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Chapter 4

Chapter 4: Coping Processes

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Psychology 2035A/B
Doug Hazlewood

PSYCH2035 Chapter 4 Coping ProcessesCoping efforts to master reduce or tolerate the demands created by stressPeople cope with stress in different ways 400 distinct coping techniquesCarver Scheier and Weintraub found that they could sort their participants coping tactics into 14 categoriesIts most adaptive to use a variety of coping strategies Come to rely on some strategies more than othersFlexibility in coping is more desirable than consistently relying on the same strategyIncreased resilience and decreased distress during stressful eventsFlexible copers can differentiate among stressful events in terms controllability and impact which is important information to know when choosing a coping strategyAvoid being in a rut of problematic strategyCoping strategies show only moderate stability across varied situations Coping strategies vary in their adaptive value How effective they are vs how counterproductiveNo strategy is guaranteed successful depends on the situation Common Coping Patterns of Limited ValueGiving upThis response of apathy and inaction tends to be associated with the emotional reactions of sadness and dejectionSeligmansLearned Helplessness a passive behavior produced by exposure to unavoidable aversive eventsRats were given shocks and then taught how to escape some rats didnt even bother to learn how to escape PSYCH2035 Chapter 4 Coping ProcessesIn adolescents learned helplessness is associated with disengagement in academics and an increase in depression Environmental stressors such as excessive noise crowding and traffic often produce a syndrome that resembles learned helplessnessCognitive interpretation of aversive events determines whether they develop learned helplessnessWhen they believe that the events are out of their controlUsually in people who exhibit a pessimistic explanatory style Tend to attribute setbacks to personal inadequacies instead of situational factors Associated with poorer physical health and increased depression and anxiety Behavioral Disengagement giving up CarverIncreased distressthSeptember 11 increased anxiety shortly after the attack even for those indirectly affectedGood sometimesIf you are thrown into a job that you are not equipped to handle it might be better to quit rather than face constant pressure and diminishing selfesteem Withdrawing effort from unattainable goals can be an effective coping strategy associated with a reduction in anxiety and depression and better selfreported health Acting AggressivelyRoad Rage maladaptive ways in which drivers cope with the stress anxiety and hostility experienced while driving Common enough that some professionals are calling for road rage to become an official psychiatric diagnosis Aggression is any behavior intended to hurt someone either physically or verbally FrustrationAggression Hypothesis aggression is always due to frustration Decades of research eventually showed that there isnt an inevitable link between the two but frustration does frequently elicit aggression When someone is provoked displaced aggression is a common response More likely if the person ruminates about being provoked if he or she has a depleted capacity for selfcontrol or if alcohol is involved Feelings of security and anonymity in ones personal space also influence aggressive tendencies Road rage more common in those who report a territorial attachment to their cars and those who feel anonymous or detached in their cars because of locked doors or tinted windows Catharsis behaving aggressively could get pentup emotion out of ones system and thus be adaptive freudSociety accepts this hypothesis but experimental studies finds that behaving in an aggressive manner tends to fuel more anger and aggression Playing violent games was related to increased aggression physiological arousal and aggressive thoughts and to decreased Prosocial behavior Almost as strong as the relationship between smoking and cancerDesensitizes people to violent acts encourages selfviews and automatic aggressive responses and increases feelings of hostility Preliminary research using brainimaging procedures indicates that although people are aware that video game violence is fantasy the brain reacts to it as if it is real Some argue that anger can be beneficial when one is about to engage in a confrontational task As a coping strategy acting aggressively has little value Usually backfires because it elicits aggressive responses from others that generate more anger Parents children spouses and bosses usually feel obliged to aggress back at you Interpersonal conflicts that often emerge from aggressive behavior actually induce additional stress
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