Emotions, Stress, and HealthChapter 11 Perceived Control To preview the locus of control concept
Stress and Health Psychological states cause physical illness. Stress is any circumstance (real or perceived) that threatens a person’s well-being. Lee Stone/ Corbis When we feel severe stress, our ability to cope with it is impaired.
Stress and Health Stress can be adaptive. In a fearful or stress- causing situation, we can run away and save our lives. Stress can be maladaptive. If it is prolonged (chronic stress), it increases our risk of illness and health problems.
Stress and Stressors Stress is a slippery concept. At times it is the stimulus (missing an appointment) and at other times it is a response (sweating while taking a test).
Stress and Stressors Stress is not merely a stimulus or a response. It is a process by which we appraise and cope with environmental threats and challenges. Bob Daemmrich/ The Image Works When short-lived or taken as a challenge, stressors may have positive effects. However, if stress is threatening or prolonged, it can be harmful.
One person, alone in a house, dismisses its creaking sounds and experiences no stress; someone else suspects an intruder and becomes alarmed. These different reactions illustrate the importance of: A. biofeedback. B. stress appraisal. C. spontaneous remission. D. the general adaptation syndrome.
Promoting Health Promoting health is generally defined as the absence of disease. We only think of health when we are diseased. However, health psychologists say that promoting health begins by preventing illness and enhancing well-being, which is a constant endeavor.
Coping with Stress Reducing stress by changing events that cause stress or by changing how we react to stress is called problem-focused coping. Emotion-focused coping is when we cannot change a stressful situation, and we respond by attending to our own emotional needs.
Which of the following is a good example of an emotion-focused strategy for dealing with a stressful situation? A. confronting a coworker about a workplace conflict B. calling a supportive friend to talk about frustrations you’ve been having at work C. asking for a raise you believe you deserve D. reading a book on new disciplinary strategies for dealing with your misbehaving children
Explanatory Style People with an optimistic (instead of pessimistic) explanatory style tend to have more control over stressors, cope better with stressful events, have better moods, and have a stronger immune system.
Social Support Supportive family members, marriage partners, and close friends help people cope with stress. Their immune functioning calms the cardiovascular system and lowers blood pressure. Bob Daemmrich/ Stock, Boston
Perceived Control Research with rats and humans indicates that the absence of control over stressors is a predictor of health problems.
Managing Stress Effects Having a sense of control, an optimistic explanatory style, and social support can reduce stress and improve health.
Control Our Health What can we actually do to control our health? Joseph Matarazzo gives specific advice. 1. Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. 2. Eat breakfast every day. 3. Get your weight to a normal level. 4. Don’t smoke. 5. Use alcohol moderately or not at all. 6. Get regular physical exercise. 7. Wear seat belts. 8. Don’t drive at excessive speeds. 9. Learn good diets and follow them. 10. Find a physician with whom you can communicate.
Sense of Control - examples • Judith Rodin discussed the importance of a sense of control in elderly persons, particularly those in nursing homes. • She reports that seemingly trivial environmental changes, such as allowing them to choose when to see a movie or how to arrange their room, significantly improved their health and psychological well-being. • Even the death rate dropped.
Sense of Control - examples • Rodin and Ellen Langer have also tried to enhance older people’s sense of control by teaching them new and more diverse coping strategies. The elderly were instructed to set a goal and to articulate a strategy for achieving it. • Those taught such skills not only developed a greater sense of control, but also had much lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. • They developed fewer illnesses, and any chronic conditions they had were less likely to worsen. • Rodin notes that a wonderful thing happened while she was running the study. After a local newspaper story reported that a neighboring state paid $10 a month more to the elderly, three of the people in the experimental group went to the state capital to petition their own legislature for changes. • The coping-skills training was critical to these improvements. Another group, given just as much sympathetic attention but no training, showed little change.
Sense of Control - examples Locus of Control • In a study by Richard Schulz, college students visited residents of a nursing home once a week, on average. • Some of the elderly could schedule these visits, • others were only informed when they would occur. • A third group was visited but without even being told when the visits would be. • After two months, those who could schedule the visits were rated as happier and healthier and required less medication than residents in the other groups. • Those for whom the visits were predictable were better off than those who were left uninformed.
Sense of Control - examples Locus of Control • The principle extends, of course, beyond the nursing home. Researchers had new health-club members indicate their preferred exercise activity. • Later, all were given that activity to participate in, but only some were told that their choice had determined the assignment. • Others were led to believe that their own preference had been irrelevant. • Those in the “personal control” condition more faithfully followed the exercise program during the ensuing six weeks.
Aerobic Exercise Can aerobic exercise boost spirits? Many studies suggest that aerobic exercise can elevate mood and well-being because aerobic exercise raises energy, increases self-confidence, and lowers tension, depression, and anxiety.
Aerobic exercise ________ the body’s production of serotonin and ________ its production of endorphine. A. decreases; decreases B. increases; increases C. decreases; increases D. increases; decreases
Biofeedback, Relaxation, and Meditation Biofeedbacksystems use electronic devices to inform people about their physiological responses and gives them the chance to bring their response to a healthier range. Relaxation and meditation have similar effects in reducing tension and anxiety.
Life-Style Modification Modifying a Type-A lifestyle may reduce the recurrence of heart attacks. Ghislain and Marie David De Lossy/ Getty Images
Who is the best example of a Type A personality? A. Bonnie, a relaxed, fun-loving professor B. Susan, a brilliant, self-confident accountant C. Clay, a reflective, open-minded artist D. Andre, a competitive, easily-angered journalist
Spirituality & Faith Communities Regular religious attendance has been a reliable predictor of a longer life span with a reduced risk of dying.
Intervening Factors Investigators suggest there are three factors that connect religious involvement and better health.
Research has supported the notion that: • A. younger people are happier than older people. • B. highly educated people are happier than poorly educated people. • C. physically attractive people are happier than physically unattractive people. • D. people who have meaningful religious faith are happier than those who do not.