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Psych 102: Stress, Coping, & Health.doc

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PSYC 102
Brooke Seal

Psychology 102: Intro to Psychology Part II Textbook Notes Chapter 15: Stress, Coping, and Health THE NATURE OF STRESS -Three ways to view stress: -as a stimulus -a response (cognitive, physiological, and behavioural components) -or an organism-environment interaction (transactional conception of stress: a pattern of cognitive appraisals, physiological responses, and behavioural tendencies (see table below): STRESSOR NTERNAL PROCESSES C OPING AND CHARACTERISTICS TASK BEHAVIOURS SITUATION COGNITIVE P HYSIOLOGICAL DEMANDS / APPRAISAL RESPONSES RESOURCES -OF DEMANDS -SYMPATHETIC (STRESSOR ) (PRIMARY ) AROUSAL -INTENSITY / -OF RESOURCES STRESS SEVERITY (SECONDARY ) HORMONES -TASK - -DURATION -OF IRRELEVANT -PREDICTABILITY CONSEQUENCES RESPONSES -CONTROLLABILITY OF MEANING OF -BEHAVIOURAL -CHRONICITY CONSEQUENCES RIGIDITY OR DISORGANIZATION -SELF- DESTRUCTIVE E FFECTS BEHAVIOURS (SUBSTANCE -WORRY -MUSCLE TENSION RACING ELEVATED HEART ABUSE , THOUGHTS RATE ALCOHOLISM ) -LOW SELF - -SHORTNESS OF CONFIDENCE BREATH -EXPECTING THE INCREASED WORST SUSCEPTIBILITY FEELING HOPELESS TO ILLNESS STRESSORS (something that elicits a stimuli or events that place strong demands on one) -Types of stressors: -microstressors (daily hassles and everyday annoyances) -catastrophic events (occur unexpectedly; affect large # of ppl; i.e: natural disasters, acts of war, concentration camp confinement) -major negative events (victimization of a crime or abuse, death of a loved one, academic or career failure, mjr illness) 1 T HE STRESS R ESPONSE -we respond to situations as we perceive them: we make appraisals of the situations & their implications for us. -Four aspects of the appraisal process: 1) appraisal of the demands of the situation (Primary appraisal) [benign, neutral/irrelevant, or threatening; its significance to one’s well-being] 2) appraisal of the resources available to cope with it (Secondary appraisal) 3) judgments of what the consequences of the situation could be 4) appraisal of the personal meaning, that is, what the outcome might imply about or for us C HRONIC STRESS AND THE GAS -general adaptation syndrome (GAS)— (Hans Selye, endocrinologist @ University of Montreal) a physiological response pattern to strong and prolonged stressors; consists of 3 phases: 1) Alarm reaction: a rapid increase in physiological arousal (sudden activation of the sympathetic nervous system and release of stress hormones by the endocrine system (cortisol) 2) Resistance: the parasympathetic nervous system tries oppose the continued red-alert state of the sympathetic nervous system; the adrenal glands release epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol to maintain increased arousal 3) Exhaustion: the adrenal glands lose their ability to function normally (susceptibility to illness) STRESS & HEALTH S TRESS AND PSYCHOLOGICAL W ELL-BEING -rape trauma syndrome—the aftermath/reaction of experiencing the trauma of rape: victims feel nervous and fear a future attack; a report of decreased enjoyment of sexual activity P OST-TRAUMATIC STRESS D ISORDER (PTSD) -occurs to victims of extreme stress & trauma -Four major groups of symptoms: 1) severe anxiety, physiological arousal (stress response), and distress 2) painful, uncontrollable reliving of the event(s) in flashbacks, dreams, and fantasies 3) emotional numbing and avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma 4) intense ‘survivor guilt’ in instances where they witnessed others killed but they survived. - traumas caused by human perpetrators (war, rape, assault, torture) tend to cause more severe PTSD than do natural disasters) -woman more likely than men to develop PTSD -the likelihood of developing PTSD is influcned by: victim’s social support, the presence of significant childhood stresses, personality factors, coping strategies, and pre-existing psychological conditions 2 STRESS AND ILLNESS -stress can combine with other physical and psychological factors to influence an entire spectrum of physical illness (either a new condition, or it can worsen an already-existing medical condition); can occur immediately (heart attack due to earthquake) or take time (a bereaving widow following death of their spouse shows a higher mortality rate) -prolonged elevation of stress hormone levels is associated with a number of clinical conditions, including depression and anxiety disorders -stress hormones (i.e. cortisol) have an important effect on the brain and cognitive functions [The hippocampus, important for learning and memory, is especially sensitive to cortisol (i.e. elevated stress hormone levels deteriorate the hippocampus)] -what can protect us from the inevitable stresses of life? -if baby rat pups were given additional stimulation (daily handling= a stressor) st during 1 wk of life, they showed faster recovery from stress during adulthood -in baby primates, mild early-life stress was shown to strengthen emotional, cognitive, and hormonal resistance to stressors in later life -Therefore: mild stresses early on in life serve to inoculate the individual against future stressors VULNERABILITY AND PROTECTIVE FACTORS -vulnerability factors: increase people’s susceptibility to stressful events/ reduce stress resistance (i.e. lack of a support network, poor coping skills, and tendencies to become anxious o
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