Stress, Coping and Health
Biopsychosocial model: biological, psychological and sociohistorical factors. Physical illness can
be attributed to a mix of these factors (pg 627) Holds that physical illness is caused by a
complex interaction of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors.
Increasing deaths from lifestyle diseases.
Stress: 20-25% of Canadians report that most of their days are either quite or extremely
Change in patterns of illness:
Contagious vs. Chronic Diseases: Contagious diseases are infectious diseases that are caused
by the invasion by a pathogen which subsequently grows and multiplies in the body. They
spread from one person or organism to another by direct or indirect contact. Chronic diseases
are diseases of long duration and generally slow progression. Chronic diseases, such as heart
disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, are by far the leading cause
of mortality in the world, representing 63% of all deaths.
Chronic diseases cause more deaths than contagious diseases
Health psychology: how psychosocial factors relate to the promotion and maintenance of health
and with the causation, prevention and treatment of illness
Stress is a reaction to environmental demands
Any circumstances that threaten or are perceived to threaten one’s well being and that thereby
tax one’s coping abilities (Weiten and McCann)
Stressors are classified by complexity into Biological, Psychological, Interpersonal and Socio-
Stressor: things that trigger a stress response
Post 9/11, security was increased.
Stressors are also classified by magnitude:
Ambient stressors: Ambient stress is the stress that is directly around you. Noise, pollution and
anything that is in your surrounding environment can cause stress. Everyday stressors.
Daily Hassles: missing the bus
Stressful life events: divorce, death in family
Cataclysmic events such as earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.
Classification of stressors by duration: Acute: short duration with clear end point (getting ready for your next midterm)
Chronic: long duration with no end point (looking after a disabled person)
Hans Selye: Similar response to different stressors. Similar appearance to problems such as
cancer, heart disease and depression. Stress is the nonspecific response of the body to any
demand placed on it.
General Adaptation Response: the general way the body responds to any demand placed on it.
Fight or Flight: increase in arousal. Gearing up to meet the challenges of everyday life or
escape them. Release of adrenaline. More oxygen in your blood. Faster breathing and
increased heart rate.
Mobilization to action
Male thing. Females have more of protect and flight response.
Brain sends signals to the endocrine system in response to stress.
1: StressorHypothalamusAutonomic nervous system (sympathetic division)Adrenal
MedulaSecretion of catecholamines (Increased cardiovascular response, Increased respiration,
Increased perspiration, Increased blood flow to active muscles, Increased muscle strength, and
Increased mental activity)
2: StressorPituitary glandAdrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH) Adrenal cortexSecretion of
corticosteroids (Increased protein and fat mobilization, Increased access to energy storage and
Classification of Stressors (Weiten and McCan):
Frustration: Any situation in which the pursuit of some goal is thwarted. Examples are failures
Change: relationship with change and illness. Life changes are any noticeable alterations to
one’s living circumstances that require readjustment. Changes can be stressful and can be both
positive and negative.
Pressure: expectations put on yourself or by social pressure. Involves expectations or demands
that one behave in a certain way. Salespeople need to move merchandise and comedians need
to make people laugh. Can lead to a decrease in performance. There also social clocks and
Conflict (Kurt Lewin): Occurs when two or more incompatible motivations or behavioural
impulses compete expression.
- Approach-approach: choice between two attractive goals. Racquetball vs. tennis - Avoidance-avoidance: choice between two unattractive goals. Living in pain or risking
your life and getting surgery.
- Approach-avoidance: A single goal that has both an attractive and unattractive aspect.
Promotion vs. moving and date vs. rejection.
Ulcers in Executive Monkeys:
Monkeys put under restrictions. Able to move arms and legs but cannot get out of plexi glass
container. Mild electric shocks on an irregular basis. The monkey with the lever was always
under pressure and he would die from