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PSYC203- Coping With Chronic Illness, Stress and Intervention.docx

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Dione Healey

PSYC203- Coping with Chronic Illness: Stress and Intervention  What is stress? -Is stress only due to things that happen to us? -Yes, obviously. -Without stressors in the environment, life would be easy. -No, of course not. -There are always stressors in life -Stressors only become meaningful through appraisal -Normal to experience stress -If stress is chronic it can be damaging to health  What is Stress? -Stress traditionally conceptualised as “major life events” (rank order): 1. Death of a spouse 2. Divorce 3. Marital separation => Chronic (Physical) Illness 4. Jail Term 5. Death of a relative  The Transactional Model -Lazarus and Folkman (1984) proposed life events cause chronic daily “hassles” = minor unpleasant events (acute) -Acute Stress Disorder Criteria A. Anxiety following a traumatic stressor (eg, an earthquake) B. Intrusive memories or dissociation (surreal or amnesia) and hypervigilance or avoidance (place or thoughts) C. Lasting for 3 days to 1 month after the traumatic even (>1 month= possible post-traumatic stress disorder) D. Clinically significant distress or impairment E. Not due to a substance, head injury, or brief psychosis. -Modelled stress as an ongoing process of transaction between the individual and their environment. -The individual makes appraisals of: -The situation = primary appraisals -How able they are to cope = secondary appraisals  What is an appraisal? -The two appraisals within the transactional model are: -Primary (stress) appraisals: -Harm: the negative outcomes experienced so far -Threat: potential negative outcomes -Challenge: potential positive outcomes -Secondary (coping ability) appraisals: -Self: can I cope? -Help: who can help me cope?  Stress and Coping when sick -Primary appraisals: -Harm: This symptom is unbearable -Threat: Maybe something’s really wrong -Challenge: I had shed loads of sick days I can use -Secondary appraisals: -Self: I don’t know if I can cope – I’ve never felt this ill -Potential help: I’ll ask mum -Professional help: Maybe I should see my GP. Or google it.  Ways of Coping -Three main types of coping effort: -Problem-focused (usually active and approach in nature) -Emotion-focused (often passive and avoidant in nature) -Meaning-focused (also passive but approach -> growth) -Hard to categorise a specific coping activity -What about seeking advice from a close friend? -May involve focusing on the problem -May also involve help dealing with emotions  Rheumatoid Athritis (RA): Reminder -Affects 1 in 100 people (more women) - Can onset at any age -Autoimmune – sometimes controllable by medication -Cyclical – chron
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