagious diseases caused by
infectious agents. Unfortunately, chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer, diseases that
develop gradually, continue to increase.
The traditional view of physical illness as a purely biological phenomenon has given way to a
new model, the biopsychosocial model, which holds that physical illness is caused by a complex
interaction of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors.
•Contagious diseases vs. chronic diseases
-Health psychology is the field of study that seeks to determine the importance of
psychological factors in illness, as well as in prevention and health maintenance.
•Health promotion and maintenance
-Discovery of causation, prevention, and treatment
Stress: An Everyday Event
Stress is defined in the text as any circumstances that threaten or are perceived to threaten one’s
well-being and that thereby tax one’s coping ability.
•Appraisals: stress lies in the eye of the beholder
-Cumulative nature of stress
-Cognitive appraisals – primary and secondary
•Major types of stress
•Acute vs. chronic (4 principle types of stress)
-Frustration – blocked goal
-Frustration, which occurs in any situation in which the pursuit of some goal is thwarted.
For example, traffic jams.
-Conflict – two or more incompatible motivations
-Conflict occurs when two or more incompatible motivations or behavioural impulses
compete for expression. Three types of conflict have been studied extensively: approach-
approach―when a person has a choice between two attractive goals; approach-
avoidance―when a choice must be made about whether to pursue a single goal that has
both attractive and unattractive aspects; the situation results in vacillation, or going back
and forth; for example, rats actually run up and down a ramp in this type conflict.
Avoidance-avoidance is the third type of conflict.
-Change – having to adapt
-Life changes are any noticeable alterations in one’s living circumstances that require
-Pressure – expectations to behave in certain ways
-Pressure involves expectations or demands that one behave in a certain way―pressure to
perform or to comply.
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