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SOC363 – Week 1 Reading – Stressors, Stress, and Distress.docx

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David Young

SOC363 – Week 1 Reading – Stressors, Stress, and Distress - stress is commonly used in daily life - there is a confusion about what stress is and what stress is not o yet overuse as a vague catch all phrase for all that ails - saying “I feel Stressed” often refers to distress o referring to the behavioral response to stressful conditions - saying “I have allot of stress in my life” often refers to stressors o forces acting on us - rarely use stress to refer to “stress: in the sequence of stressors, stress, distress - there is an overgeneralized assumption that stress is the fundamental cause of all of life’s problems Stressors, Stress, and Distress: - stressor may not be as threatening to one person as it is to another because he or she has experienced it before - stress may not turn into distress because that person has high levels of social support - it is more important to define stressors than stress - stress is usually defined in a biological state as a generalized physiological alert - stressors are conditions of threat, challenge, demands, or structural constraints. o Can occur in different ways Two Stress Models: Biological Stress Model: - 4 Stages o 1) Stressors SOC363 – Week 1 Reading – Stressors, Stress, and Distress o 2) conditioning factors that alter the impact of the stressor on the organism  ex. coping mechanisms o 3) general adaption syndrome  3 stage response: alarm, state of resistance, stage of exhaustion o 4) responses  maladaptive or adaptive - separation of stressors from coping capacity is important - occurrence of stress is different form the behavioral responses distress and depression - stressor defined as that which produces stress o 3 problems w/ this definition:  1. Stressor is simply a problem, actual threat value is still to be defined  2. Stressors may undermine mental heath over time w/o a biological stress response  3. May have other consequences beyond health outcomes - cannot use the biological stress model as a basis for defining stressors Engineering Stress Model: - formulated to understand the effects of external forces on the integrity of metals - stress becomes a stressor when the level of force exceeds limits defining structural integrity - stressors and stress are not distinct phases in this model o both refer to external threat - strain is the response of the material - model allows for deterioration of the capacity to resist - at some point the size of the stressor will overwhelm the capacity to withstand - stress can occur in more than one form o distinction between catastrophic and continuous stressors  just like life events and chronic stress - allostatic load: o notion of continual long-term load or force o will increase over time Event vs. Chronic Stressors: - events stressors: o discrete observable events o clear onset and offset - chronic stressors: o do not necessarily start as an event but develop slow and continuously o have a longer time course o usually less self limiting SOC363 – Week 1 Reading – Stressors, Stress, and Distress - distinguished by the time course and differences in development, existence, and ending - some stressors have mixed of blended characteristics o more likely a event and chronic stressor that have been “spliced” together - ex. allows distinguishment between getting divorced and being divorced Forms of Chronic Stress: - 7 kinds of problems: o 1. Threats  threat of regular physical abuse or crime o 2. Demands  facing constant levels of expectation o 3. Structural constraints  la
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