Sociology 2234E Lecture Notes - Sleep Disorder, Learned Helplessness, Bors

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28 Mar 2012
Unit 22: Health and Illness
Stress, Health and Illness
Stress and Human Health
Stress is defined as:
o The body’s physiological response to threatening events, regardless of the source of the threat
o The degree to which people have to change and readjust their lives in response to an external
Perceived Stress and Health
Lazarus (1996) argues that it is subjective stress, not objective stress that causes problems
o Therefore, an event is stressful for people only if they interpret it as stressful
Lazarus and Folkman (1984) defined stress as the negative feelings and beliefs which occur whenever
people feel unable to cope with the demands of their environment
Stress the Good and the Bad
The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you
When working properly, it helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert
In emergency situations, stress can save your life giving you extra strength to defend yourself, or
spurring you to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident
But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health
and your quality of life.
Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems
Stress Warning Signs and Symptoms
Physical symptoms
o Cold
o Influenza
o Headaches
o Sleep disturbance
o Being unable to slow down
Psychological symptoms
o Anxiety
o Depression
o Hopelessness
o Memory Problems
o Lack of concentration
Behavioural Symptoms
o Excessive drinking
o Over eating
o Talking to friends of family
o Seeking humor
o Drug use
o Increased consumption of coffee, cigarettes (if you already use them)
Characteristics of Stressors
Cataclysmic Phenomena: environmental or man-made events of extreme magnitude including,
floods, hurricanes, volcanic explosions, airplane crashes, terrorist attacks, and war
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