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Chapter 13

Chapter 13 - Stress.docx

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York University
PSYC 1010
Jennifer Steeves

Stress, Coping and 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 Stress • 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) Reaction to Stressors – Fight or Flight Response • Seems to be more muted in women - Evolution • There are 2 Pathways: • Cortisol – prevents neurogenesis  Hippocampus shrinks  Suppresses immune system 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 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 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 • Hypothalamus  Pituitary Gland  Adrenal Cortex  Secretion of Corticosteroids • Hypothalamus  Autonomic Nervous System  Adrenal Medulla  Secr. of Catecholamines 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 • Unsystematic, poorly organized review of available options • Difficulty suppressing competing thoughts • Interfering with memory functions 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 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 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 Routes by which Stress May Produce Disease • 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 Type A Personality • Some people are very busy doing a lot of things (not because they like it) because they have a negative, sinister outlook toward life – A dog-eat-dog world • Redford Williams – Cynicism is the key element in a Type A Person  People who scored high on the hostility test had 5x more heart disease  Cynical people produce more stress hormones – leads to plaque build-up in arteries and thicker blood • Anger & Hostility is associated with coronary heart disease Personal Stress Management – Building Resiliency and Coping • People who retired at the age of 50  Average life span was 86 • People who retired at the age of 65  Average lifespan was 66.8 • Conclusion – For every year one works beyond 55, one loses 2 years of life span on average • Sing Lin (2002) Theory – People who retire early don’t become inactive; they do what they feel is good for them. People who retire late, continue to work the same way they did when they were 30; they die earlier because of this • Theory – People who retired early had planned ahead from when they were younger; less stress Proactive Coping vs. Reactive Coping Adaptive Coping vs. Maladaptive Coping • Task-Oriented Coping – Copin
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