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Psychology - Stress.docx

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York University
PSYC 2510
Richard N Lalonde

March 13, 2013 Psychology – Lecture 20 Health: Stress and Coping Overview  Measures of stress  Major types of stress  Responding to stress  Psychological factors at play in the stress response  Coping strategies o Relaxation exercise with Carolyn Wekerle What is Stress?  Stress is a subjective response to stressors which include o Sudden traumatic experiences o Continuing pressures that seem uncontrollable o Small irritations that wear you down  Measures o Eg. Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS)  Ratings of the stressful degree of experienced life events Stress Measurement – How are you doing? College Undergrad Stress Scale  Renner & Mackin (1998)  Mean total stress rating was 1,247  Scores ranged from 182 to 2,571 Stress measurement: Daily Hassles  Hassles: irritations & demands that can occur daily  Survey of Recent Life Experiences – Kohn & Macdonald, ‘92  More hassles correlated with more health problems Survey of Recent Life Experiences  Disliking your daily activities  Disliking your work  Ethnical or racial conflicts  Conflicts with in-laws or boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s family  Being let down or disappointed by friends  Conflicts with supervisor(s) at work  Social rejection  Too many things to do at once  Being taken for granted Types of Stress  Frustration – when goals are thwarted  Conflict – incompatible motivations o Approach-approach (pizza or spaghetti) o Approach-avoidance (potential date or rejection) o Avoidance-avoidance (unemployment or terrible job) Important Stressors  Change – having to adapt o Immigration o Moving o Getting married o Bereavement & loss  Widowed, divorced & unhappily married people (top 3 in SRRS): susceptible to diseases & above average mortality rate  NB not everyone who loses a loved one gets sick or has an impaired immune system  Pressure o To conform (expectations & demands) o To perform (quickly, efficiently & successfully) o Tick, tick, tick – Carl Honore and the benefits of being slow Carl Honore and the benefits of being slow Video  Journalist Carl Honore is best known for his advocacy of the Slow Movement. His book In Praise of Slowness dissects our speed-obsessed society and celebrates those who have gotten in touch with their "inner tortoise."  Journalist Carl Honore believes the Western world's emphasis on speed erodes health, productivity and quality of life.  But there's a backlash brewing, as everyday people start putting the brakes on their all-too- modern lives.  This speedy life has to do with how we view time o Other cultures: time is cyclical, always refreshing itself o Western culture: time is linear, finite resource, always draining away, you either use it or lose it  “By slowing down at the right moments, people find that they do everything better: they eat better, they make love better, they exercise better, they work better, they live better.”  The Slow Movement: A loose and international effort to decelerate the pace of their lives; spans everything from telecommunications (slow email) and health care (slow medicine) to diet (slow food) and public space (slow cities).  Why is it so hard to slow down? o Speed is fun (adrenaline rush), o Metaphysical – a way of rolling ourselves off the bigger, deeper questions (a distraction): Am I well? Am I happy? Are my children growing up right? Are politicians making good choices on my behalf? o Cultural taboo – slow has become a byword for “lazy,” “slacker,” someone who gives up, “stupid.” The purpose of the Slow Movement is to tackle this cultural taboo; there is a good slow too. Physiological response to stress  Selye’s General adaptation syndrome  Three phases in responding to stressors o Alarm (mobilize biological response – adrenal hormones) o Resistance (coping with threat) o Exhaustion (becoming physically vulnerable)  Eustress is positive and feels good  Selye (McGill) – originator of stress research o It all began accidentally – how science sometimes works o Research, looks at effects of ovarian extract on rats o Selye – control group rats injected with saline solution, exp. group with ovarian extract o Results: Control group = Experimental group on physiological indicies, expected Expt > Control o Both groups get injection, maybe injection produces stress so both groups show effects of stress o Thus, stress affects us physiologically/psychologically Contemporary view of stress response  Epinephrine (adrenaline) & norepinephrene (noradrenaline) are catecholamines released into bloodstream in preparation for fight or flight  Corticosteroids are hormones (eg. cortisol) that increase energy & inhibit tissue inflammation The stress-illness link  Stressors can increase illness when they: o Severely disrupt a person’s life o Are uncontrollable o Are chronic PTSD – Post-traumatic Stress Disorder  “disturbed behaviour that is attributable to a major stressful even that emerges after the stress is over”  WWI/I “shell shock”  (After Vietnam War – PTSD – symptoms 9-60 months)  Causes: physical attack, rape, death, spouse’s affair. Combat, seeing dea
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