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Reactions to Stress. Chapter 15 Section 2. I. Stress Reactions. A. Physical, Psychological or behavioral B. Human body is holistic 1. Integrated organism 2. Physical well being affects how we think and behave 3. poor mental health can cause physical or psychological illness.

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Reactions to Stress

Chapter 15Section 2


I stress reactions l.jpg
I. Stress Reactions

A. Physical, Psychological or behavioral

B. Human body is holistic

1. Integrated organism

2. Physical well being affects how we think and behave

3. poor mental health can cause physical or psychological illness


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II. Fight or Flight Response

  • Body reacts to a stressor immediately

  • Adrenal glands are stimulated

    • Increase blood sugar for energy

      a. Rapid heart beat and breathing

      b. Enables the body to use energy more quickly


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General Adaptation Syndrome

  • Hans Selys (1956,1976)

    1. Three stages in the body’s stress reaction – General Adaptation Syndrome

    a. Alarm – Mobilizes fight or flight

    b. Resistance – finds means to cope with situation

    c. Exhaustion – Adrenal glands are exhausted and ability to cope diminishes


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Emotional and Cognitive Responses

  • Emotional

    1. Anxiety

    a. Feeling of imminent but unclear threat

    2. Anger

    a. Result of frustration

    3. Fear

    a. Usually involves real Danger

    b. Ex.- Fire


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  • Cognitive Reactions

    1. Difficulty concentrating

    2. suspicion or distrust of others

    3. Continued frustration can lead to burn out

    a. Mental illness

    b. Suicide

    c. Physical illness


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V. Behavioral Reactions

  • Nervous Habits

  • Gulp meals

  • Drink or smoke more

  • Drugs

  • Tired for no reason

  • Change in posture

  • Disinterest in grooming, bathing and eating

  • Aggressiveness towards family

  • Escapism

  • Chronic unemployment

  • Suicide

  • Criminal behavior


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VI. Physical Reactions

  • Psychosomatic symptoms

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Insomnia

  • Migraines

  • Urinary and bowel irregularities

  • Muscle aches

  • Sweating

  • Dryness of mouth

  • Ulcers

  • Stress weakens immune sysytem


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VII. Factors Influencing Reactions to Stress

  • Personality Differences

    1. Type A

    a. Higher probability of heart attack for those 30-40

    b. Body in chronic state of stress

    c. Always prepare to fight or flight

    d. Extremely irritable

    e. Free floating hostility

    f. Impatient

    g. Move or eat rapidly

    h. Do 2 or 3 things at once

    i. Extremely competitive

    2. Type B

    a. Relaxed

    b. Patient

    c. Do not become easily angered


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  • Social Support

    1. Information that leads someone to believe he or she is cared for , loved, respected or part of a network of communication

    a. Four Types

    1.) Emotional

    a.) offers concerned listening and affection

    2.) Appraisal

    a.) listener’s feedback helps stressed person sort out problems

    3.) Informational

    a.) Stressed person evaluates their own response to stress

    4.) Instrumental

    a.) Active, direct support (Ex. – money, living quarters)


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