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Stres study notes

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Dax Urbszat

Chapter 13: Stress, Coping and Health Introduction Many circumstances can create stress Some are expected and routine in course of normal life Chapter looks at nature of stress, how people cope with it and the potential effects According to Anisman and others, exposure to stress is common and may lead to physiological and psychological changes If the body is effected greatly by stress, there may be negative consequences for health Way people in health professions think about physical illness has changed a lot in last 20 years Traditional view of physical illness as a purely biological phenomenon has given way to biopsychosocial model of illness Biopsychosocial model: holds that physical illness is caused by complex interaction of biological, psychological and sociocultural factors Doesnt suggest that biological factors are unimportant Simply asserts that these factors operate in psychosocial context that is also influential Before 20 century, principle threats to health were contagious diseases ex. Smallpox, yellow fever, polio, malaria ; however, they were improved due to nutrition, public hygiene, sanitation and medical treatment Chronic Diseases develop gradually (ie. Cancer, stroke, heart disease) Psychological factors like stress and lifestyle play key role in development of these diseases Growing recognition that psychological factors influence physical health eventually led to emergence of new specialty in psychology called health psychology Health psychology: concerned with how psychosocial factors relate to promotion and maintenance of health and with the causation, prevention and treatment of illness The Nature of Stress Stress: any circumstances that threaten or are perceived as threaten ones well-being and that thereby tax ones coping abilities Threat may be immediate physical safety, long-range security, self-esteem, reputation, peace of mind, or other things that one values Stress as an Everyday Event Studies conducted in aftermath of natural disasters typically find elevated rates of psychological problems and physical illness in communities affected by these disasters Many everyday events (ie. Waiting in line, losing valuables, shopping for gifts) can also be stressful o Studies confirm that everyday problems and minor nuisances of life are also important forms of stress Major and minor stressors are not entirely independent o Example Major Stressor =divorce Minor Stressors = finding a lawyer, changing bank accounts, taking on new responsibilities According to Anisman and Merali, persons response to a stressor is a function of number of factors including type of stressor and its controllability, biological factors such as age and gender and persons previous experience with stress Lazarus and colleagues- developed scale to measure everyday hassles and found that routine hassles may have important harmful effects on mental and physical health Stress adds up o Routine stress at home, school, work may be separate, but collectively they can create great strain Appraisal: Stress Lies in the Eye of the Beholder Experience of feeling stressed depends on what events one notices and how one chooses to appraise or interpret them Something that may cause stress in one person could be normal for another person People arent objective in their appraisals of potentially stressful events Stress lies in the eye (Actually the mind) of the beholder Major Types of Stress Variety of situations can be stressful for one person or another Theorists have tried to analyze nature of stressful events and divide them into subtypes Four Major Types of Stress: Frustratio defn: occurs in any situation in which the pursuit of some goal is n thwarted experience frustration when you want something but cant have it can elicit anger and aggression most frustrations are brief and insignificant some frustrations can be sources of significant stress failures and losses are two common kinds of frustrations that are often highly stressful Conflict unavoidable feature of everyday life defn: occurs when 2 or more incompatible motivations or behavioural impulses compete for expression Freud proposed 100 years ago that internal conflicts generate considerable psychological distress higher levels of conflict associated with higher levels of anxiety, depression, and physical symptoms conflicts come in three types (Kurt Lewin) Approach- Approach conflict : choice must be made between two attractive goals o least stressful o reasonably happy ending o may be troublesome if its over important decisions Avoidance- Avoidance conflict: choice must be made between two unattractive goals o most unpleasant and highly stressful Approach Avoidance conflict: choice must be made about whether to pursue single goal that has both attractive and unattractive aspects o common and can be quite stressful o may produce vacillation (going back and forth to make a decision) Change idea that life changes represent key type of stress life changes: any noticeable alternation in ones life that needs readjustment importance of life changes was demonstrated by Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe in 60s o theorized that stress makes people more vulnerable to illness o positive stress can also contribute (getting married, having baby) o according to Holmes, positive events cause stress because they produce change o Holmes and Rahe developed Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) This scale assigns numerical values to 43 major life events. These values are supposed to reflect magnitude of the readjustment required by each change. In using the scale, respondents are asked to indicate how often they experience any of these 43 events during a certain time period (usually the past year). The o Studies show that people with higher scores on the SSRS tend to be more vulnerable to physical illness and psychological problems Widespread conclusion that life change is inherently stressful Turns out that negative life events cause most of the stress tapped by the SSRS Apparent that the SRRS assess a wide range of stressful experiences, not just life changes Little reason to believe that change is inherently or inevitably stressful Pressure Pressure comes from a mismatch between what we have to or want to do and the time available Defn: involves expectations or demands that one behave in a certain way Pressures to conform to others expectations is common Concept of pressure receives a lot of attention from researchers o Weiten devised scale to measure pressure as form of life stress o It assess self-imposed pressure, pressure from work/school, and pressure from family relationships, peer pressure and intimate relationships o Strong correlation found between pressure and variety of psychological symptoms and problems o Pressure more strongly related to measures of mental health than the SSRS and other established measured of stress are Pressure related to academic pursuits may actually undermine academic performance and lead to problematic escape behaviours such as drinking Tend to think of pressure as something imposed on us by outside forces; studies of high school and postsecondary students find that pressure is often self-imposed (people often put pressure on themselves) Self-imposed pressure not unique to pressure o Other forms of stress can also be self-generated
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