Stress: Negative emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological, cognitive,
and behavioural changes that are directed either toward altering the stressful event or accommodating
to its effects.
Stressor: stressful events such as noise, crowds, bad relationship…etc
Person-environment fit: Assessment of whether personal resources are sufficient to meet the demands
of the environment.
More than adequate resources to deal with a difficult situation = Challenging/easy stress,
Sufficient resources = Moderate/Threatening stress
Not enough resources = Harmful/Great amount of stress
General Adaptation Syndrome: Organism confronts a stressor, it mobilizes itself for action, the response
itself is nonspecific with respect to the stressor; that is, regardless of the cause of the threat, the
individual will respond with the same physiological pattern of reaction.
-Alarm: Organism becomes mobilized to meet the threat.
-Resistance: Organism makes effort to cope with the threat as through confrontation.
-Exhaustion: Organism fails to overcome the threat and depletes its physiological resources in
the process of trying
Still influence to this day because
-Offers a general theory of reactions to a wide variety of stressors over time. Way of thinking
about the interplay of physiological and environmental factors.
-It posits a physiological mechanism for the stress-illness relationship, prolonged exhaustion of
resources is responsible for the physiological damage that lays the groundwork for disease.
-Assigns a very limited role to psychological factors, and psychological appraisal of event is
important in the determination of stress. (research done on animals, no human)
-Responses to stress are uniform, since not all stressor produce the same endocrinology
-Personal variation affect the response to stress. (personalities, perceptions..etc)
-GAS states that stress as an outcome, while in fact, people experience many of the debilitating
effects of stress while a stressful event is going on and even in anticipation of its occurrence.
Tend-and-befriend: Human respond to stress, beside flight-and-fight, is with social and nurturing
behaviour, may be true for women.
Befriending: affiliating with others and seeking social contact during stress—may be especially
characteristic of females and may help in self-preservation and the protection of offspring.
Oxytocin is produce in response to stress, effect enhance by estrogen.
Psychological appraisal: Important to determine whether a situation is responded as stressful. Primary appraisal: When individuals confront a new or changing environment, which could be seen as
positive, neutral, or negative in their consequences.
Negative or potentially negative events are further appraised for their possible harm, threat, or
-Harm is the assessment of the damage that has already been done by an event.
-Threat is the assessment of possible future damage that may be brought about the event.
-Challenge is the potential to overcome and even profit from the event.
Secondary Appraisal: Assessment of one’s coping abilities and resources and whether they will be
sufficient to meet the harm, threat, or challenge of the event.
Two interrelated systems are heavily involve in the stress response
Sympathetic activation: Stressful event are label by cerebral cortex, which sets off a chain of reaction by
Info from cortex to hypothalamus which initiate (fight-flight)
Sympathetic arousal stimulates the medulla of the adrenal glands. (secrete catecholamine,
epinephrine, and norepinephrine = cranked up feeling)
Increase blood pressure, heart rate, sweating, and constriction of peripheral blood vessel.
HPA activation: Hypothalamus releases corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF), which stimulates the
pituitary gland to secrete adrenocorticotropic (ACTH), which stimulates the adrenal cortex to release
Effect of long term stress:
-Suppression of immune functions
-Changes in system rhythms
Increase chance of psychiatric disorders
-High waist to hip ration
-impact immune system’s capacity to respond to hormonal signals that terminate inflammation.
-Worst sleep cycle
Reactivity: people vary in their reaction to stress, degree of change that occurs in autonomic,
neuroendocrine, and/ or immune responses as a result of stress.
In part, genetic predisposition to respond physiologically to environmental threats or challenges.
Affect vulnerability to illness
Inability to recover quickly from a stressful event may be a marker for cumulative damage that stress
has caused. (prolong cortisol response) Allostatic load: Physiological systems within the body fluctuate to meet demands from stress, a state
As load builds up, as defined by the physiological cost of chronic exposure to fluctuating or
heightened neural or neuroendocrine response that results from repeated or chronic stress
May be thought of as an acceleration of age.
Exacerbated by poor health habits
Although the perception of stress is important to the physical and psychological symptoms it causes,
objectively defined stress also shows a relation to adverse psychological and physiological changes.
Chronic strain: Stressful even becomes a permanent or chronic part of their environment.
-Most are able to adapt psychologically to moderate or predictable stressor
-Novel, threatening situation can produce stress initially, subside afterwards.
(Not so for elderly, children, and the lower social class, adversely affected by environmental
-Children affected due to lack of control over surrounding, and elderly due to resources.
People (and animals) show signs of both long-term strain and habituation to chronically stressful
events. Most people can adapt moderately well to mildly stressful events; however, it may be
unable to adapt to even moderate stressors. Moreover, even when psychological adaptation
may have occurred, physiological changes in response to stress may persist.
-Physiological habituation may not occur or may not be complete when stressors are long-term
and that the immune system may be compromised by long-term stress.
Anticipation of stressful event has the same effect of the stress produce on the day of the event.
After-effect of stress: Decrease in performance and attention span.
Effect of stress persist after the stressful event has passed
Example of After-effect of stress: PTSD
Exposure to a stressor over a period of time may have cumulative adverse effect.
Acute stress paradigm: When people are induced to perform stressful tasks they show both short-term
psychological distress and strong indications of sympathetic activity and neuroendocrine responses.
Elucidating the kinds of individuals differences that contribute to stress, e.x High in hostility
show heightened blood pressure and cardiovascular responsively.
Insight into the factors that may ameliorate the experience of stress.
Moderators of the stress experience Stress Moderators: Modify how stress is experience and the effects it has.
Moderators of the stress experience may have an impact on stress itself, on the relation
between stress and psychological responses, on the relation between stress and illness, or on
the degree to which a stressful experience intrudes into other aspects of life.
Coping: The thoughts and behaviours used to manage the internal and external demands of situations
that are appraised as stressful.
Relationship between coping and a stressful event is a dynamic process
Coping is not a one-time action that someone takes; rather, it is a set of responses, occurring
over time, by which the environment and the person influence each other.
Emotional reaction, including anger or depression, can be though of as part of the coping
process, in turn, coping efforts are moderated by the resources that the individual has available.
Some personality characteristics make stressful worse, whereas others improve them.
Negative affectivity: A pervasive negative mood marked by anxiety, depression, and hostility.
Individual high in negative affectivity express distress, discomfort, and dissatisfaction across a
wide range of situations.
Prone to have genetic markers linked to alcohol dependence, depression, and increase risk of
Neuroticism is related to poor health such as diabetes, arthritis, kidney or liver disease, stomach
or ulcers problem. (weak but consistent evidence of a relationship to negative emotion)
Associated with elevated cortisol secretion.
Affect adjustment to treatment
Higher risk for mortality in old age
Sometimes create a false impression of poor health when none exists.
Pessimism: Relatively stable dispositional characteristic to expect negative outcomes in the future
Pessimistic explanatory style: characteristically explain the negative events of their lives in terms of
internal, stable, global qualities of themselves. May lay ground work for poor health.
Compromise coping efforts and the use of coping resources such as social support in response
to threatening heath events.
Linked to one’s social and economic circumstances.
Perfectionism: Tendency to experience frequent cognitions about the attainment of ideal standards.
Negative consequences linked to mental health
Recognized as a multidimensional construct which can take several forms. Socially prescribed perfectionism (belief that others hold unrealistically high standards for their
behaviour), is consistently linked to a variety of negative health outcomes, whereas self-
oriented perfectionism (tendency to set high personal standards which motivate achievement)
Socially prescribed perfectionism and health can be explain by stress
Dispositional Optimism: General expectancy that good things, not bad, will happen in the future.
Associated with less stress and depression and with an increase in social support.
Positive mood leads to a state of physiological resilience.
Promotes more active and persistent coping efforts, which may improve long-term prospects for
psychological adjustment and health.
Not always beneficial, more persistent in pursuing goals, sometimes experience short-term
physiological cost, when outcome does not meet expectation.
Psychological control: Belief that one can determine one’s own behaviour, influence one’s environment,
and bring about desired outcomes.
Closely related to self-efficacy (narrow perception that one has the ability to enact the necessary
actions to obtain a specific outcome in a specific situation.
Both types of cognitions appear to help people cope with a wide variety of stressful events
Protective against adopting a risky lifestyle that involves health compromising behaviours.
Enhances perceptions of control may benefit in promotion of good health practices and coping
Perception of control reduces stress, and their physiological responses to stress are reduced.
Self-esteem seems to be more protective at low levels of stress; high stressful event may overwhelm
differences in self-esteem.
Cluster of personal qualities called ego strength- dependability, trust, and lack of impulsivity- appear to
have health benefits.
Cheerful people doe somewhat sooner than people who are not cheerful, since cheerful people may
grow up being more careless about their health.
A sense of coherence, purpose, humour, trusts in others, and religion are internal resources that
promote effective coping.
Conscientiousness also moderates the stress-illness relationship. More successful in avoiding situation
that could harm them, or more reliable in their practice of health habits.
Coping style: General propensity to deal with stressful events in a particular way.
Some talk about their stressor
Some keep to themselves Characterize by their personality
Avoidant (minimizing) coping style:
Approach (confrontative, or vigilant) coping Style:
Neither style is necessarily more effective in managing stress
Approach is most successful if one can focus on information present in the situation rather than
on one’s emotions, and if there are actions that can be taken to reduce ther stressor.
Approach, people may engage in the cognitive and emotional efforts needed to deal with long-
term threats, in short term, they may pay a price in anxiety and physiological reactivity.
Avoidant – good for short term stress, such as a trip to dentist.
Recent studies propose approach coping is associated with beneficial outcomes in general, while
avoidance coping is associated with adverse psychological and health-related outcomes.
Problem-focused coping: Attempts to do something constructive about the stressful conditions that are
harming, threatening, or challenging and individual.
Emerged during childhood
Work related problem is used by this style
Situation that can be modify favor this approach
Emotion-focused coping: Efforts to regulate emotions experienced because of the stressful event.
Developed later in late childhood or early adolescence.
Health related is used by this style
Situation that are to be accepted favor this approach
Coping of two kinds
1. Emotional distress as may be experienced in rumination, (negative recurrent thoughts)
-Detrimental to health, and has been tied to several indicators of compromised immune
2. Clarifying, focusing on, and working through the emotions experienced in conjunction
with a stressor.
-Benefit for a broad array of stressful situations, and improve adjustment to disorders.
-soothing effect on stress regulatory system
-Promotes affirmation of important aspects of the self and identity which can result in
Typically, people use both coping style in their stressful episodes.
People who are able to shift their coping strategies to meet the demands of a situation cope better with
stress than those who do not. Problem-solving and emotional approaches may work beter for different
External coping resources: such as time, money, education, decent job, children, standard of living…etc Experiencing positive events and having the opportunity to describe them or celebrate them with others
affects both immediate mood and long-term wellbeing, thus engaged in life has positive mental and
physical health consequences.
Taking vacation is known to be beneficial for the health group of the middle-aged men at risk for heart
Resilience comes from individual differences in how people cope with stressful events.
Ability to experience positive emotion enabled may people to cope with distressing events and post-
1. To reduce harmful environmental conditions and enhance the prospects of recovery
2. To tolerate or adjust to negative events or realities
3. To maintain a positive self-image
4. To maintain emotional equilibrium
5. To continue satisfying relationships with others
Lowering of arousal such as heart rate, pulse, and skin conductivity.
How quickly one return to their pre-stress activities
Effectiveness in reducing psychological distress
Social support: Information from others that one is loved and cared for, esteemed and valued, and part
of a network of communication and mutual obligations form parents, a spouse or lover, other relatives,
friends, social and community contacts.
1. High levels of social support may experience less stress when they confront a stressful
experience, and cope more successfully.
Tangible assistance: Provision of material support, such as services, financial assistance, or goods.
Informational support: Provided by friends and family to help an individual understand a stressful event
better and determine what resources and coping strategies may be mustered to deal with it.
Emotional support: Reassure by friends and family, that the individual is a valuable person whom they
2. Many benefits of social support may actually come from the perception that social support is
3. Actual receiving social support from another person can have potential costs
- Sense of guilt for using up another’s time and attention
- Threat to self-esteem, suggestion of dependent on others
Invisible support: When one receives help from another, but is unaware of it, that help is most likely to
benefit the self. Explicit social support: Target a specific problem or is meant for a specific purpose. Usually in forms of
tangible, informational, or emotional support.
Implicit social support: Implicit social networks without being directly targeted at a specific problem
- Simply knowing that you have a social network that you can rely upon if there were a
stressful event, and receiving support from that network without actively having to seek out
- Asians and Asian Americans are more likely to experience psychologically and biologically
benefits from implicit but not explicit social support, whereas the reverse is true for
Social support can reduce physiological and neuroendocrine responses to stress under a broad array of
conditions. Studied using acute stress paradigm.
- Biologic responses to stress are more subdued when a supportive companion is present
than when no companion is present
- Supportive social contact is associated with the release of oxytocin.
- Effect are greater when support comes from a friend than from a stranger
- Support are somewhat more when the provider is female
- Presence of a pet can keep heart rate and blood pressure lower during that event and lead
to faster physiological recovery.
Advantages of social support during times of stress can be cumulative.
Social influences may adversely affect some health habits, however, as when much social contact is
coupled with high levels of stress; under these circumstances, risk of minor illnesses such as colds or fuls
may actually increase.
Social support has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular, endocrine, and immune systems.
Thinking about supportive ties can reduce cardiovascular reactivity in response to stress.
During periods of high stress, genetic predispositions to draw on social support networks may be
activated, leading to the perception that support will be available to mute stress.
Role of social support in moderating the effect of stress:
Direct effects hypothesis: Social support is generally beneficial during non -stressful times as well as
during highly stressful time.
Buffering Hypothesis: Health and mental health benefits of social support are chiefly evident during
periods of high stress; when there is little stress, social support may have few physical or mental health
benefits. - Social support acts as a reserve and resource that blunts the effects of stress or enables the
individual to cope with stress more effectively when it is at high levels.
- Direct effect found when number of people one identifies as friends or number or
organizations one belongs to.
- Buffering effects found when social support has been assessed more qualitatively.
Effectiveness of social support depends on how an individual uses a social support networks.
- Attachment affects how well an individual is able to use social support group.
- Attachment styles develop from early emotional relationship which can be secure or
insecure (anxious or avoidance promoting) and which serve as working models of what to
expect from others in times of need.
- Effects of insecure attachment on perceived social support and well-being may be more
pronounced for older than younger adult.
When social support is controlling or directive, it may have some benefits on health behaviours but
produce psychological distress.
Certain types of social support may take time before their beneficial effects are notice.
Talking to one’s depressive symptoms may make one acutely aware of these symptoms initially, but
then having this typ