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Coping with stress. “Worried Sick” – last section on coping. Coping with stress. Overview: Psychosocial moderators of the stress response Ways of coping. Moderators: Factors that influence impact of a “stressor”. Coping styles and strategies (including appraisal) Social support

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coping with stress
Coping with stress

“Worried Sick” – last section on coping

coping with stress1
Coping with stress
  • Overview:
  • Psychosocial moderators of the stress response
  • Ways of coping
moderators factors that influence impact of a stressor
Moderators: Factors that influence impact of a “stressor”
  • Coping styles and strategies (including appraisal)
  • Social support
  • Control: unpredictable events; ambiguous tasks
  • Personality & current state of person
appraisal attributional style
Appraisal: Attributional style
  • Explanatory Style
    • A person’s propensity to attribute outcomes to positive causes or negative causes
    • Negative Explanatory Style
      • Pessimistic attributions that are global, stable, and internal
social support
Social Support
  • Social Support
    • Companionship, emotional connection, material assistance, touch, and/or honest feedback, etc.
    • Handout: Bowling Alone
social support and health
Social Support and Health
  • People who perceive strong social support experience:
    • faster recoveries
    • fewer medical complications
    • lower mortality rates at any age (Alameda County Study)
    • less distress in the face of terminal illness
  • Written exercise: Write about one of your close friends and the support he/she provides
just thinking about support helps
Just thinking about support helps!
  • For this study, “undergraduates (41 men, 41 women) wrote about supportive ties or casual acquaintances. Supportive ties were rated as warmer and less controlling than acquaintances, and writing about them evoked reductions in negative affect, especially for low-hostile participants," the researchers said.
  • "Compared with the acquaintance condition, the supportive tie condition resulted in reduced heart rate and blood pressure response during a subsequent speech stressor” among low-hostile participants.

Mental activation of supportive ties, hostility, and cardiovascular reactivity to laboratory stress in young men and women. Health Psychology, 2004;23(5):476-485.

how social support makes a difference
How Social Support Makes a Difference
  • Ameliorate stress hormones
  • Encourages healthier lifestyles
  • Better relationships with doctors, nurses, etc.
religious involvement as a form of social support
Religious involvement as a form of social support

Research studies

  • Better immune/endocrine function (3 of 3)
  • Lower mortality from cancer (4 of 6)
  • Lower blood pressure (14 of 23)
  • Less heart disease (7 of 11)
  • Less stroke (1 of 1)
  • Lower cholesterol (3 of 3)
  • Less cigarette smoking (23 of 25)
  • More likely to exercise (3 of 5)
  • Lower mortality (11 of 14) (1995-2000)
  • Clergy mortality (12 of 13)
  • However, multiple problems with the research
  • Numerous new studies now under review
moderators personal control
Moderators: Personal Control
  • Personal Control
    • self-efficacy (Albert Bandura)
    • Design an intervention for nursing home residents to increase their perceptions of personal control
    • Langer & Rodin (1976): Nursing home residents who were given more responsibility over their daily lives were more active, sociable, happier, and had lower mortality rates than other residents
perceived control and biological effects
Perceived Control and Biological Effects
  • Uncontrollable stressors trigger stronger corticosteroid response
  • Stress aroused in a person with a sense of mastery can actually enhance immune functioning
who copes well
Who Copes Well?
  • Appraisal of a stressor is impacted by personal resources such as personality
  • Personality styles related to health
    • Type A
    • Optimism/Pessimism
    • Mastery/Locus of Control
    • Hardiness/Resilence
moderators personality hardiness
Moderators: Personality -- hardiness
  • Hardiness
    • Cluster of stress-buffering traits consisting of commitment, challenge, control
    • Linked to lower levels of anxiety, adaptive coping styles, and adjustment to cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and many other health problems
    • Hardy people are more likely to engage in positive reappraisal of stressful events
coping with stress2
Coping with stress
  • Coping
    • What is your most frequent and/or effective coping method?
    • Coping -- a dynamic process to reduce stress and/or restore balance
      • Involves cognitive, behavioral, emotional, social, spiritual aspects
coping strategies
Coping Strategies
  • Problem-Focused Coping — dealing directly with a stressor by reducing its demands or increasing one’s resources for meeting those demands
  • Proactive Coping — anticipate potential stressors and act to prevent them or to mute their impact
  • Health buffers – exercise, sleep, nutrition
problem focused e g time management
Problem-focused: e.g., time management
  • Time stress!
  • Strategies:
    • Common time-consumers?
    • (identify and minimize)
    • Prioritizing
    • Avoiding procrastination
    • Assertiveness (e.g., saying no when necessary
    • Others?
coping strategies1
Coping Strategies
  • Emotion-Focused Coping
    • person tries to control his or her emotional response to a stressor
      • escape-avoidance
      • reappraisal(e.g., “is this really that important?” “am I engaging in faulty thinking?)
      • only connect!
      • others? (see following slides)
relaxation based approaches
Relaxation-based approaches
  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Biofeedback
  • Hypnosis
  • Relaxation
    • Guided imagery
    • Systematic desensitization
    • PMR
coping psychotherapy
Coping: Psychotherapy
  • Psychotherapies:
    • Cognitive-behavioral (e.g., cognitive restructuring)
    • Psychodynamic