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Ch. 12. Stress and Health Psychology. Stress Any environmental demand that creates a state of tension or threat and requires change or adaptation. 1. Sources of Stress. A. Life Changes Social Readjustment Rating Scale (Holmes and Rahe) Assesses major life changes - death of spouse

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Ch. 12

  • Stress and Health Psychology


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  • Stress

    • Any environmental demand that creates a state of tension or threat and requires change or adaptation


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1. Sources of Stress

  • A. Life Changes

    • Social Readjustment Rating Scale (Holmes and Rahe)

      • Assesses major life changes - death of spouse

      • Indicates likelihood of getting ill

  • Click here to view the College Life Stress Inventory table


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    • B. Everyday Hassles

      • Pressure

        • Forced to speed up or shift

      • Frustration

        • Being prevented from reaching one’s goals

        • Delays, lack of resources, losses, failure, discrimination


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  • Click here to view the Types of Conflict table

  • D. Stress and Individual Difference

    • Hardiness and resilience

    • Self-imposed stress


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    2. Coping with Stress needs

    • A. Direct Coping

      • Confrontation

        • Acknowledging stress directly and initiating coping

      • Compromise

        • Choosing a more realistic goal when an ideal goal cannot be met

      • Withdrawal

        • Avoiding a situation when other options are NOT practical


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    • B. Defensive Coping/Defensive Mechanisms needs

      • Denial - refuse to acknowledge reality

      • Repression - push uncomfortable thoughts from awareness

      • Projection - attribute one’s motives to others

      • Identification - taking on characteristics of someone else

      • Regression - reverting to immature behaviors


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    • Intellectualization - very detached analysis of problems needs

    • Reaction Formation - expressing exaggerated beliefs opposite to one’s own

    • Displacement - shifting feelings onto something less threatening

    • Sublimation - Redirecting motives into socially acceptable channels

    • Click here to view the Defense Mechanisms table


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    3. Stress and Health needs

    • A. The Biology of Stress

      • General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS)

        • Alarm reaction

          • In Stage 1, alarm reaction, the body recognizes that is must fight off some physical or psychological danger and acts accordingly. If neither direct nor defensive coping mechanisms succeed in reducing the stress, we move to Stage 2 of adaptation.

        • Resistance

          • During this resistance stage, physical symptoms of strain appear as we intensify our efforts to cope both directly and defensively. If these attempts to regain psychological equilibrium fail, psychological disorganization rages out of control until exhaustion, Stage 3 is reached.

        • Exhaustion

          • In this phase, we use increasingly ineffective defense mechanisms to bring the stress under control. Some people lose touch with reality, while others show signs of "burnout."


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    Physiologist Hans Selye identified three stages of reacting to physical and psychological stress that he called the general adaptation syndrome (GAS).


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    • B. Stress and Heart Disease to physical and psychological stress that he called the

      • Type A - linked to heart disease (esp. hostility)

      • Type B - relaxed

  • C. Stress and the Immune System

    • Psychoneuroimmunology

      • Shows stress suppresses immune function

  • D. Staying Healthy

    • Exercise, relaxation, humor

    • Importance of social support, positive reappraisal

  • Stress and Health Video


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    4. Extreme Stress to physical and psychological stress that he called the

    • A. Sources of Extreme Stress

      • Unemployment

        • Stages of relief, optimism, doubt, malaise, cynicism

      • Divorce and separation

        • Ambivalence, failure, sadness, fear

      • Bereavement

        • Coping with painful, inescapable reality


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    • B. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to physical and psychological stress that he called the

      • Natural and man-made catastrophes

        • Reactions - shock, suggestible stage, recovery

      • Combat and other threatening personal attacks


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    5. The Well-Adjusted Person to physical and psychological stress that he called the

    • A. Does the action meet the demand? or just postpone?

    • B. Does the action meet the individual's needs?

    • C. Is the action compatible with the well-being of others?

    • Cancer Groups Video


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