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Psych 1000 - Chapter 15 Notes.docx

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Psychology 1000
Terry Biggs

Chapter 15 Notes - Theory, research and intervention are a continuous cycle - Program evaluation research o How do we know whether an evaluation works o Can we measure the effects, both intended, and unintended, of the program o Do the benefits of the program outweigh the costs o Is the program the most efficient way to use resources - Psychologists view stress in three different ways o Stimulus o Response o Organism-environment reaction - Early Childhood Interventions o Results of a test showed that Head Start children performed no better in school than comparison children o Abecedarian Program  Majority of participants were black  Intervention from 6 months to 5 years  Focused on cognitive skills  At age 14 children in the preschool condition had higher IQs and higher scores on standardized tests  Late training (between 5 to 8 years) had little effect o High/Scope Perry Preschool Program  Studied African-American children in Michigan  Training on logic, math, music, language, literacy, creativity, initiative  Preschool group had lower crime rate, required less welfare assistance, exhibited better academic performance and progress, had higher income and home ownership o Penn Optimism Project – Preventing Teenage Depression  Helps children identify and reconsider negative beliefs about selves and to replace pessimistic attributions about successes with more optimistic ones  Initial results show a developmentally-predicted increase in depression for the control group but not for the intervention group - Stress – a pattern of cognitive appraisals, physiological responses, and behavioral tendencies that occur between situational demands and the resources needed to cope with them - Stressors – specific kinds of eliciting stimuli, whether physical or physiological that place demands on us that endanger well-being requiring us to adapt in some manner o Can range in severity from microstressors to very severe stressors o Catastrophic events often occur unexpectedly and typically affect large numbers of people o Major negative events also require major adaptation o In general, events which occur suddenly and unpredictably and which affect a person over a long period of time seem to take the greatest toll on well-being - Measuring stressful events is done with life event scales, which quantify the amount of life stress that a person has experienced over a given period of time. They can also get peoples’ appraisal of whether the event was positive/negative, and major/minor o Life event scales are subject to possible distortion and failure of recall - The stress response o The appraisal process has four aspects that are of particular significance  Appraisal of the demands of the situation (primary appraisal)  Appraisal of the resources available to cope with it (secondary appraisal)  Judgments of what the consequences of the situation could be  Appraisal of the personal meaning, that, what the outcome might imply about us o Appraisals and physiological responses mutually affect one another - Chronic stress and the GAS o Selye described a physiological response pattern to strong and prolonged stressors that he called the general adaptation syndrome (GAS)  Alarm reaction – the shift to sympathetic dominance causes increased arousal. During a period of stress the most important hormone produced is cortisol (in the adrenal glands), which triggers an increase in blood sugar and suppresses the immune system. Persistent secretion of cortisol is associated with a number of serious clinical conditions such as depression and anxiety disorders  Resistance – if there is continued exposure to stress the body goes into the resistance stage where resources continue to be mobilized so that the person can function despite the stressor. The length of the stage depends on the severity of the stressor, but eventually remaining bodily resources are no longer sufficient and the resistance stage ends  Exhaustion – this stage occurs if the stressor is intense and persists for too long. In this stage, the body’s resources are dangerously depleted and there is increased vulnerability to disease, collapse, and even death - Stress and health o Effects of stress on psychological well being are clearest and most dramatic among people who have experienced catastrophic life events. Some stressors are so traumatic they can have a strong and lasting psychological impact o Rape trauma syndrome – for months or years after rape, victims may feel nervous and fear another attack, they may have nightmares and be frightened when they are alone, outdoors, or in crowds. They also report decreased enjoyment of sexual activity long after the rape o The more negative life events people report the more likely they are also to report symptoms of psychological distress  We may conclude that stress causes distress but it may also be because  Peoples’ level of distress may influence their reporting of negative life events  Psychological distress may cause more negative events to occur  Neuroticism (a heightened tendency to experience negative emotions and get oneself into stressful situations through maladaptive behavior) may be causing both stress and distress o Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – represents what can happen to victims of extreme stress and trauma. It is a sever anxiety disorder that is caused by exposure to traumatic life events. There are four major symptoms  Severe anxiety, physiological arousal, and distress  Painful, uncontrollable reliving of the event  Emotional numbing and avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma  Intense survivor guilt Some individuals also show self-destructive and impulsive behavior. Civilian victims of war are more likely to develop PTSD than soldiers, and women more likely than men. The development of PTSD is influenced by the victim’s social support, the presence of significant childhood stresses, personality factors, coping strategies, and pre- existing psychological conditions. Also the problems caused by PTSD can increase later vulnerability to other disorders - Stress can combine with other physical an physiological factors to influence the entire spectrum of physical illness, from the common cold to cancer, etc., and it can also affect a preexisting medical condition - Stress can also cause people to behave in ways that increase the risk of illness, thereby indirectly causing it - Additional early stimulation and early mild life stresses can help inoculate the person against subsequent stressors - Vulnerability and Protective Factors o Vulnerability factors – increase peoples’ susceptibility to stressful events. They include lack of a support system, poor coping skills, tendencies to become anxious or pessimistic, etc. o Protective factors – environmental or personal resources that help people cope more effectively with stress such as social support, coping skills, and personality factors o Having social support has direct and buffering effects that help cope with stress
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