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Chapter 13

PS102 - Textbook Chapter 13 Notes.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Eileen Wood

Chapter 13: Stress, Coping and Health • Bio psychosocial model: holds that physical illness is caused by a complex interaction of biological, psychological and sociocultural factors • Health psychology: concerned with how psychosocial factors relate to the promotion and maintenance of health and with the causation, prevention and treatment of illness • Stress: any circumstances that threaten or are perceived to threaten one’s well-being and that thereby tax one’s coping abilities o Overwhelming, traumatic crises (tornadoes, hurricanes etc.) o Everyday stress  Waiting in line, car trouble, shopping for gifts, commuting • Feeling stressed depends on what events one notices and how they choose to interpret them o Stressful events for one person may be a routine for another o Ex. Going on a date with someone new may be exciting for some and stressful for others • Primary appraisal: an initial evaluation of whether an event is (1) irrelevant to you, (2) relevant but not threatening or (3) stressful o Ex. Upcoming psych exam is stressful • Secondary appraisal: is an evaluation of your coping resources and options for dealing with stress o Ex. How stressful the exam appeared, in light of your assessment of your ability to deal with the event • Anxious, neurotic patients report more stress than others • Acute stressors: threatening events that have a relatively short duration and a clear endpoint o Ex. Having an encounter with a belligerent drunk, dealing with the challenge of a major exam • Chronic stressors: are threatening events that have a relatively long duration and no readily apparent time limit o ex. Persistent financial strains, on-going pressure from hostile boss • Four types of stress which are frustration, conflict, change and pressure • Frustration: occurs in any situation in which the pursuit of some goal is thwarted o Experienced when you want something but you can’t have it o Most frustrations are brief and insignificant o Can be the cause of significant stress  Failures and losses are two common which are highly stressful o Failing – everyone experiences it and fails in some of their endeavours o Losses – deprived of something you’re accustomed to having • Conflict: occurs when two or more incompatible motivations or behavioural impulses compete for expression o Three types: approach-approach, avoidance-avoidance, approach- avoidance o Approach-approach: a choice must be made between two attractive goals  Least stressful out of the three conflicts  Reasonably happy ending usually  Decision making can be stressful since both are something that are appealing to you o Avoidance-avoidance: a choice must be made between two unattractive goals  Most unpleasant and highly stressful o Approach-avoidance: a choice must be made about whether to pursue a single goal that has both attractive and unattractive aspects  Ex. Career promotion with high pay but have to move to another city where you don’t want to live  Common and can be quite stressful  Often produce vacillation • Meaning you go back and forth and are indecisive • Once you’re about to make the decision you go back • Life Changes: are any noticeable alterations in one’s living circumstances that require readjustment o First demonstrated by Thomas Holmes, Richard Rahe + colleagues o Stress might make people more vulnerable to illness o Positive events that causes stress: getting married, having a baby, moving to a new home  Stressful because changes in personal relationships, work, finances o Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS)  43 major life events  Values reflecting how stressful that situation is  Top three: Death of a spouse, divorce and marital separation  People with high scores on SRRS are vulnerable to many kinds of physical illnesses as well as psychological problems • Pressure: involves expectations or demands that one behave in a certain way o Under pressure to perform when you’re expected to execute tasks and responsibilities quickly, efficiently and successfully  Ex. Sales person under pressure to move merchandise o Pressures to conform to others’ expectations are common  Ex. People in business are expected to dress a certain way • Responding to Stress o Emotional Response  Based on the event there are different emotions experienced • Annoyance, anger, grief, anxiety, fear, sadness  Strong links between specific cognitive reactions to stress and emotions  Self-blame leads to guilt, helplessness to sadness  Broaden and build theory of positive emotions (Fredrickson’s model) • 1. Positive emotions can alter one’s mindset • 2. Undo the negative emotions • 3. Promote rewarding social interactions that help build valuable social support, enhanced coping strategies and other enduring personal resources • Positive emotions widen scope of attention • People who experience high levels of positive emotions live longer than others  Natural and normal  Unpleasant feelings are important as they give us warning to take action  Inverted U hypothesis • Task performance improves with increased emotional arousal up to a point where it becomes disruptive and the performance deteriorates • Peak – optimal level of arousal • When task becomes more complex, the optimal level of arousal decreases o Physiological responses  Fight or flight: psychological reaction to threat in which the autonomic nervous system mobilizes the organism for attacking (fight) or fleeing (flight) an enemy • Autonomic nervous system o Controls blood vessels, smooth muscles and glands • Sympathetic nervous system o Breathing, heart rate  General Adaptation Syndrome: a model of the body’s stress response, consisting of three stages: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion • Han Seyle • Alarm o When organism first recognizes the existence of a threat o Fight or flight response • Resistance o Prolonged stress o Second phase o Physiological changes stabilize as coping efforts get in the way o Physiological arousal continues to be higher than normal • Exhaustion o Stress over a substantial period of time o Chronic over activation of stress response can have
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