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Chapter 13

Chapter 13 - Stress - New Order.docx

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York University
PSYC 1010
Jennifer Steeves

Stress, Coping & Health • Biopsychosocial Model – Holds that physical illness is caused by a complex interaction of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors • There are Changing Patterns of Illness – Contagious vs. Chronic Diseases • Death rates for infectious diseases have been dropping; Other factors increased • Health Psychology – Concerned with how psychosocial factors relate to the promotion and maintenance of health and with the causation, prevention and treatment of illness 1. Stress • A common, everyday event – even routine hassles can have negative effects • People’s appraisals of events determine what they find stressful • 20-25% of Canadians report that most of their days are either quite/extremely stressful • Many Definitions of Stress: 1. A reaction to environmental demands 2. Any circumstances that threaten or are perceived to threated one’s wellbeing and that thereby tax one’s coping abilities (Weiten and McCann)  Doesn’t take into account positive circumstances that cause stress 3. Stress is a nonspecific response of the body to any demand placed upon it (Hans Selye) • Stressor – Anything that produces stress (A Biological Response) Classification of Stressors by Complexity Classification of Stressors by Magnitude • Ambient Stressors – Everyday stressors • Daily Hassles • Stressful Life Events • Cataclysmic Events Classification of Stressors by Duration • Acute – Short duration with clear endpoint (e.g. a midterm) • Chronic – Long duration with no clear endpoint (e.g. looking after someone w/a disability) Classification of Stressors (Weiten and McCann) • Frustration - (E.g. being deprived of a reinforcement one’s used to causes frustration)  Pursuit of some goal is thwarted • Conflict  Approach-Approach  Avoidance-Avoidance  Approach-Avoidance  Vacillate • Change  Changes in the living circumstances, including positive ones, that require adjustment  Social Readjustment Scale – purports to measure change-related stress  Actually taps many kinds of stressful activities  High scores  increases vulnerability to illness & psychological problems • Pressure  Biological clocks – What we should be doing at what age  People may be put under pressure to conform to others’ expectations  People may be put under pressure to perform  Pressure is a predictor of psychological problems  People under pressure may show diminished performance Brady’s “Executive Monkey” Experiment (1958) • Method – Yoked 2 monkeys together and administered electric shocks every 20 sec for 6 hours  One monkey was the Executive Monkey  Able to press lever that delayed shocks for 20 seconds; couldn’t stop all shocks  Done with 8 pairs of monkeys • Result – The Executive Monkeys from each pair died 9-48 days later due to stomach ulcers • Evaluation – The research shows that high levels of stress (pressure) are dangerous to health • Greatest danger occurred when sympathetic arousal turned off  Parasympathetic rebound, filling stomach with digestive juices 2. Stress Response • Many emotions may be evoked by stress – anger-rage; anxiety-fear; sadness-grief are common • Emotional arousal may interfere with coping efforts • Research has focused on negative effects, but positive emotions also occur during stress Positive Effects Positive Emotions • Can be rewarding for those who need stimulation/challenge • Create feelings of gratitude – i.e. counting blessings • Often creates positive bonds between people • Reduce levels of stress hormones and their harmful effects • Enhances immune response, emotional well-being, and mental health Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions • Broadens scope of attention increasing activity and flexibility in problem solving • Undo negative effects of lingering effects of negative emotions • Promote rewarding social interactions Person Growth & Post-Traumatic Growth • Reorganize values • Re-evaluate priorities • Learn new insights • Acquire new strengths • New coping abilities • Enhances self-concept Stress and Performance • An inverted-U graph of stress vs. performance Low Arousal • Tend to have a wide range of attention and may readily shift attention • May need stimulation to perform well at a task • May perform complex tasks well but have difficulties with simple tasks High Arousal • Range of attention narrows but is more intense; more difficult shifting attention • May need to reduce stimulation to perform well on a task • May perform simple tasks well but have difficulty with complex tasks  i.e. difficulties suppressing impulsivity so as to let the executive function organize and coordinate response High Stress and Impaired Task Performance • Pressure to perform  Disruptive self-consciousness (i.e. choking under pressure) • Jump to conclusions too quickly without considering all options • Physiological Responses General Adaptation Syndrome – Selye’s 3 Major Stages • Alarm Reaction – Defensive forces are mobilized • Resistance Stage – Body adapts to stressors • Exhaustion – Stressors negate body’s coping mechanisms Two Pathways of the Endocrine system – Fight/Flight Response • Seems to be more muted in women - Evolution • There are 2 Pathways: • Cortisol – prevents neurogenesis  Hippocampus shrinks  Suppresses immune system Behavioural Responses • Coping efforts may be healthy or unhealthy Proactive Coping vs. Reactive Coping Adaptive Coping vs. Maladaptive Coping • Task-Oriented Coping – Coping in order to get something done • Emotional-Oriented Coping • Avoidance-Oriented Coping Textbook Types of Coping • Giving up and Blaming Others –  When one perceives it as giving up and becomes self-critical it may lead to depression • Striking Out at Others – Displace the stress onto others • Indulging Oneself - • Defensive Coping – Consciousness causes us anxiety and we do actions in order to make ourselves feel better; mostly not good things  Some defenses have a positive side to them – if you fantasize about good things then you will work harder to attain your goals (unrealistically positive attitudes) Constructive Coping • Confronting problems directly • Realistic appraisals of stress and coping resources • Learning to recognize and, in some cases inhibit, potentially disruptive emotional reactions to stress • Making efforts to ensure your body is not especially vulnerable to possible effects of stress Stressors • There are costs to ignoring stressors Sources of Stress within a role • Intrinsic to the tasks at hand • Role – Ambiguity, conflict, overload, no participation in decision making, etc… • Long-term goals (E.g. career goals) • Short-term goals (Planning daily and weekly routine) • Relationship with others (Social interactions, image of self to others) • Family/organizational climate (Good/Bad relations) • How a role fits into the rest of your life (Student vs. Working family, older students) • Personality factors (tolerance for ambiguity, health and coping patterns, Type “A” personality) 3. Stress Effects • Social Readjustment Scale (Holmes and Rahe 1967) – List of 43 life events & their stress values  Certain questions were more powerful than other predictors  Sum of numbers show the chance of getting sick in the near future Effects on Psychological Functioning High Stress and Impaired Task Performance • Pressure to perform  Disruptive self-consciousness (i.e. choking under pressure) • Jump to conclusions too quickly without considering all options • Unsystematic, poorly organized review of available options • Difficulty suppressing competing thoughts • Interfering with memory functions Burnout • Experiencing situations in which there is a lot of stress over time; mostly in the service industry • Leads to a situation of worthlessness; sense of emotional physical exhaustion; cynical attitude  Lower Self-efficacy etc.. Depression • Depleted resources of Serotonin and Epinephrine – Reactive Depression • Associated with a shrunken hippocampus – Cortisol leads to that! Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder • Enduring disturbance attributed to a major traumatic event – more common than once thought Routes by which Stress May Produce Disease • High stress is associated with a diverse array of psychological disorders and everyday problems • Direct Physiological Effects  Elevated lipids  Elevated blood pressure  Decreased immunity  Increased hormonal activity • Health Habit Effects  Increased smoking & alcohol use  Decreased nutrition  Decreased sleep  Increased drug use • Health Behaviour Effects  Decreased compliance  Increased delay in seeking care  Obscured symptom profile  Decreased likelihood of seeking care Some Individual Patterns of Stress Reaction (Howard et al. 1978) • Emotional Distress – Insomnia; fatigue; change in appetite; moodiness; depression • Medication Use – Pills (pain, sleeping, diet, tranquilizers)l recreational drugs; food • Cardiovascular Symptoms – High blood pressure; coronary heart disease; rapid heart beat • Gastrointestinal Symptoms – Ulcers; colitis; digestive problems; nausea; diarrhea • Allergy Respiratory Symptoms – Allergies; skin problems (eczema, psoriasis); resp. problems • CV and GI Symptoms  Older Anglo Males • Emotional Distress & Medication use  Younger Southern-European Females Effects on Physical Health • Stress appears to contribute to many types of physical illness and not just psychosomatic diseases “Type A” Behaviour • Some people are
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