PSYC 2020 Lecture Notes - Common Cold, Endangerment

35 views2 pages
Published on 22 Aug 2012
Department
Course
Professor
Page:
of 2
Lecture #25
Lifestyle, Stress & Health
Stress, appraisal and coping styles
Stress is referred to a distinct pattern to things we call stressors (real or imagined stimuli) that block a
goal or endanger ones beings which produces a characteristic of responses, changes in automatic
nerve system, changes in perceived level of arousal, changes in attention and alertness, a whole host of
emotion; fear, anxiety, anger, etc.
Stress is distinct form the stressor, the stressor is the thing that makes you stressed
The stressor doesnt not have to be real, it just has to be perceived to be real, anything perceived to be
real is real in its component
Distress refers to the emotional of psychological component of the stress response, its one part but its
not the whole of the stress response
This response system has a purpose, the goal of the stress response is to prepare the organism for
(immediate) action, to make the organism aware, and alert and responsive to its environment
Adrenaline, heart rate increases, immune system suppresses all to engage the stressor that they are
going to through stress, adaptive process
In the course of evolutionary history, most of the stressors are of the acute stressors, short lived,
predators of members of other bands, engage or withdraw= fight or flight response
Fight the thing that is stressing you or flea from it, a product of natural selection which equips the
organism that benefits it in the course of evolutionary history
Interesting component of stress, the goal of stress response is to orient the organism to confronting
something immediate in the environment and all available resources are shunted towards that end
Predator, or something threatening, the natural response is to shut down all other activities, and
surviving the next few minutes or hours
As a component of the stress response, all non-essential systems (in short term) are shut down,
digestion stops, interestingly fighting the common cold or immune function is suppressed, energy is
redirected because for the moment these things are not nearly as important
Its extraordinary how well the stress response system is coordinated towards solving problems in the
ancestral environment, the things that were stressing our ancestors out were of a short lived acute
nature, our stress response is coordinated with dealing with these short lived stressors, immediate
threats or potential harm
Stress system is only presented today to the extent that the present environment resembles the past
environment, the stress response evolved out of old pressures, and it will only work today as well as it
should if the present day looks like how the past did
Problem is that the kinds of things that stress us today are qualitatively distinct, long lived stressors,
chronic
All of those systems that are non essential for acute stress, are important for the kinds of stress dealt
with today, contemporary stressors, and we use immediate responses to the stressors in our
environment that affect our long term systems that may affect us negatively (immune system)
There is a sequence of stages that all people show in response of a stressor, that summarizes the kinds
of changes our bodies changes when confronting a stressor =general adaptation syndrome
These stages show the relationship between the human stress response and its implications of health
The first response is called the alarm stage, the classic fight vs. flight response, immediate response, a
resistance to the stressor decreases and normal functioning is impaired
Presuming our immediate response does not remove the stressor from the environment, we tend to
habituate, go back to normal, second stage, stage to resistance, and we adapt to this condition and we
accommodate that
We cant accommodate a stressor indefinitely, if the stressor remains in the environment, we eventually
exhaust our resources, the stage of exhaustion, where we begin to show a kind of health compromise,
our resistance starts to decline, and the presence of the stressor taps into our reserves, compromises in
functions, including immune system
At this point, the ancient system shows difficulty for chronic distresses, in a well known study,
researchers asked participants to record their daily activities and sematic complaints
People recorded desirable and undesirable events that happened, and symptoms of respiratory systems
The presumption was that if stress has relation to immune functioning than in the days functioning then
there should be an increase in the rise of physical symptoms, shouldnt happen immediately, because
most viruses need incubation period, and that is exactly what happened
The graph shows that adaptations are not inherently good, they represent a trade off between costs and
benefits, the stress response system brings us considerable benefits with readying us, but there are
costs by redirecting essential resources, and as environment has changed from acute to chronic
stressors, the system sometimes works against us
Situations that perceive to be real are real in their consequences
Its not so much the stressors per se, but our evaluation of it that triggers the response
The process where we recognize things in the environment and evaluation of things is appraisal, not
the stressor itself, but our appraisal of it which triggers stress
There has also been a great deal of attention to appraisal processes, what are the conditions in which
we recognize and evaluate, much research done by Richard Lazarus and Folkman, said there are two
questions we are always trying to answer
Is it real, and can I handle it (primary and secondary processes)
Primary appraisal is to acknowledge if the threat it represents is real
Relevant to this is your ability to cope with the stress, the secondary appraisal to handle event at hand
e.g. an exam may be a threat to your final mark and your g.p.a or it may be something that helps
challenge you and see where you stand, it depends on how ready you are for the exam, primary
appraisal is a threat to your mark, but secondary appraisal is how ready am I for it
To get stressed out, two appraisals must occur, identify something, and realize you cannot cope with it
Notion of appraisal means that any two people may not necessarily look at the same event and
experience the same reactions, sometimes people have similar reactions, sometimes it is distinct
Important for how researchers have gone about trying to measure stressful life events
One school of stress research has focused on similarity of what is stressful and what isnt
One most commonly used measure is the social readjustment rating scale is based upon, that people
may have similar reactions, and any kind of change forma routine is an opportunity to get stressed,
negative and positive (list on slide 8)
The number beside each event is the relative magnitude event, most stress is the death of a spouse, and
events that involve separation, and right after is marriage itself |(which can be a happy thing)
Most of us have consensual responses, agreement in terms of what we see as stressful and what is less
Other instruments focus on the facts that we have relatively unique stresses, daily hassles and uplift
scale, which represents a list of potential events in which you are asked to consider its positive and
negative qualities (time spent with family, a hassle or an uplift)
Appraisal of a stressor requires that you cope, the way in which you handle the stressor
We can handle them in different ways (reflect differences in coping strategies)
Individual difference= coping style, strategies you prefer to use in coping with day to day stress
Three primary ideas of coping, only two of which are adaptive
The first is avoidance, shows little efficacy because it doesnt do anything to remove the source of the
stress, it just leaves it in the environment
In contrast to avoidance is focusing on the problem, and focusing on the emotion
Problem focused coping is to do something about the stressor, remove or reduce it
Emotion focused coping is to change how we react to the stressor, like use relaxation techniques, if
you can come to a relaxed stat in your body, there is no more room for you to be anxious, identify
where you are tense and then systematically relaxing those muscle groups (contrast), or exercises, or
cognitive reappraisal, like all or none thinking, mental shortcut, so people must change your patterns of
things (e.g. students who think if they dont get above 80 in a course or test, then they will fail). You
must figure out what kind of rules you use in your reasoning
Seek out social support, people you turn to is a very powerful emulator of whether or not stressful
events affect you

Document Summary

Stress is distinct form the stressor, the stressor is the thing that makes you stressed. The stressor doesn"t not have to be real, it just has to be perceived to be real, anything perceived to be real is real in its component. Distress refers to the emotional of psychological component of the stress response, its one part but its not the whole of the stress response. This response system has a purpose, the goal of the stress response is to prepare the organism for (immediate) action, to make the organism aware, and alert and responsive to its environment. Adrenaline, heart rate increases, immune system suppresses all to engage the stressor that they are going to through stress, adaptive process. In the course of evolutionary history, most of the stressors are of the acute stressors, short lived, predators of members of other bands, engage or withdraw= fight or flight response .