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Chapter 13

Chapter 13 PS102.docx

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Carolyn Ensley

PS102 Chapter 13 – Stress, Coping, and Health Week 12 The Nature of Stress -Stress is any circumstances that threaten or are perceived to threaten one’s well-being and that thereby tax one’s coping abilities -The threat may be to immediate physical safety, long-range security, self-esteem, reputation, peace of mind, or many other things that one values Stress as an Everyday Event -Many everyday events, such as waiting in line, having car trouble, shopping for gifts, misplacing your cell phone, and even commuting are stressful -An individual’s response to a stressor is a function of a number of factors, including the type of stressor and its controllability, biological factors such as age and gender, and the individual’s personal experience with stress Appraisal: Stress Lies in the Eye of the Beholder -Primary appraisal is an initial evaluation of whether an event is (1) irrelevant to you, (2) relevant but not threatening or (3) stressful -Secondary appraisal is an evaluation of your coping resources and options for dealing with the stress Major Types of Stress -Acute stressors are threatening events that have a relatively short duration and a clear endpoint -Chronic stressors are threatening events that have a relatively long duration ad no readily apparent time limit Frustration -Frustration occurs in any situation in which the pursuit of some goal is thwarted Conflict -Conflict occurs when two or more incompatible motivations or behavioural impulses compete for expression -In an approach-approach conflict, a choice must be made between two attractive goals -In an avoidance-avoidance conflict, a choice must be made between two unattractive goals -In an approach-avoidance conflict, a choice must be mad about whether to pursue a single goal that has both attractive and unattractive aspects Change -Life changes are any noticeable alterations in one’s living circumstances that require readjustment Pressure -Pressure involves expectations or demands that one behaves in a certain way Responding to Stress Emotional Responses -When people are under stress, they often react emotionally PS102 Chapter 13 – Stress, Coping, and Health Week 12 Emotions Commonly Elicited -Our emotions go through phases during and after a stressful event -Although many emotions can be evoked by stressful events, some are certainly more likely than others -Common emotional responses to stress include: -Annoyance, anger, and rage -Apprehension, anxiety, and fear -Dejection, sadness, and grief -Positive emotions do not vanish during times of severe stress -Positive emotions appear to play a key role in helping people bounce back from the difficulties associated with stress -Positive emotions alter people’s mindsets, their creativity and flexibility in problem solving -Positive emotions can under the lingering effects of negative emotions, and thus short circuit the potentially damaging physiological responses to stress -Positive emotions can promote rewarding social interactions that help to build valuable social support, enhanced coping strategies, and other ensuring personal resources -Positive emotional style is associated with an enhanced immune system Effects of Emotional Arousal -Strong emotional arousal can also interfere with efforts to cope with stress -As a task becomes more complex, the optimal level of arousal tends to decrease Physiological Responses -The physiological changes that accompany the emotional responses The Fight-or-Flight Response -A physiological reaction to threat in which the autonomic nervous system mobilizes the organism for attacking (fight) or fleeing (flight) an enemy The General Adaptation Syndrome -A model of the body’s stress response, consisting of three stages: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion -An alarm reaction occurs when an organism first recognizes the existence of a threat -In the stage of resistance, physiological changes stabilize as coping efforts get under way -In the stage of exhaustion, the body’s resources may become depleted Brain-Body Pathways -There are two pathways, directed by the hypothalamus -The first pathway is routed through the autonomic nervous system -The second pathway involves more direct communication between the brain and the endocrine system -There may be sex differences in reactivity along both of these brain-body pathways Behavioural Responses -Coping refers to active efforts to master, reduce, or tolerate the demands created by stress -Most behavioural responses to stress involve coping -Coping responses may be adaptive or maladaptive -People cope with stress in many ways, but most individuals exhibit certain styles of coping that are fairly consistent across situations PS102 Chapter 13 – Stress, Coping, and Health Week 12 Giving Up and Blaming Oneself -People sometimes give up and withdraw from the battle -Learned helplessness is passive behaviour produced by exposure to unavoidable aversive events -Learned helplessness seems to occur when individuals come to believe that events are beyond their control -Blaming oneself is another common response when people are confronted by stressful difficulties Striking Out at Others -People often respond to stressful events by striking out at others with aggressive behaviour -Aggression is any behaviour that is intended to hurt someone, either physically or verbally -The frustration-aggression hypothesis holds that aggression is always caused by frustration -Sometimes aggression can be displaced -Catharsis refers to a release of emotional tension -It is good to vent anger -Most studies find that behaving in an aggressive manner tends to fuel more anger and aggression Indulging Oneself -Stress sometimes leads to reduced impulse control, or self-indulgence -When troubled by stress, many people engage in excessive consumption – unwise patterns of eating, drinking, smoking, using drugs, spending money, gambling, and so forth -Studies have linked stress to increased eating -Problem gambling is increasingly becoming a problem in Canada -Internet addiction consists of spending an inordinate amount of time on the Internet and inability to control online use Defensive Coping -Defence mechanisms are largely unconscious reactions that protect a person from unpleasant emotions such as anxiety and guilt -Some defence mechanisms: denial, fantasy, isolation, undoing, overcompensation -Defence mechanisms shield the individual from the emotional discomfort that’s so often elicited by stress -Defence mechanisms work through self-deception – they distort reality so that it doesn’t appear so threatening -Defence mechanisms work their magic by bending reality in self-serving ways -Defensive behaviour tends to be unhealthy Constructive Coping -Constructive coping refers to relatively healthful efforts that people make to deal with stressful events -Connotes a healthful, positive approach without promising success -Constructive coping involves confronting problems directly -Constructive coping is based on reasonably realistic appraisals of your stress and coping resources -Constructive coping involves learning to recognize, and in some cases regulate, potentially disruptive emotional reactions to stress PS102 Chapter 13 – Stress, Coping, and Health Week 12 The Effects of Stress on Psychological Functioning Impaired Task Performance -Stress takes its toll on the ability to perform effectively on a task at hand -Chronic stress undermined participants’ performance on a task requiring attention shits Burnout -Burnout involves physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and a lowered sense of self-efficacy that can be brought on gradually by chronic work-related stress -Exhaustion includes chronic fatigue, weakness, and low energy -Cynicism is manifested in highly negative attitudes toward oneself, one’s work, and life in general -Reduced self-efficacy involves declining feelings of co
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