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Chapter 13

PSYC 1010- Chapter 13 Review Questions

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PSYC 1010
Doug Mc Cann

Learning Objectives Chapter 13: Stress, Coping, and Health 1. Define stress, describe the biopsychosocial model, and explain why an understanding of stress is important in health psychology • Stress is the result of everyday, relatively routine events, such as commuting or receiving an unexpected bill in the mail. It is defined as any circumstances that threaten or are perceived to threaten one’s well-being and that thereby tax one’s coping abilities • Biopsychosocial model o Holds that physical illness is caused by a complex interaction of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors • Health Psychology o Is concerned with how psychosocial factors relate to the promotion and maintenance of health and with the causation, prevention, and treatment of illness • Stress plays a large role in the development of chronic diseases 2. Describe the impact of minor everyday stressors on our ability to cope. • Everyday stressors o Waiting in line o Having car trouble o Shopping for gifts o Misplacing your cell phone o Commuting • The amount of stress increases as the time we spend on one of the stressors increases • Stress is cumulative so no matter how minor the stressor is, it may have a bigger impact 3. Distinguish between primary and secondary appraisals of stress and provide examples. • Primary appraisal o Is an initial evaluation of whether an event is 1. Irrelevant to you 2. Relevant but not threatening or 3. Stressful • Secondary appraisal o Which is an evaluation of your coping resources and options for dealing with the stress • Example: o Primary appraisal 1. Determines whether an upcoming exam is stressful o Secondary appraisal 1. Determines how stressful the exam appears, in light of your assessment of your ability to deal with the event 4. Distinguish between acute and chronic stressors. • Acute stressors o Are threatening events that have a relatively short duration and a clear endpoint o Example: being encountered by a belligerent drunk, dealing with the challenge of a major exam • Chronic Stressors o Are threatening events that have a relatively long duration and no readily apparent time limit o Example: persistent financial strains produced by huge credit card debts, ongoing pressures from a hostile boss at work 5. Define frustration as a form of stress. • Frustration o Occurs in any situation in which the pursuit of some goal is thwarted o Failures and losses are two common kinds of frustration that are often highly stressful 6. Identify the three basic types of conflict, and discuss which types are most troublesome. • Conflict o Occurs when two or more incompatible motivations or behavioural impulses compete for expression • Kurt Lewin (1935) o Approach-approach conflict 1. A choice must be made between two attractive goals 2. Least stressful but may sometimes be troublesome such as choosing between two appealing majors at university or two attractive boyfriends since whichever alternative is not chosen represents a loss of sorts o Avoidance-avoidance conflict 1. A choice must be made between two unattractive goals 2. “caught between a rock and a hard place”; highly stressful and unpleasant such as continuing to accept unemployment cheques or take that degrading job at the car wash o Approach-avoidance conflict 1. A choice must be made about whether to pursue a single goal that has both attractive and unattractive aspects 2. Common and can be quite stressful; should you risk rejection by asking out a person that you are attracted to? Or should you risk your savings by investing in a new business that could fail? 7. Summarize evidence about the effects of life change and pressure as forms of stress. • Life changes o Are any noticeable alterations in one’s living circumstances that require readjustment • Those that score high on the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) tend to be more vulnerable to many kinds of physical illness and to many types of psychological problems as well • Pressure o Involves expectations or demands that one behave in a certain way 8. Identify some common emotional responses to stress, and discuss the effects of emotional arousal. • Self-blame tends to lead to guilt, helplessness to sadness • A) Annoyance, anger, rage • B) anxiety, fear, apprehension • C) dejection, grief, sadness • Broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions (Barbara Fredrickson) o Positive emotions alter people’s mindsets, broadening their scope of attention and increasing their creativity and flexibility in problem solving o Positive emotions can undo the lingering effects of negative emotions, and thus short-circuit the potentially damaging physiological responses to stress that we will discuss soon o Positive emotions can promote rewarding social interactions that help build valuable social support, enhanced coping strategies, and other enduring personal resources • Effects of emotional arousal o Inverted-U hypothesis 1. Predicts that task performance should improve with increased emotional arousal—up to a point, after which further increases in arousal become disruptive and performance deteriorates o As a task becomes more complex, the optimal level of arousal (for peak performance) tends to decrease 9. Describe the flight-or-flight response and the three stages of the general adaptation syndrome • Flight-or-flight response o Is a physiological reaction to threat in which the autonomic nervous system mobilizes the organism for attacking (fight) or fleeing (flight) an enemy o ANS controls blood vessels, smooth muscles, and glands o Mediated by the sympathetic division of the ANS • The General Adaptation Syndrome o Is a model of the body’s stress response, consisting of three stages: 1. Alarm 1. Occurs when an organism first recognizes the existence of a threat (essentially the flight-or-fight response) 2. Resistance 1. As an organism has a prolonged exposure to stress, physiological changes stabilize as coping efforts get under way. Typically, physiological arousal continues to be higher than normal, although it may level off somewhat as the organism becomes accustomed to the threat 3. Exhaustion 1. The body’s resources for fighting stress are limited 2. If the stress can’t be overcome, the body’s resources may be depleted 3. The chronic over-activation of the stress response can have damaging physiological effects on a variety of organ systems 10.Discuss the two major pathways along which the brain sends signals to the endocrine system in response to stress. • Autonomic Nervous System o Hypothalamus activates the sympathetic division of the ANS o Involves stimulating the central part of the adrenal glands (adrenal medulla) to release large amounts of cathecholamines into the bloodstream o Hormones radiate throughout your body, producing physiological changes seen in the fight-or-flight response o Heart rate and blood flow increase, more blood is pumped to your brain and muscles, respiration and oxygen consumption speed up facilitating alertness, digestive processes are inhibited to conserve your energy, the pupils of your eyes dilate, increasing visual sensitivity • Pituitary Gland o Hypothalamus sends signals to the master gland of the endocrine system, the pituitary and it secretes a hormone (ACTH) that stimulates the outer part of the adrenal glands to release another set of hormones (corticosteroids), which stimulate the release of chemicals that help increase your energy and help inhibit tissue inflammation in case of injury • Females’ stress responses tend to be milder than males’ stress reactions, at least from puberty to menopause which suggests that estrogen plays a key role in toning down women’s physiological reactivity to stress • Stress can interfere with neurogenesis- the formation of new neurons 11.Describe some relatively unhealthy coping responses that are common • Coping o Refers to active efforts to master, reduce, or tolerate the demands created by stress but can be either adaptive or maladaptive • Learned helplessness “giving up” o Is passive behaviour produced by exposure to unavoidable aversive events o Occurs when individuals come to believe that events are beyond their control o Carver and colleagues 1. Behavioural disengagement 1. Found that it is associated with increased rather than decreased distress o Can contribute to depression • Catastrophic thinking “Blaming oneself” o Albert Ellis 1. Causes, aggravates, and perpetuates emotional reactions to stress that are often problematic o Aaron Beck 1. Negative self-talk can contribute to the development of depressive disorders • Aggression o Is any behaviour that is intended to hurt someone, either physically or verbally o Frustration-aggression hypothesis 1. Held that aggression is always caused by frustration o Freud 1. Catharsis- refers to the release of emotional tension 2. It is a good idea to vent anger o Most studies finds the opposite of what Freud says 1. Behaving in an aggressive manner tends to fuel more anger and aggression • Self-indulgence o Reduced impulse control thus leading to excessive consumption—unwise patterns of eating, drinking, smoking, using drugs, spending money, gambling, etc. • Internet addiction o Kimberly Young o Consists of spending an inordinate amount of time on the internet and inability to control online use o People who exhibit this syndrome tend to feel anxious, depressed, or empty when they are not online • Defence mechanisms o Are largely unconscious reactions that protect a person from unpleasant emotions such as anxiety and guilt by bending reality in self-serving ways o Is an avoidance strategy which rarely provides a genuine solution to problems 12.Explain the difference between constructive and maladaptive coping methods and provide examples of constructive coping. • Constructive coping o Refer to relatively healthful efforts that people make to deal with stressful events o Involves confronting problems directly 1. Task-relevant and action-oriented 2. Entails a conscious effort to rationally evaluate your options so that you can try to solve your problems o Based on reasonably realistic appraisals of your stress and coping resources 1. Self-deception may sometimes be adaptive, but excessive self-deception and highly unrealistic negative thinking are not o Involves learning to recognize, and in some cases regulate, potentially disruptive emotional reactions to stress 13.Discuss the effects of stress on task performance and the nature of the burnout syndrome • Roy Baumeister o Theory assumes that pressure to perform often makes people self-conscious and that this elevated self-consciousness disrupts their attention o Looks at “attention” to explain how stress impairs task performance, “choking” under pressure tends to occur when worries about performance distract attention from the task at hand and use up one’s limited working memory capacity • Chronic stress (preparing for difficult and hugely important medical board exams) undermined participants’ performance on a task requiring attention shifts • Burnout o Involves physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and a lowered sense of self-efficacy that can be brought on gradually by chronic work-related stress o Exhaustion includes chronic fatigue, weakness and low energy o Cynicism is manifested in highly negative attitudes toward oneself, one’s work and life in general o Reduced self-efficacy involves declining feelings of competence at work, giving way to hopelessness and helplessness o Associated with increased absenteeism and reduced productivity at work, as well as increased vulnerability to a variety of health problems 14.Define post-traumatic stress disorder and summarize the evidence regarding its prevalence and prognosis. • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) o Involves enduring psychological disturbance attributed to the experience of a major traumatic event o Associated with people in front-line occupations, such as soldiers, police officers, firefighter, ambulance attendants and paramedics, even transit workers o Associated with other types of events such as rape, assault, witnessing a death, etc. 15.Discuss some of the psychological problems and disorders that may result from stress. • Stress may contribute to poor academic performance, insomnia and other sleep disturbance, sexual difficulties, alcohol abuse, and drug abuse • Contributes to the onset of PTSD, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders • Resilience o Refers to the successful adaptation to significant stress and trauma, as evidenced by a lack of serious negative outcomes 16.Describe the evidence linking personality factors to coronary heart disease and discuss the precocity-longevity hypothesis • Psychosomatic diseases (1950s-1970s) o Were genuine physical ailments that were thought to be caused in part by stress and other psychological factors o High blood pressure, peptic ulcers, asthma, skin disorders such as eczema and hivers, and migraine and tension headaches • Coronary heart disease o Involves a reduction in blood flow in the coronary arteries o Atherosclerosis 1. Primary cause of coronary heart
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