PowerPoint Slideshow about 'Three different types of measurement' - bonner
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One way to assess arousal is to use electrical/mechanical equipment to take measurements of blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate, or galvanic skin response (G. S. R.). The Polygraph measures all of these simultaneously. Miniature Polygraphs can be carried around. Researchers using a miniature Polygraph were able to find that ambulance workers had higher blood pressure whilst at work compared with when they were at home (Goldstein et al. 1992). However, being wired to a polygraph could increase stress.
Blood or urine samples can be assessed for the level of hormones that the adrenal glands secrete. There are two main classes of hormones: corticosteroids (for example cortisol) and catecholamines (for example, adrenaline and noradrenaline. Measurements need to be analysed by a chemist using special procedures and equipment. However, having blood taken could cause stress.
There are several advantages to using measures of physiological arousal to assess stress. Physiological measures are reasonably direct and objective, quite reliable, and easily quantified. The disadvantages are that the techniques are expensive, the technique is stressful for some people and the measures are affected by factors such as gender, weight, activity prior to measurement and such substances as caffeine. Psychological stress does not always produce physiological arousal.
The most widely used scale of life events has been the 'social readjustment rating scale (SRRS.)' developed by Holmes and Rahe (1967). The scale was made by constructing a list of events that were derived from clinical experience. Hundreds of men and women of various ages and backgrounds rated the amount of readjustment needed by people experiencing each of the stressful events. They were asked to give the average degree of readjustment.
To measure the amount of stress people have experienced subjects check off each life event they have experienced during the past 24 months. The values of the check items are then totalled to give the stress score.
A survey of nearly two thousand eight hundred adults who filled in a version of the SRRS found that 15% experienced none of the events during the prior year, and 18% reported five or more. The three most frequent events were "took a vacation" (43%), "the death of a loved one or other important person" (22%), and "illness or injury" (21%).
The older the person the fewer life events reported and the more educated the person more life events were reported. Single, separated, and divorced people reported a larger number of events compared with married and widowed individuals (Goldberg & Comstock, 1980).
Some items are ambiguous. Items in the SRRS are vague or ambiguous (Hough et al, 1976). For example, "change in responsibilities at work" does not take into account how much change or whether there is more or less responsibility. "Personal injury or illness" does not take into account the seriousness of the illness. This reduces the precision of the instrument.
A weakness of the SRRS is that there is a poor correlation (about .30) between the score and illness (Dohrenwend & Dohrenwend, 1981). One reason could be that there are other many possible reasons for why people get sick and have accidents.
The scale does not consider the meaning or impact of an event for the individual (Cohen et al, 1983). For example, two people who each had a mortgage for 20,000 dollars would get the same score for "mortgage over 10,000 dollars" even though one of them made ten times the income of the other. The amount of stress caused by the "death of spouse" could depend upon the age, dependence on the spouse, and the length and happiness of the marriage. This again reduces the precision of the instrument.
The scale does not distinguish between desirable and undesirable events. "Marriage" or "outstanding personal achievement" are often viewed as desirable; but "sex difficulties" and "jail term" are obviously seen as undesirable. Some items can be viewed either way, for example, "change in financial state"; the score is the same regardless of whether the finances improve or worsen. Studies have found that undesirable life events are correlated with illness, but desirable events are not (McFarlane et al, 1983).
High correlation between men and women, Catholics and Protestants. Not so high for Black Vs White.
The SRRS has face validity because many of the events listed are easily recognisable as stressful events. The values Allocated to each stress event have been carefully calculated from data provided by the opinions of many people. The survey form can be filled out easily and quickly.
Richard Lazarus and his associates designed this scale. It concentrates on recent stressors, the annoying things that happened to everybody everyday. The hassles are rated as having been "somewhat," "moderately," or "extremely" severe.
In addition to the hassles scale there is another instrument, the uplifts scale, which measures the good events in life. It is reasonable to assume that experiencing events that bring peace, satisfaction, or joy would allow people to endure the hassles of daily life. Uplifts experienced in the past month are recorded on a three-point scale.
There is a weak correlation between hassles scores and health status, as well as between life event scores and health status. Hassles were more strongly associated with health than life events. There was no association found between uplifts scores and health status for men, but there was for women.
Self-report measures of life events are unreliable. A study had subjects fill out a scale regarding life events they experienced during the prior year. The subjects then filled out the same Questionnaire every month for a year. Towards the end of the year the reports were quite different from the ones made at the beginning of the year (Raphael, et al. 1991).