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chapter_13 notes.pdf

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PSYC 1010

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Chapter 13: Stress, Coping, and Health - biopsychosocial model - holds that physical illness is caused by a complex interaction of biological, psychological and sociocultural factors - psychosocial factors, such as stress and lifestyle, play a large role in the development of these chronic diseases - health psychology - concerned with how psychosocial factors related to the promotion and maintenance of health and with the causation, prevention and treatment of illness KEY POINTS IN THIS CHAPTER (pages 536-540) - Stress involves circumstances and experiences that are perceived as threatening. Stress is a common, everyday event, and even seemingly minor stressors or hassles can be problematic. To a large degree, stress is subjective and lies in the eye of the beholder - Major types of stress include frustration, conflict, change, and pressure. Frustration occurs when an obstacle prevents one from attaining some goal. - There are three principal types of conflict: approach-approach, avoidance-avoidance, and approach-avoidance. The third type is especially stressful. Vacillation is a common response to approach-avoidance conflict - A large number of studies with the SRRS suggest that change is stressful. Although this may be true, it is now clear that the SRRS is a measure of general stress rather than just change-related stress. Two kinds of pressure (to perform and conform) also appear to be stressful. The Nature of Stress - stress - any circumstances that threaten or are perceived to threaten oneʼs well-being and that thereby tax oneʼs coping abilities Stress as an Everyday Event - major disasters are extremely stressful events but only make of a small part of what constitutes stress - minor everyday problems and the minor nuisances of life are also important forms of stress - A major stressful event can trigger a cascade of minor stressors - an individualʼs response to a stressor is a function of a number of factors including the type of stressor and its controllability, biological factors such as age and gender, and the individualʼs previous experience with stress - routine hassles may have significant harmful effect on mental and physical health - the relation between minor hassles and mental health might be due to the cumulative nature of stress Appraisal: Stress Lies in the Eye of the Beholder - the experience of feeling stressed depends on what events on notices and how one chooses to appraise or interpret them - stress lies in the eye of the beholder - peopleʼs appraisals of stressful events are highly subjective - questionnaires can be used to assess individual differences in such appraisal Major Types of Stress - Major types of stress include frustration, conflict, change, and pressure Frustration - frustration - occurs in any situation in which the pursuit of some goal is thwarted - experience frustration when you want something you canʼt have - failures and losses are two common kinds of frustration that are often highly stressful Conflict - conflict - occurs when two or more incompatible motivations or behavioural impulses compete for expression - higher levels of conflict are associated with higher levels of anxiety, depression, and physical symptoms - There are three principal types of conflict: approach-approach, avoidance-avoidance, and approach- avoidance Chapter 13: Stress, Coping, and Health - In an approach-approach conflict - a choice must be made between two attractive goals - tends to be the least stressful - In an avoidance-avoidance conflict - a choice must be made between two unattractive goals - unpleasant and highly stressful - In an approach-avoidance conflict - a choice must be made about whether to pursue a single goal that has both attractive and unattractive aspects - often produce vacillation - you go back and forth, beset by indecision Change - life changes - any noticeable alternations in oneʼs living circumstances that require readjustment - changes in personal relationships, changes at work, changes in finances, and so forth can be stressful even when the changes are welcomed - Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) - measures life change as a form of stress - studies have shown that people with higher scores on the SRRS tend to be more vulnerable to many kinds of physical illness and ot many types of psychological problems as well - A large number of studies with the SRRS suggest that change is stressful. - Although this may be true, it is now clear that the SRRS is a measure of general stress rather than just change-related stress. Pressure - pressure - involves expectations or demands that one behave in a certain way - Two kinds of pressure (to perform and conform) also appear to be stressful - pressure to perform when youʼre expected to execute tasks and resposibilities, efficiently and successfully - pressure to conform to othersʼ expectations - with scale devised by Weiten, a strong relationship has been found between pressure and a variety of psychological symptoms and problems - A comparison of pressure and life change as sources of stress suggests that pressure may be more strongly related to mental health than change is KEY POINTS IN THIS CHAPTER (pages 541-548) - Stress often triggers emotional reactions. These reactions typically include anger, fear, and sadness. In times of stress, emotions are not uniformly negative and positive emotions may foster resilience. Emotional arousal may interfere with coping. According to the inverted-U hypothesis, task performance improves with increased arousal up to a point and then declines. The optimal level of arousal on a task depends on the complexity of the task - Physiological arousal in response to stress was originally called the fight-or-flight response by Cannon. This automatic response has limited adaptive value in our modern world. Selyeʼs general adaptation syndrome describes three stages in physiological reactions to stress: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion. Diseases of adaptation may appear during the stage of exhaustion. - There are two major pathways along which the brain sends signals to the endocrine system in response to stress. The first pathway releases a class of hormones called catecholamines. The second pathways releases a class of hormones called corticosteroids - The behavioural response to stress takes the form of coping. Some relatively unhealthy coping responses include giving up, blaming oneself, and striking out at others with acts of aggression. Self-indulgence is another coping pattern that tends to be of limited value - Defensive coping is quite common. Defence mechanisms protect against emotional distress through self-deception. Several lines of evidence suggest that positive illusions may be healthful, but there is some debate about the matter. It is probably a matter of degree/ Relatively healthful coping tactics are called constructive coping. Responding to Stress - stress affects the individual at several different levels - (1) emotional response to stress, (2) physiological response to stress, (3) behavioural response to stress Chapter 13: Stress, Coping, and Health Emotional Responses EMOTIONS COMMONLY ELICITED - researchers have begun to uncover some strong links between specific cognitive reactions to stress (appraisals) and specific emotions - Common emotional responses to stress include (a) annoyance, anger and rage, (b) apprehension, anxiety, and fear, and (c) dejection, sadness and grief - research shows that positive emotions also occur during periods of stress - important adaptive significance EFFECTS OF EMOTIONALAROUSAL - even unpleasant emotions serve important purposes - could serve as warning that one needs to take action - strong emotional arousal can interfere with efforts to cope with stress - The inverted-U hypothesis - predicts that task performance should improve with increased emotional arousal - up to a point, after which further increases in arousal become disruptive and performance deteriorates - optimal level of arousal - the level of arousal at which performance peaks - depend in part on the complexity of the task at hand --> as a task becomes more complex, the optimal level of arousal (for peak performance) tends to decrease Physiological Responses THE FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT RESPONSE - Walter Cannon - one of the first theorists to describe the fight or flight response - fight-or-flight response - a physiological reaction to threat in which the autonomic nervous system mobilizes the organism for attacking (fight) or fleeing (flight) an enemy - mediated by the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system (ANS - controls blood vessels, smooth muscles and glands) - clearly an adaptive response in the animal kingdom, where the threat of predators often requires a swift response of fighting or fleeing - but now, most human stresses canʼt be handled simply through fight or flight - in most species, females have more responsibility for the care of young offspring than males do - using an evolutionary perspective, some theorist argue that this disparity may make fighting and fleeing less adaptive for females, as both responses may endanger offspring and thus reduce the likelihood of an animal passing on its genes - evolutionary processes have fostered more of a tend and befriend response in females THE GENERALADAPTATION SYNDROME - Hans Selye - identified and named the concept of stress - concluded that stress reactions are nonspecific - reactions do not vary according to the specific type of stress encountered - Selye formulated an influential theory of stress reactions - general adaptation syndrome - a model of the bodyʼs stress response, consisting of three stages: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion --> alarm reaction occurs when an organisms first recognizes the existence of a threat - physiological arousal occurs as the body musters its resources to combat the challenge (essentially the fight-or-flight response) -->Selye and prolonged stress (similar to the chronic stress often endured by humans) - as stress continues, the organism ay progress to the stage of resistance - physiiological changes stabilize as coping efforts get under way --> if the stress continues over a substantial period of time - enter stage of exhaustion - bodyʼs resources for fighting stress are limited - physiological arousal will decrease --> this reduced resistance may lead to what Selye called “diseases of adaptation” Chapter 13: Stress, Coping, and Health BRAIN-BODY PATHWAYS - there are two major pathways along which the brain sends signals to the endocrine system (glands located at various sites in the body that secrete chemicals called hormones) in response to stress - the hypothalamus is the brain structure that appears to initiate action along these two pathways - first pathway routed through the autonomic nervous system - releases a class of hormones called catecholamines --> produce the physiological changes seen in the fight-or-flight response - mobilized for action, heart rate and blood flow increase, more blood pumped to brain and muscles, respiration and oxygen consumption speeds up which facilitates alertness, digestive processes are inhibited to conserve energy, the pupils of eyes dilate increasing visual sensitivity - second pathways involves more direct communication between the brain and the endocrine system - releases a class of hormones called corticosteroids - stimulate the release of chemicals that help increase your energy and help inhibit tissue inflammation in case of injury - Behavioural Responses - most behavioural responses to stress involve coping - active efforts to master, reduce, or tolerate the demands created by stress - coping responses may be adaptive or maladaptive - coping is a key aspect of personality and is a stable, dispositional attribute - Endler - the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS) measures three stable coping dimensions: task-oriented coping, emotion-oriented coping, and avoidance-oriented coping GIVING UP AND BLAMING ONESELF - learned helplessness - passive behaviour produced by exposure to unavoidable aversive events - seems to occur when individuals come to believe that events are beyond their control - behavioural disengagement - giving up - associated with increased, rather than decreased distress - can contribute to depression - blaming oneself is another common response to stress - “catastrophic thinking” - causes, aggravates, and perpetuates emotional reactions to stress that are often problematic -negative self-talk can contribute to the development of depressive disorders STRIKING OUT AT OTHERS - people often respond to stressful event by striking out at others with aggressive behaviour - aggression - any behaviour that is intended to hurt someone, either physically or verbally Chapter 13: Stress, Coping, and Health - frustation-aggression hypothesis - held that aggression is always caused by frustration - many years of research supported this idea of a causal link but also showed that there isnʼt an inevitable, one-to-one correspondence - frequently people lash out aggressively at others who had nothing to do with their frustration, apparently because they canʼt vent their anger at the real source - Freud theorized that behaving aggressively could get pent-up emotion out of oneʼs system and thus be adaptive - coined the term catharsis - to refer to this release of emotional tension - the balance of evidence indicates that aggressive behaviour does notreliably lead to catharsis INDULGING ONESELF - Stress sometimes leads to reduced impulse control, or self-indulgence - many people engage in excessive consumption - people may try to compensate for things going poorly by pursuing substitute forms of satisfaction - Internet addiction - consists of spending an inordinate amount of time on the Internet and inability to control online use DEFENSIVE COPING - Many people exhibit styles of defensive coping in response to stress - Freud - defence mechanisms - defence mechanisms - largely unconscious reactions that protect a person from unpleasant emotion such as anxiety and guilt - What exactly do defence mechanisms defend against? - shield the individual from the emotional discomfort thatʼs so often elicited by stress - main purpose is to ward off unwelcome emotions or to reduce their intensity (including anxiety, anger, guilt, dejection, etc) - How do they work? - through self-deception - distort reality so that it doesnʼt appear so threatening - Are they conscious or unconscious? - may operate at varying levels of awareness, although theyʼre largely unconscious - Are they normal? - everyone uses defence mechanisms on a fairly regular basis - normal patterns of coping - Are they healthy? - more often than not, the answer is “no” - defensive coping is an avoidance strategy which rarely provides a genuine solution to problems - a repressive coping style has been related to poor health, in part because repression often leads people to delay facing up to their problems - defences such as denial and fantasy represent wishful thinking, which is likely to accomplish little - “positive illusions” may be adaptive for mental health and well-being - “normal” people tend to have overly favourable self-images - depressed subjects exhibit less favourable - but more realistic - self-concepts - normal subjects are more likely than depressed subjects to display unrealistic optimism in making projections about the future - The findings on whether positive illusions are healthy are contradictory and controversial - theorist theorizes that itʼs all a matter of degree and that there is an “optimal margin of illusion” CONSTRUCTIVE COPING - constructive coping - refers to relatively healthful efforts that people make to deal with stressful events - no strategy of coping can guarantee a successful outcome - Key themes in literature about the nature of constructive coping: 1. Constructive coping involves confronting problem directly - entails a conscious effort to rationally evaluate your options so that you can try to solve your problems 2. Constructive coping is based on reasonably realistic appraisals of your stress and coping resources. Chapter 13: Stress, Coping, and Health A little self-deception may sometimes be adaptive, but excessive self-deception and highly unrealistic negative thinking are not 3. Constructive coping involves learning to recognize, and in some cases, inhibit, potentially disruptive emotional reactions to stress 4. Constructive coping includes making efforts to ensure that your body is not especially vulnerable to the possibly damaging effects of stress KEY POINTS IN THIS CHAPTER (pages 549-551) - Several lines of research, inc
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