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Chapter 15 – Stress A comprehensive summary of key terms and aspects of the required learnings / teachings from Ch. 15

Course Code
PSYCH 1000
Laura Fazakas- De Hoog

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Chapter 15 Stress, Coping, and Health
The Nature of Stress
Stress viewed as in three different ways (stimulus, response, and organism-environment
o Stimulus (stressors) situations that place demands on organisms that tax or exceed their
o Stress a pattern of cognitive appraisals, physiological responses, and behavioural
tendencies that occurs in response to a perceived imbalance between situational demands
and the resources needed to cope with them
o Stressors range in severity
Microstressors daily hassles and everyday annoyances we encounter
Catastrophic events natural disasters, acts of war, etc.
o Life event scales questionnaires that measure the number of positive and negative life
events that have occurred over a specific period of time
The Stress Response
o Four aspects of appraisal process are of particular significance:
Primary appraisal of demands of situation
Secondary appraisal of resources available to cope with it
Judgments of what consequences of situation could be
Appraisal of personal meaning (what the outcome might imply about us)
Chronic Stress and the GAS
o General adaptation syndrome (GAS) a physiological response pattern to strong and
prolonged stressors
Consists of three phases:
Alarm reaction a rapid increase in physiological arousal
o Occurs due to sudden activation of sympathetic nervous
system and release of hormones
Resistance body’s resources continue to be mobilized so that the
person can function despite the presence of a stressor
o Length of stage depends on severity of stress, individual’s
health, available support, and other factors
o Adrenal glands release epinephrine, norepinephrine, and
cortisol to maintain arousal
Exhaustion body’s resources are dangerously depleted
o Occurs when stressor is intense and persists for too long
Stress and Health
Stress and Psychological Well-Being
o Studies of results of catastrophic events has found average increase of 17% in rates of
psychological disorders
o Rape trauma syndrome a pattern of cognitive, emotional, and behavioural responses
that occurs in response to being raped
o Neuroticism a personality trait that involves the tendency to experience high levels of
negative affect and to behave in self-defeating ways
People high in neuroticism have heightened tendency to experience negative
emotions and to involved in stressful situations through maladaptive behaviours
Stress and Illness
o Stress can combine with other physical and psychological factors to influence the entire
spectrum of physical illness
o Stress can trigger illness by causing a breakdown in immune system functioning
o Stressors can release sufficient stress hormones to induce structural changes in the
hippocampus that last for a month or longer
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