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SOC363 – Week 1 Reading – Life Change, An Abandoned Explanation.docx

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David Young

SOC363 – Week 1 Reading – Life Change, An Abandoned Explanation Stress: - mentally or emotionally disruptive or upsetting condition occurring in response to adverse external influences and capable of affecting physical health o characterized by increased heart rate, rise in bp, muscular tension, irritability, and depression o explanations can differ greatly - life changes used to be widely accepted as the main explanation of the social patterns of distress despite weak supporting evidence - life change events mark major alterations in a persons daily activities o include transitions of events that are relatively uncommon within a lifetime but common in a community as a whole o require adaptation and readjustment of a persons habitual activities and social relations - 1960’s major changes in a persons life leads to increased susceptibility to disease o peoples behaviors settle into an optimum pattern that minimizes resources expended  big changes disrupt habits and force the person to use mental and physical energy adapting o seen that those with more units of change suffered more illness and psychological distress General Adaptation Syndrome: (Seyle) - body’s general response to broad array of assaults and injuries - stresses cause the hypothalamus to cause a secretion pathway - physical stressors (heat and cold), behavioral stressors (forced exercise or restriction of movements), psychological stressors (noise and crowding) all exhibit same changes in body - Seyle: interested in the somatic response to stressors such as ulcers or susceptibility to infection From Rat Pathology to Human Distress: - needed to adapt concepts and methods from rats to humans - look for things in humans that disrupt habitual activities and demand adjustment to a new state Biological Homeostasis to Social Readjustment: Social Readjustment Rating Scale: measures levels of readjustment - physical illness increased with the sum of readjustment weight of a persons events in the previous year - this emphasis on change is purely theoretical o structured on the assumption that change is the stressful aspect of events  this assumption never tested SOC363 – Week 1 Reading – Life Change, An Abandoned Explanation Somatic Disease to Emotional Distress: - switch from evaluating somatic disease (rats) to emotional distress (humans) as outcome of interest - strong correlation between depressed moods and physiological malaise o anything causing psychological illness is suspected of causing emotional distress - never examined impact of negative and positive effects separately o turns out that undesirable events but not desirable events cause stress Contradictory Evidence: - never much evidence that life change was emotionally distressing - ex. abortion o not a change just an undesirable event o has disturbing connotations but does not involve a mojor realignment of daily life Und
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