Chapter 13 – Stress
March 3, 2011
The Nature of Stress
Stress is any circumstance that threatens or perceives to threaten one’s well
being and thereby tax one’s coping
Many everyday events such as waiting in line, having car trouble, shopping
for gifts and/or misplacing one’s chequebook are all different types of stress
A major event such as getting a divorce can also lead to a number of stressors
such as looking for a lawyer, changing bank accounts and taking on new
The Culmative Nature of Stress Stress adds up: At home, at school and at work
A study of hospitalized patients awaiting surgery showed only a slight
correlation between the objective seriousness of a person’s upcoming
surgery and the amount of fear experienced by the patient. This notion
concludes that people’s appraisal of stressful events is highly
Major Types of Stressors
Acute Stressors: are threatening events that have a relatively short
duration and a clear end point. For example, dealing with an exam.
Chronic Stressors: are threatening stressors that have a relatively long
duration and no really apparent time limit. For example, an ongoing
pressure from a hostile boss at work.
Four Major Types of Stressors
1.Frustration: This is when the pursuit of the goal is thwarted
Traffic jams, can lead to intense anger and aggression
Failure and losses can also cause frustration
2.Conflict: This is when two or more incompatible motives or behavioral
impulses compete for expression.
High levels of conflict are associated with high levels of anxiety,
depression and physical symptoms
•Approach- approach is when a choice must be made between two
•Avoidance- avoidance is when a choice must be made between two
unattractive goals. For example, choosing whether to be
unemployed or doing a degrading job.
•Approach- avoidance is when a choice between choosing a goal that is both
attractive and unattractive in some aspects, therefore, you find yourself
going back and fourth until you find the perfect solution.
3.Change: Any noticeable alteration in one’s living circumstance that requires
The Social Readjustment Scale (SRS) measures life change as a form of stress
People with higher scores on SRS tend to be more vulnerable to many kinds
of physical illness