The Coping Sequence
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The Coping Sequence. Stressor. Primary Appraisal (Harm, Threat, Challenge). Moderators. Tangibles. External Resources and Impediments. Moderators. Social Support. Typical coping style. Internal Resources and Impediments. Other life stressors. Other personality factors.

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The Coping Sequence

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The Coping Sequence


Primary Appraisal (Harm, Threat, Challenge)



External Resources and Impediments


Social Support

Typical coping style

Internal Resources and Impediments

Other life stressors

Other personality factors

Secondary Appraisal

Coping Tasks/Goals

Coping Outcomes

Negative Affect (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen)

Defined: Pervasive negative mood marked by anxiety, depression, and hostility.

Find many situations difficult to manage

Resort to unhealthy coping behaviors (such as?)

Related to poor health: asthma, arthritis, ulcers, headaches, CHD

Related to excess complaining:

a. More symptomsb. Higher use of health servicesc. Higher rates of self-reported illnessd. These people may compromise validity of self-reported illness

Class 10 Optimism, Part II


Read Kriegel Falling Into Life for Next Thurs.

About Reading Research Articles

1. Focus on Introduction and Discussion

2. Skim "Methods", know what was done.

3. Skip over "Results" section


Commitment: Get fully involved

Control: Strong internal Locus of Control (LOC)

Challenge: Seek out opportunities, meet challenges head on.

Why would these qualities moderate stress?

Appraisal processes

Active, not avoidant

Hardiness and Executives Study Kobassa, 1979

Subjects: 160 execs. under high stress, per Holmes & Rahe scale

Group A (n = 86) experiences stress but no illnessGroup B (n = 75) experiences stress with illness

Illness measured by self report.

What distinguishes Group A from Group B?

Kobassa sends execs questionnaire:a. Internal/external LOCb. Commitment to life challengesc. Change as challenge rather than threat.

Responses confirm hardiness model: Control, commitment, challenge

Problems with this study?

Illness self reported (High NA?) Design is correlational

Relation Between Hardiness and Coping

Kobasa, 1979

Self Efficacy

Robt. Bandura

Efficacy, Stress, and Immunocompetence


Animals exposed to stressor (shock)

Group A: Believes has control

Group B: Believes has NO control

Outcome: Opioids in system

Which animals produce MORE opioids?

Group B--No Control

Efficacy, Stress, and Immunocompetence

Stress --> ______ path --> ______ stim --> _____ --> opiods

How do opioids affect immune system? ____________


less control --> ___more stress OR ___ less stress -->

___more opioids OR ___ less opioids -->

___ Immunocompetence OR

___ Immunocompromise




depress it




Physiology of Stress

1.SAM: Sympathetic-adrenomedullary

Event  cortex  hypothalamus  SNS  adrenal medulla 

 catecholamines  charged feeling increased BP, HR, etc.

SAM Corresponds to Cannon's stress model

2. HPA: Hypothlamic-pituitary-adreocortical

Event  cortex  hypothalamus  coritcotrophin releasing factor (CRF)  pituitary adrencorticotropic hormone (ACTH)  adrenal cortex

corticosteriods conserves carbos

 reduces inflammation

HPA corresponds to Selye's stress model

Evidence that Efficacy Moderates

Stress --> Illness Connection in Humans

Bandura, Cioffi, Taylor, & Brouillard, 1988

Predicted model:

Failure --> stress --> opioids --> less pain --> (immunocompromise)

Four groups:

1. Success, pain, opioid blocker

2. Success, pain, no opioid blocker

3. Failure, pain, opioid blocker

4. Failure, pain, no opioid blocker

Efficacy Manipulation

High Efficacy Group

(2 X 7 + 15)

(9 X 8 - 12)

(73 - 15 X 3)

At own pace

Low Efficacy Group

(2 X 7 + 15)

(9 X 8 - 12)

(73 - 15 X 3)

At preset, and difficult, pace

Change in self-perceived math efficacy

Psychological Effects of Math-Test Manipulation

High Efficacy Condition

Low Efficacy Condition

Opiate Blockage

Purpose: If stress increases opiates, and opiates reduce pain, then ___High efficacy OR ___ Low efficacy condition will have higher pain thresholds (i.e., be better able to withstand pain longer)?

HOWEVER, if opiates are blocked, which group should have higher pain thresholds, ____ High efficacy OR ___ Low efficacy?



To show this, need to block opiates to some subjects

Naloxone: Opiate antagonist; 100% effective

Subs get Naloxone or saline. Why saline?

Experiment Design and Predictions

Saline Naloxone (Placebo) (Opiate Blocker)

High Efficacy

Low Efficacy



Low Tolerance

High Tolerance

Pain Threshold (Ability to Tolerate Hand in Freezing Water)

Evidence that Efficacy Moderates

Stress --> Illness Connection in Humans

Bandura, Cioffi, Taylor, & Brouillard, 1988

Health Outcomes Questions

1. Compared to most other college students, what is your risk of an alcohol-related injury?

2. Compared to most other college students, what is your risk of getting into a car accident?

Denial and Coping

Psychological defense: Minimize or deny existence of threat

Is denial good or bad?


_______ Early in crisis

_______ Chronic (ongoing)


On-going denial can stop people from taking necessary action.

NMAD = Near Miss Asthma Death

Who denies more: ___ Asthmatics who experienced NMAD

___ Regular Asthmatics

___ Non Asthmatics


* Sometimes

Denial Among NMAD Survivors, “Regular” Asthmatics, and Non-Asthmatics

Yellowlees & Ruffin, 1989

Denial and Health Indices Among NMAD Survivors with or without Pre-existing Psychological Problems

Yellowlees & Ruffin, 1989

Evidence of Improved Marital Relations Following NMAD


“He has been less violent since the attack. He plays

with me now by twisting my arm up my back as a joke

rather than by badly bruising me”.

Optimists vs. Pessimists


1. Expect positive outcomes

2. Expect to cope with adversity


1. Expect negative outcomes

2. Do not expect to cope with adversity

Pessimistic vs. Optimistic Attribution Styles

A. Internal vs. External Cause

B. Stable vs. Transitory Cause

C. Global vs. Specific Cause

Optimistic and Pessimistic Explanatory Styles



Internal Cause



External Cause



Stable Cause



Transitory Cause



Explanatory Causes and Styles

I won the tennis match because my opponent wasn’t trying hard.

___Internal cause___ External cause

I lost my keys because I'm such a flake.

___Internal cause___ External cause

I showed up late for my date because Ididn’t plan far enough in advance..

___ Stable Cause___ Transitory Cause

I showed up late for my date because I am so bad at planning.

___ Stable Cause___ Transitory Cause

My cholesterol went up because I’m not exercising.

___ Specific Cause___ Global Cause

My cholesterol went up because I’m a lazy slob.

___ Specific Cause___ Global Cause







Optimism Measure Scheier, M.F., Carver, C.S., & Bridges, M.W. (1994)

Kurt Lewin: Morale, Not Simply Optimism


Diagnosed with heart disease risk

I will improve heart health


Diagnosed with heart disease risk

I’ll sign up at a gym I’ll change diet

I’ll meet MD every 3 mos

I will improve heart health

C. Synder "Hope" Measure (Really a Measure of Morale)

P _____ 1. I can think of many ways to get out of a jam.

A _____ 2. I energetically pursue my goals.

F _____ 3. I feel tired most of the time.

P _____ 4. There are lots of ways around any problem.

F _____ 5. I am easily downed in an argument.

P _____ 6. I can think of many ways to get the things in life that are most important to me.

F _____ 7. I worry about my health.

P _____ 8. Even when others get discouraged, I know I can find a way to solve my problem.

A _____ 9. My past experiences have prepared me well for my future.

A _____10. I've been pretty successful in life.

F _____11. I usually find myself worrying about something.

A _____12. I meet the goals that I set for myself.


A = AgencyF = Filler P = Pathways

Optimism, Pessimism, and Ambulatory BP Raikkonen, et al. (1999)

Prediction: Optimism and trait anxiety  increased ambulatory BP


100 volunteers, 50% female, ave. age = 37

80% white, 10% black, 10% other


1. Pre-assessment

a. Resting BP

b. Complete survey battery

1. Optimism (LOT)

2. Trait anxiety

3. Other background

2. Daily Monitoring

a. Wear BP device, 3 days, activates every 30”

b. Daily diary: Mood, Context (where, what doing,...)

Results of Raikkonen, et al.(1999)

1. Optimism

Pessimists have higher BP

Mood affects only optimists

2. Trait Anxiety

High anxious  higher BP

Mood affects only low anxious

3. Conclusions

a. Results real, not due to posture, activity, etc.

b. Chronic high BP is a health risk: can lead to


c. Pessimists and high anxious may be at greater

long-term health risk

d. NA is a real health risk, not just a “whining” artifact.

Fabricated Data for Illustration

Is Optimism Always a Good Thing?

Illusion of Invulnerability

Defined: Belief that one is immune from bad events, or that one will not be injured or harmed even when taking risks.

Arises from:

1. Easier to think up things that reduce risk than things that increase risk.

2. Lack of info about others' risk prevention efforts.

3. Egocentric dismissal of other's efforts to reduce risk.

Weinstein Unrealistic Optimism Study



Your Risk Factor for Heart Attack Me Others

1. Cigarettes smoked per week_____ ( 8 )

2. # Family members with heart ailments_____ ( 2 )

3. Hours of exercise per week_____ ( 3 )



Your Risk Factor for Heart Attack Me Others

1. Cigarettes smoked per week_____ ?

2. # Family members with heart ailments_____ ?

3. Hours of exercise per week_____ ?




Weinstein Unrealistic Optimism Study

All subjects next answer the following question:

Compared to other Rutgers students of my sex,

my chances of having a heart attack are:

Results of Weinstein Study

Health Outcomes Questions

1. Compared to most other college students, what is your risk of an alcohol-related injury?

2. Compared to most other college students, what is your risk of getting into a car accident?

Risk of Alcohol Injury, Compared to Most Students

n = 48 Mean = 2.46 Median = 2.00 Mode = 1 SD = 1.64

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