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York University
PSYC 3140
Joel Goldberg

ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY LECTURE: JANUARY 29TH, 2013 TOPIC: STRESS AND COPING ➔ Stress ◦ Is it circular? Is it what you are experiencing or is it a cause? Does stress cause more stress? → circular definition. ◦ Medical Definition ▪ “Stress is the nonspecific response of a body to any demand, whether it is caused by, or results in, pleasant or unpleasant conditions.” ▪ The term stress is ambiguous – stress is used to refer to a cause and also to a reaction - “stress causes me stress” • Fight versus Flight Response ➔ GeneralAdaptation Syndrome ◦ When there is something that is threatening the first phase will be alarm. The second phase will be to mobilize our resources to react and that works in a short run. If I feel endangered and I need to run away my body has to be ready (heart racing, breathing quickly, start running).After awhile, if I still feel endangered I will go through the third phase and become exhausted. ➔ Signs of Stress ◦ Mood Problems, Bodily problems, Cognitive problems (signs). ▪ Physiological-fight or flight response (Cannon) -autonomic nervous system. • Example: light headed, the sweats, dry mouth, shallow breathing, tense, shaking. ➔ Refer to Stress Scale on Handout as well as the Story on the handout labeled “Herbert Freudenberger, 73, Coiner of 'Burnout,' Is Dead”. ◦ Burnout itself does not mean working a long day. ◦ What does Burnout really mean? ▪ “The extinction pf motivation or incentive, especially when one's devotion to a cause or relationship fails to produce the desired results” ~Freudenberger • Signs of Burnout ◦ Lose patience (impatience – feel over-burdened) ◦ Irritability -feel pessimistic and overly-critical ◦ Inflexibility -more rule bound ◦ Behavioural signs in workplace – increased mistakes, absences, lateness, leaving work early, decreased work productivity, argumentativeness, callousness, alcohol/drug use, over-eating/not eating, interpersonal withdrawal. ➔ What are some aspects that cause stress? ◦ Two psychologists: Holmes and Rahe → interested in major life events. These are the key sources of stress (not necessarily bad events but simply a change in our routine).Asked 100's of people about major events in their life that caused sources of stress/ strain. ▪ The major life event that is right in the middle (50) → marriage! ▪ The MOST stressful event • Death of a spouse ◦ Life events -Social Readjustment Rating Scale ◦ Correlated with illness (the more stressful events the higher your chances of obtaining or becoming vulnerable to illness). ➔ Daily Hassles are VERY stressful !! ◦ Example: exams, balancing school and work demands, family problems, money problems, relationship problems etc. ◦ ClassActivity → Exams and trying to balancing school and work demands were rated as the highest stress. ➔ Occupational Stress ◦ High Stress ▪ Exposure to dangerous work conditions -factory workers. ▪ Uncertainty about layoffs. ▪ Middle Management -accountable to someone above them. ▪ Nurses -Neonatal intensive care (taking care of little babies in intensive care). ◦ Low Stress ▪ University Professor. ▪ Clerical Supervisors -someone in charge of secretarial pool. ➔ Refer to Stress Scale on Handout ◦ What is the questionnaire a test of? ▪ Competitiveness and aggressiveness traits. ▪ TypeAPersonality • People prone to heart disease • Famous long term study of people who might be at risk for heart problems. The researchers chose a small place in Massachusetts. They were interested in blood pressure, hypertension etc (biological aspects). They were also interested in personality characteristics. They were worried no one would fund them a grant for a study on personality. So they decided to call it “TypeA” so it would sound scientific and they would get the grant. ◦ People who have high scores on this TypeAleads to higher risks of cardiac problems. ◦ Perfectionism → been associated with a higher risk for illness. ➔ Richard Lazarus ◦ It is not just stressful events and that we had a test in the first part of this class today, it is also how we look at that test. Is this stressor an opportunity for me to fail again and pr
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