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AP Psychology. Stress and Coping. Health Psychology. Looks at the relationship between psychological behavior (thoughts, feelings, actions) and physical health. Stress.

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ap psychology

AP Psychology

Stress and Coping

health psychology
Health Psychology
  • Looks at the relationship between psychological behavior (thoughts, feelings, actions) and physical health
  • Psychological and physiologic reactions to stressors, situations, events or stimuli that produce uncomfortable feelings or anxiety
  • A stressor is a trigger that prompts a stressful reaction
  • Stress is a process
  • Stimuli such as heat, cold, pain, mild shock, etc. that we perceive as endangering our well-being
  • Acute Stressor - response to a terrifying or traumatic event
    • Examples -- relationship breaking up, starting new school, separation, divorce, death of spouse, victim of crime, natural disaster
  • Chronic Stressor - response to emotional pressure suffered for a prolonged period over which an individual perceives he or she has no control
    • Examples -- unsafe neighborhood, continuing marital discord, unemployment, homelessness, ongoing abuse, captivity
stressful life events include
Stressful life events include…
  • Catastrophes – unpredictable, large-scale disasters that threaten us (Ex. Sept 11, 2001)
  • Significant life events – stressful changes in lives (Ex. Death of loved one, marriage, starting college)
  • Daily Hassles – everyday annoyances that together can raise our blood pressure, cause headaches, lower immunity
social readjustment rating scale
Social Readjustment Rating Scale
  • Holmes and Rahe
  • Rates stressful event in our lives
  • The higher our score on the scale, the greater the probability you face a major health event within the next year (disease, illness, etc)
  • Example…
    • 100 – death of spouse (highest)
    • 50 – getting marries
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holmes_and_Rahe_stress_scale
  • Occurs when a person is forced to choose between two or more opposing goals or desires
  • Approach-approach conflict
  • Avoidance-avoidance conflict
  • Approach-avoidance conflict
approach approach conflict
Approach-approach conflict
  • Occurs when you are forced to choose between two or more desirable alternatives that both lead to positive results
  • Example…
    • You receive letters of acceptance from your top two colleges / both have academic and social advantages that make them equally attractive
    • Which college will you choose to attend?
      • While stressful, this ultimately leads to a choice between two desirable options
avoidance avoidance conflict
Avoidance-avoidance conflict
  • Occurs when you are forced to choose between two undesirable alternatives that will both lead to negative results
  • Example…
    • You are rejected by all of the colleges to which you applied / you must now choose between getting a job or joining the military
    • Which option will you choose?
      • Stressful because both options are undesirable
approach avoidance conflict
Approach-avoidance conflict
  • Occurs when you are forced to choose an alternative that will have both desirable and undesirable results
  • Example…
    • You receive a letter of acceptance from your top college / you want to attend this college, but it is very expensive
    • Will you choose this college or one that is less expensive?
      • Stressful because we experience both good and bad results regardless of what we decide
hans selye s general adaptation syndrome
Hans Selye’s General Adaptation Syndrome
  • Hans Selye (1907-1982)
  • Physiologist renowned for studies of stress
  • Identified three progressive stages of stress that collectively form what is called general adaptation syndrome (ARE a GAS)
    • The Alarm Stage
    • The Resistance Stage
    • The Exhaustion Stage
the alarm stage
The Alarm Stage
  • You confront a stress-producing event
  • Your body responds to the stressor by mobilizing internal physical resources
  • Sympathetic nervous systems
    • “Fight or Flight”
    • Example…during the alarm stage, your body produces adrenaline to bring about the flight-or-flight response
the resistance stage
The Resistance Stage
  • Coping stage
  • Although intense arousal of the alarm stage diminishes, physiological arousal remains higher than normal (Examples…raised temp, heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, adrenalin)
  • Resources are gradually depleted since the body cannot indefinitely maintain a heightened state of arousal
  • This stage can lead to diseases of adaptation, including ulcers and high blood pressure
the exhaustion stage
The Exhaustion Stage
  • Prolonged exposure to the stressor depletes the body’s resources
  • Exhaustion leads to physical disorders (toxic stress – Ex…MPD, DID, Schiz) , vulnerability to illness (suppressed immune system) , psychophysiological illness (Ex…hypertension, headaches), depression, ulcers and even death
personalities and health
Personalities and Health

Type A

Type B


Calm approach to life

  • High achievers
  • Competitive
  • Impatient
  • Multi-tasker
  • Walk, talk, ear quickly
  • Type A more likely to have a heart attack and physical ailments due to stress! Anger, hostility, cynical
coping strategies
Coping strategies…
  • Def – active efforts to reduce or tolerate perceived levels of stress
  • Maladaptive (-) vs. Adaptive (+)
  • Aggression; indulging ourselves by eating, drinking, smoking, using drugs, spending money or sleeping too much; or using defense mechanisms (unconscious, deceptive reactions – Examples… http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/15-common-defense-mechanisms/ )
  • Aerobic exercise, problem solving, seeking support of friends, accepting the problem
  • Relaxation, visualization, meditation and biofeedback can help lessen the effects of stress and boost our immune system
  • http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_management_relief_coping.htm
  • Hardy – the characteristic of someone who reframes obstacles as challenges, and maintains an optimistic view in spite of stressors
learned optimism
Learned Optimism
  • can combat stress
  • idea in positive psychology that a talent for joy, like any other, can be cultivated
  • done by consciously challenging any negative self talk
  • Opposite of learned helplessness (Martin Seligman)
    • condition of a human or animal that has learned to behave helplessly
    • that clinical depression and related mental illnesses may result from a perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situation
stress vocab
Stress Vocab
  • http://quizlet.com/1623772/ap-psychology-chapter-13-stress-coping-and-health-flash-cards/