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Psychology Chapter 15.docx

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Psychology 1000
Shelley Cross- Mellor

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Psychology Chapter 15 March 13, 2012 Chapter 15: Stress, Coping, and Health Nature of Stress o What is Stress? Stressors = stimuli/events in environment that place demands on us Example: I have too much stress in my life right now Our response: physiological? Cognitive? Behavioural? Example: Im feeling stressed out o Person Situation Interaction Stress is a pattern of cognitive appraisals, physiological responses and behavioural tendencies Occurs in response to a perceived imbalance between situation and resources needed to cope Stressors o Eliciting stimuli Place demands on well-being and require us to adapt o Microstressors Example: what to wear Daily hassles o Catastrophic Events Occur unexpectedly Affect large numbers of people Example: natural disasters, war o Major Negative Events Stressful life events Example: victim of major crime, abuse, death of loved one Stressor Characteristics o All 3 classes of stressors can negatively impact psychological and physical well-being o Events with greatest toll? Little control Occur suddenly and unpredictably Impact person over long period of time Meaningful Stressful Life Events o Life Events Scale Quantify stress over a given period of time Indicate whether a particular event occurred Appraisal of being positive or negative Indicate amount of control, predictablility Stress Response o How we appraise situations Primary Appraisal: demands of situation What do I have to do? Secondary Appraisal: resources available to cope How can I cope? Judgments of Consequences: consequences of situation What are the costs to me? Personal Meaning: what does the outcome imply What does this say about my beliefs in myself? World? o Distortions/Mistaken appraisals can occur at any level Example: Important Job Interview o Primary Appraisal (Demands) Benign, neutral, irrelevant, threatening? Depends on how difficult it will be Significance how badly do you want/need the job o Secondary Appraisal Perceived ability to cope with the situation Knowledge, abilities, verbal skills, social responses o Consequences Will you be able to pay tuition of you fail? o Personal Meaning If self-worth depends on how successful you are in situations like this failure = evidence of worthlessness Chronic Stress and the GAS o Hans Selye (University of Montreal) o Physiological reaction to prolonged stress o General Adaptation Syndrome = GAS o 3 Phases Alarm 1 phase similar to fight or flight Activation of sympathetic nervous system Adaptive response Release of stress hormones important = cortisol o Triggers increase in blood sugars o Suppresses immune system Cannot last indefinitely o Parasympathetic system tries to restore homeostasis o If stressor persists so does response Resistannd 2 phase continued recruitment of resources Can last long time, but resources being depleted Eventually are no longer sufficient Exhaustion Resources dangerously depleted Increased vulnerability to disease Can manifest itself with cardiovascular problems; immune system difficulties Stress and Health o GAS from an evolutionary standpoint = adaptive But the system may not be as adaptive to psychological stressors we now face o Evidence: People surviving natural disaster 17% increase in anxiety and depression Vietnam Veterans greater number of stress symptoms in combat vs. non- combat trauma Rape Trauma Syndrome months to years after victims feel nervous, fearful of another attack, nightmares, afraid to be alone More negative life events = more psychological distress, but correlational, so cannot determine causality Psychology, Neurology, and the Immune System o Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) The study of the relationships among psychology, the nervous system, endocrine system, and the immune system o Psychological factors explain why not all people are stressed the same amount by the same things Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) o Major Symptoms Severe anxiety, physiological arousal Reliving of the event Emotional numbing Intense guilt o Study within 12 months of combat exposure in Vietnam 27.8% of the veterans developed PTSD o Traumas caused by humans (war, rape, assault) are more likely to cause severe PTSD than natural disasters o People try to find an escape through other means (example: drugs) o Can increase vulnerability to other disorders Study found it doubles risk of developing alcohol
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