Chapter 15
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Stress. CHAPTER 15. Section 1: Sources of Stress. Explain how stress results from our perceptions of demands placed upon us and our evaluations of situations we encounter. Section 2: Reactions to Stress. Describe the beneficial and harmful reactions people have to stress.

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Chapter 15


Section 1: Sources of Stress

Explain how stress results from our perceptions of demands placed upon us and our evaluations of situations we encounter.

Section 2: Reactions to Stress

Describe the beneficial and harmful reactions people have to stress.

Section 3: Coping with Stress

Explore the defensive and active coping strategies that people use to deal with stress.

Section 4: Stress in Your Life

Describe how college and work can lead to stress.

Components of Stress (cont.)

  • Two types of stress:

  • Distress

  • Eustress

distress:stress that stems from acute anxiety or pressure

eustress:positive stress, which results from motivating strivings and challenges

Conflict Situations (cont.)

  • Four categories of conflict situations:

  • Approach-approach conflict—the individual must choose between two attractive alternatives.

  • Avoidance-avoidance conflict—when an individual confronts two unattractive alternatives.

  • Approach-avoidance conflict—when an individual wants to do something but has fears or doubts or is repulsed by it at the same time.

  • Double approach-avoidance conflict—the individual must choose between two or more alternatives, each of which has attractive and unattractive aspects.

Conflict Situations (cont.)

  • How a person copes with stress depends on how he or she appraises the situation.

  • Primary appraisal refers to our immediate evaluation of the situation.

  • Secondary appraisal involves deciding how to deal with a potentially stressful situation.

**Conflict Situations (cont.)

  • Three ways to appraise a situation:

  • Irrelevant

  • Positive

  • Negative

Environmental Stressors

What is the top stressor a person has in their life?

  • Noise is one of the foremost irritants in the lives of people.

  • Crowding can be another stressor.

  • The problem occurs not when you are crowded but when you feel crowded.

  • The effects of crowding depend on the situation.

  • Major life changes are a source of stress.

Environmental Stressors (cont.)

  • Common to most of these events is the separation of an individual from familiar friends, relations, or colleagues.

  • Thomas H. Holmes and Richard H. Rahe developed the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS)—to measure the effects of 43 common events.

Environmental Stressors (cont.)

  • Hassles are the relatively minor, day-to-day stressors.

  • Research has found a connection between hassles and health problems.

  • Small, positive events, called uplifts, can protect against stress and offset the effects of hassles.

Fight-or-Flight Response

  • Fight-or-flight response—this response prepares you to face potentially dangerous situations.

  • Regardless of the stressor, the body reacts with immediate arousal.

  • The adrenal glands are stimulated to produce:

  • hormones that increase the amount of blood sugar for extra energy.

  • adrenaline, which causes rapid heartbeat and breathing that enables the body to use energy more quickly.

Emotional and Cognitive Responses

  • The most common response to a sudden an powerful stressor is anxiety.

Emotional and Cognitive Responses

  • The most common response to a sudden an powerful stressor is anxiety.

  • Other responses:

  • Angermay result from frustration.

  • Fearis the usual reaction when a stressor involves real or imagined danger.

Emotional and Cognitive Responses (cont.)

  • Examples of short-term emotional stress:

  • Overreacting to minor irritations.

  • Getting no joy from daily pleasures.

  • Doubting one’s own abilities.

Emotional and Cognitive Responses (cont.)

  • Cognitive reactions to stress:

  • Difficulty in concentrating or thinking clearly.

  • Recurring thoughts.

  • Poor decision making.

Emotional and Cognitive Responses (cont.)

  • Continued frustration can lead to burnout.

  • Prolonged stress, such as burnout, in combination with other factors, adversely affects mental health.

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder—a condition in which a person who has experienced a traumatic event feels severe and long-lasting after-effects.

Behavioral Reactions

  • People react to stress in very different ways.

  • Stress can cause positive or negative short-term behavioral changes.

  • Escape is another behavioral stress reaction.

Physical Reactions

  • Some people develop psychosomatic symptoms as a result of stress.

  • The physiological fight-or-flight response is the body’s first reaction to stress.

  • Stress is also a contributing cause of illness.

  • It can directly cause an illness, or it can weaken your immune system, allowing infection to invade your body.

Factors Influencing Reactions to Stress

  • Personality differences effect stress.

  • Type A personalities are very likely to have coronary artery disease, often followed by heart attacks, in their 30s and 40s.

  • Emotional expressiveness can also effect a person’s reaction to stress.

Factors Influencing Reactions to Stress

  • Physical disorders are more likely to happen when we do not have control over stressors.

  • Feedback is an important factor.

Factors Influencing Reactions to Stress (cont.)

What can lessen the effects of stress?

  • Social support can buffer an individual from the effects of stress.

Factors Influencing Reactions to Stress (cont.)

  • Social groups offer at least four kinds of support:

  • Emotional

  • Appraisal

  • Informational

  • Instrumental

Psychological Coping Strategies

  • Coping with stress is an attempt to gain control over a part of one’s life.

  • Cognitive appraisal

Psychological Coping Strategies (cont.)

  • Defensive coping strategies:

  • Denial

  • Intellectualization

  • Active coping strategies involve changing our environment or modifying a situation to remove stressors or reduce the level of stress.

Psychological Coping Strategies (cont.)

  • Active coping strategies include:

  • Hardiness

  • Controlling stressful situations

  • Problem solving

  • Explanatory style—pessimist versus optimist

Psychological Coping Strategies (cont.)

  • Relaxation

  • Progressive relaxation

  • Meditation

  • Biofeedback

  • Humor

  • Exercise

Choosing College

  • Ways going to college stimulates change:

  • College may challenge the identity a student has established in high school.

  • Students encounter greater diversity than they ever have before.

  • Developmental friendships

  • Instructors and assigned books may shape a student as well.

Choosing College (cont.)

  • Ways of coping with change:

  • Some students focus more narrowly when their goals are threatened by internal or external change.

  • Others avoid confront doubt by frittering away their time, going through the motions of attending college but detaching themselves emotionally.

  • Some manage to keep their options open until they have enough information and experience to make a choice.

Working (cont.)

  • Each person’s work experience is different and each person reacts differently to a job as a result of his or her own personality.

  • Five major sources of work satisfaction:

  • Resources

  • Financial reward

  • Challenges

  • Relations with coworkers

  • Comfort

Working (cont.)

  • Some theorists predict that people will change their careerseveral times in their lifetime.

  • Comparable worth

  • The market value of many jobs traditionally held by women is considerably lower than that of comparable jobs traditionally held by men.

  • Men and women are not evenly distributed among the various occupations.

Working (cont.)

  • Two laws that were created to address inequalities:

  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963

  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964

Distribution of Male and Female Workers by Occupation

Types of Conflict Situations

Conflict situations cause stress because you must give up something you want to get or face something you wish to avoid.

The Social Readjustment Rating Scale

The SRRS lists 43 items that require individuals to make the most changes in their lives. Each number (mean value) refers to the expected impact that event would have on one’s life. To obtain your score, add the numbers associated with each event you experienced in the past year. The total number reflects how much life change you have experienced.

Some Daily Hassles

We face frustration every day—these are the daily hassles of life.

The Fight-or-Flight Response

Our fight-or-flight response is triggered by potentially dangerous or stressful situations, such as a scare in the middle of the night or giving a speech in public. As soon as you feel threatened, your body prepares itself for action.

Types of Coping Strategies

The two major ways that people deal with stress are by either focusing on it and trying to reduce it or ignoring the stress completely.

Irrational Assumptions That Can Cause Stress

Some people hold self-defeating, irrational beliefs that cause stress and prevent them from adequately adjusting to life’s challenges.

Stress: A Summary Model

Your evaluation of a situation interacts with the stressor and what you perceive to be the available resources to determine how you react to the stressor. You respond to stress on several levels.

Distribution of Male and Female Workers by Occupation

One of the reasons for differences in pay between the genders is that men and women are not evenly distributed among occupations. If men tend to cluster in higher-paid occupations and if women tend to cluster in lower-paid occupations the average pay of men and women will differ.

stress:a person’s reaction to his or her inability to cope with a certain tense event or situation

stressor:a stress-producing event or situation

stress reaction:the body’s response to a stressor

denial:a coping mechanism in which a person decides that the event is not really a stressor

distress:stress that stems from acute anxiety or pressure

eustress:positive stress, which results from motivating strivings and challenges

conflict situation:when a person must choose between two or more options that tend to result from opposing motives

anxiety:a vague, generalized apprehension or feeling of danger

anger:the irate reaction likely to result from frustration

fear:the usual reaction when a stressor involves real or imagined danger

immune system:the body’s natural defense system against infection

social support:information that leads someone to believe that he or she is cared for, loved, respected, and part of a network of communication and mutual obligation

cognitive appraisal:the interpretation of an event that helps determine its stress impact

intellectualization:a coping mechanism in which the person analyzes a situation from an emotionally detached viewpoint

progressive relaxation: lying down comfortably and tensing and releasing the tension in each major muscle group in turn

meditation:a focusing of attention with the goal of clearing one’s mind and producing an “inner peace”

biofeedback:the process of learning to control bodily states by monitoring the states to be controlled

autonomy:ability to take care of oneself and make one’s own decisions

developmental friendship: friends force one another to reexamine their basic assumptions and perhaps adopt new ideas and beliefs

resynthesis:combining old ideas with new ones and reorganizing feelings in order to renew one’s identity

career:a vocation in which a person works at least a few years

comparable worth:the concept that women and men should receive equal pay for jobs calling for comparable skill and responsibility