PSYC 1010 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Shelley E. Taylor, Autonomic Nervous System, Defence Mechanisms

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4 Mar 2015
PSYCH 1010: Chapter 13 By: Shayan
-Stress can be small or big
-Unexpected usually
-Stress in last 30 years has changed the way doctors look at physical illness,
given way to Biopsychosocial model: hold that physical illness is caused by a
complex interation of biological, psychosocial, and sociocultural factors
Doesn’t assert that biological factors are unimportant in illness
Simply asserts these factors operate in a psychosocial context that’s also
-Previously, principal threats to health were contagious diseases
-Today, none of these is among leading killer in North America – fixed over time
-Void left by CONTAGIOUS diseases have been filled by chronic diseases that
develop gradually, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke
Psychosocial factors like stress and lifestyle play huge role in
development of these chronic diseases
Noticing these psychological factors lead to new area called health
Health psychology: concerned with how psychosocial factors relate to the
promotion and maintenance of health and with the causation, prevention,
and treatment of illness
-Stress: any circumstances that threaten oar are perceived to threaten one’s well-
being and that thereby tax one’s coping abilities
-Threat may be to immediate physical safety, long-range security, self-esteem,
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-Studies conducted in aftermath of natural disasters typically find elevated rates of
psychological problems and physical illness in communities affected – physical
and mental illness increased for at least 15 months
-Many everyday events cause more stress than these big factors
-Commuting is a big stressor for most people
-Number of factors affect the nature of any individual’s reactions to stress
-Anisman said individual’s response to stressor is function of a number of factors
including type of stressor and controllability, biological factors like age and
gender, and individual’s previous experiences with stress
-Richard Lazarus and colleagues developed scale to measure everyday hassles
One colleague, Anita Delongis, shows routine hassles may have
significant effects on mental and physical health
Alone, they are okay, but they are cumulative
-Experience of feeling stressed depends on interpretation of stress by individual
-Primary appraisal: initial evaluation of whether an event is (1) irrelevant to you,
(2) relevant but not threatening or (3) stressful
-When you view event as stressful, you are likely to make secondary appraisal:
evaluation of your coping resources and options for dealing with the stress
-Primary tells you if it is stressful, secondary tells you how stressful
-Anxious people feel more stress than others
-Acute stressors: threatening events that have relatively short duration and clear
endpoint (exam, flooding, etc.)
-Chronic stressors: threatening events that have relatively long duration and no
readily apparent time limit (financial strains caused by debts, sick family member
for years, etc.)
-Classifying stressful events into non-intersecting categories almost impossible
-Four major types of stress: frustration, conflict, change, pressure
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-Frustration: occurs in any situation in which pursuit of some goal is thwarted
-Things like traffic jams, daily commutes, annoying drivers cause this
-Fortunately, most are brief and insignificant
-Failures and losses are to common frustrations that are often highly stressful
-Conflict: occurs when two or more incompatible motivations or behavioural
impulses compete for expression
-Come in three types, as originally explained by Kurt Lewin and investigated by
Neal Miller:
1) Approach-approach
2) Avoidance-avoidance
3) Approach-avoidance
-Approach-approach: choice must be made between two attractive goals
Free afternoon – tennis or golf? Or menu choices
Tend to be least stressful
-Avoidance-avoidance: choice must be made between two unattractive goals
“Caught between a rock and a hard place”
Continue taking unemployment cheques or take degrading carwash job?
-Approach-avoidance: choice must be made about whether to pursue single goal
that has both attractive and unattractive aspects
Career promotion  large pay, but you have to move to disliked town
Can be stressful
Often produces vacillation: you go back and forth, indecision is common
-Life changes represent a key type of stress
-Life changes: any noticeable alterations in one’s living circumstances that require
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