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Chapter 5

PSYC 3390 Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Blood Sugar, Acute Stress Reaction, Allostatic Load

Course Code
PSYC 3390
Mary Manson

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Chapter 5 11/6/2012 5:21:00 PM
What is Stress?
- We refer to adjustive demands as stressorsto the effects they create
within an organism as stress and to efforts to deal with stress as coping
- The notion of stress can be broken down into eustress (positive stress)
and distress (negative stress)
- For example, stress experienced during a wedding wwould be eutstress,
but during a funeral, distress
- Adjustive demands, or stressors, stem from sources that fall into 3 basic
categories: frustrations, conflcits and pressures
- A wide range of obstacles, both external and internal, can lead to
- In many cases, stress results from the simultaneous occurrence of two or
more incompatible needs or motivesconflicts with which every\one has
to cope may be classified as approach-avoidance, double approach and
double avoidance types
- Approach-avoidance conflicts involve strong tendencies to approach and
to avoid the same goal
- Double-approach conflicts involve choosing between two or more
desirable goals
- Double-avoidance conflicts are those that involve choices between
undesirable conflicts
- The severity of stress is gauged by the degree to which is disrupts
- Pressures force us to speed up, redouble our effort or change the
direction of goal-oriented behaviour, which can tax our coping resources
or even lead to maladaptive behaviour
- Pressures can originate from both external and internal sources
- Occupational demands can be highly stressful and many jobs make
severe demands in terms of responsibility, time and performance
- The actual degree of disruption that occurs or threatens to occur depends
partly on a stressors characteristics; partly on a persons resources, both
personal and situational, for meeting the demands resulting from the
stress; and partly on the relationship between the two

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- About a third of Canadian workers feel quite a bit or extremely stressed
most days at workshift workers, compared to regular schedule workers,
were especially likely to regard their jobs as highly stressful
- The symptoms of stress intensify when a person is more closely involved
in a traumatic situation and when several stressors occur at the same
- Crisis refers to times when a stressful situation approaches or exceeds
the adaptive capacities of a person or groupcrises are often especially
stressful because the stressors are so potent that the coping techniques
we typically use do not work
- Crisis interventionproviding psychological help in times of severe and
special stresshas been widely used
- The social readjustment rating scale is an objective method for
measuring the cumulative stress to which a person has been exposed
over a period of timethis scale measured life stress in terms of life
chance units; the more stressful the event, the more LCUs assigned to it;
at the high end of the scale there is death of a spouse at 100 LCUs and
divorce at 73 LCUs and at the low end of the scale, vacation rates rates
13 LCUs and minor violations of the law rates at 11 LCUs
- people with LCU rates of 300 or more for recent months are at significant
risk of getting a major illness within the next two years
- the Impact of Event Scale measures a persons reaction to a stressful
situation by first identifying the stressor and then posing a series of
questions to determine the sorts of stress-related symptoms that the
person is experiencing
- several criticisms have focused on the items selected for different scales;
the subjectivity of the scoring, the failure to take into account the
relevance of items for the populations studied, and the reliance on
subjects memory of eventsanother limitation is that many of the life
event scales measure chronic problems rather than reactions to specific
environmental events; and depending on what mood the person is in, the
scales rating of how stressful something is can vary
- the Life Event and Difficult Schedule involves a semistructured interview
that places the life event rating variables in a clearly defined context in
order to increase interrater reliability

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- different reactions that people have to environmental events are due in
part to the way they appraise the situationthe same event will be
interpreted differently by different people: there is primary appraisal and
secondary appraisal
- children are especially vulnerable to severe stressors such as natural
disasters, war and terrorism
- people who are generally unsure of their adequacy and worth are much
more likely to experience threat than those who feel generally confident
and secure
- stress tolerance refers to a persons ability to withstand stress without
becoming seriously impaired
- positive social and family relationships can moderate the effects of a
stress on a personthe lack of external supports, either personal or
material, can make a given stressor more potent and weaken a persons
capacity to cope with it
- in china, problems with interpersonal relationships were the most
commonly reported stressors in daily life
- some people create stress for themselves rather than copingstressful
situations might be related to or intensified by a persons beliefs or
- on a biological level, there are immunological defences and damage
repair mechanisms; on a psychological and interpersonal level, there are
learned coping patterns, self defences and support from family and
friends; on a sociocultural level, there are group resources such as labour
unions, religious organizations and law enforcement agencies
- in coping with stress, a person is confronted with meeting the
requirements of the stressor and protecting himself from psychological or
physical damage and disorganization
- a task oriented response may involve making changes in ones self, ones
surroundings or both depending on the situation
- when a persons feelings of adequacy are seriously threatened by a
stressor, a defence-oriented response tends to occur, aka behaviour is
directed primarily at protecting onself from hurt and disorganization,
rather than at resolving the situation
- there are two common types of defence-oriented responsesthe first
consists of responses like crying, repetitive talking, and mourning that
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