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Chapter 15

chapter 15 stress summary

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Western University
Psychology 1000

Chapter 15: Stress, Coping & Health Nature of Stress View stress in three ways: o Stimulus Stressors Events that place strong demands on an individual o Response Cognitive, physiological & behavioural components Presence of negative emotions is an important feature of stress response Links the study of stress with emotion o Organism-environment interaction Transaction between organism & environment Stress Pattern of cognitive appraisals, physiological responses and behavioural tendencies that occurs in response to a perceived imbalance between situational demands and resources needed to cope with them Stressors Specific kinds of eliciting stimuli Place demands that endanger well-being requiring adaption Greater imbalance between demands & resources more stressful a situation Severity o Microstressors Daily hassles & everyday annoyances encountered at school, at work & with family o Catastrophic Events Occur unexpectedly & typically affect large numbers of people Ex. Natural disasters, acts of war, & concentration camp confinement o Major Negative Events Victim of major crime or abuse, loss of loved one, academic or career failure, or illness Sudden, unpredictable events or ones over a long period of time greatest toll on well-being Measuring Stressful Life Events Life Event Scales o Study linkages between life events and well-being o Quantify amount of life stress that a person has experienced over a given period of time o Asks people to indicate: Whether a particular event occurred Appraisal of whether event was positive or negative Whether it was a major event or everyday event Rate the predictability, controllability and duration of each event Early Perspective: Any life event that requires adaptation stressor Modern Perspective: define stress in terms of negative life changes only Stress Response Respond to situations as we perceive them Starting point for stress response is appraisal of situation and its implications for us Four aspects of the appraisal process: o Appraisal of the demands of the situation (primary appraisal) o Appraisal of the resources available to cope with it (secondary appraisal) o Judgments of what the consequences of the situation could be o Appraisal of the personal meaning, that is, what the outcome might imply about us Example: Important Job Interview o Primary Appraisal Situation can be: Benign Neutral/irrelevant Threating How difficult an interview might be How badly you want or need the job o Secondary Appraisal Appraising perceived ability to cope with situation (resources available to deal with it) Coping resources include: Knowledge & abilities Verbal skills Social resources (emotional support) Demands of the interview greatly exceed resources likely experience stress Potential Consequence Failing to cope successfully (seriousness of consequences & likelihood of occurrence) Appraising consequences of failing: costly & likely to occur increases stressfulness Psychological meaning of consequences Related to basic beliefs about yourself or the world Certain beliefs or personal standards can make people vulnerable to particular types of situational demands Ex. If your feelings of self-worth depend on how successful you are in situations, may regard doing poorly during interview as evidence of being worthless Distortions & Mistaken Appraisals o Can occur at any of four points in the appraisal process o Causing inappropriate stress responses o May overestimate the seriousness of situation o May underestimate their own resources o May exaggerate seriousness of consequences and likelihood that they will occur o May have irrational self-beliefs that confer inappropriate meaning on the consequences Appraisal patterns differ from person to person individual variation Appraisals body responds to them: mutually affect one another o Autonomic & somatic feedback can affect reappraisals of how stressful a situation is and whether resources are sufficient to cope with it Chronic Stress & GAS (General Adaptation Syndrome) Described a physiological response pattern to strong and prolonged stressors Consists of three phases: o Alarm Reaction SNS has activating effect on smooth muscles, organs & glands of body Helps the body deal with source of stress Slowing of digestion leads to blood being diverted to muscle Increased heart rate & respiration means blood arriving at skeletal muscles contains extra oxygen Pupil dilation: sensitive to light and enhance vision Endocrine or hormonal, stress response is present Threat leads messages from hypothalamus to pituitary gland & then adrenal glands Adrenal glands produce different hormones - most important for stress is cortisol Triggers an increase in blood sugar - acting on the liver Extra blood arriving at skeletal muscles contains additional sugar and oxygen Suppresses immune system - suppresses inflammation o Cortisone (body converts it to cortisol) treat joint inflammation Natural tendency to maintain homeostasis results in parasympathetic nervous system activity reduce arousal If stressor continues stress response continues body on red alert o Resistance Resources continue to be mobilized so that body can function despite presence of stressor Last a long time bodys resources are being depleted Depends on Severity of stress Individual health Available support o Exhaustion Stressor is intense and persists for long Body's resources are dangerously depleted Increased vulnerability to disease and, in extreme cases, collapse and even death Determined by a number of factors Severity of the stress Person's ability to cope with stress General health Whichever system of body is weakest first to be affected during exhaustion Stress & Health Stress & Psychological Well-Being Effects of stress on psychological well-being clearest & most dramatic with people who have experienced catastrophic life events Some stressors are so traumatic that they can have a strong and long-lasting psychological impact o Depression o Crying spells
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