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Stress
Sources
Psychological
Moderators
Managing
What is Stress?
• An event that exerts
physical or
psychological force
or pressure on a
person. The demand
made on an
organism to adjust.
Sources of Stress
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Daily Hassles
Life Changes
Acculturation
Pain and Discomfort
Frustration
Conflict
Irrational Beliefs
Type A Behavior Pattern
Environment
Daily Hassles
• Lazarus’ term for routine sources of annoyance or
aggravation that have a negative impact on health.
Life Changes
• Major changes in life circumstances, such as
getting married, starting (or losing a job), or
losing a loved one.
• Life changes differ from daily hassles in that
life changes can be both positive and
negative whereas hassles are negative. Also,
while hassles occur on a regular basis, life
changes occur at irregular intervals.
Life Changes Units
Acculturative Stress
• The feelings of tension and anxiety that
accompany efforts to adapt to or adopt the
orientation and values of the dominant
culture.
• Exposure to racism is connected with feelings
of being marginal and alienated, role
confusion and poorer psychological health.
Pain and Discomfort
• Pain and Discomfort impair performance and
coping ability.
• Psychologists recommend that we space
aggravating tasks or chores, so that
discomfort does not build to the point where it
compounds stress and impairs our
performance.
• A Gallup poll (2000) found that 89% of adults
in the United States experience pain at least
once a month.
Pain Overview
• Pain usually originates at the point of contact, but our
bodies have an extensive nervous system to
communicate pain messages.
• The pain message is communicated to the brain by
the release of prostaglandins (analgesic drugs such
as aspirin work by inhibiting prostaglandin activity).
• In response to pain, the brain triggers the release of
endorphins. Endorphins act by “locking into”
receptors in the nervous system for chemicals that
transmit pain messages to the brain. Once the
endorphin key is in the lock, pain causing chemicals
cannot transmit their message.
Pain Mechanisms
• Prostaglandins: Substances
derived from fatty acids that
are involved in body
responses such as
inflammation and menstrual
cramping.
• Analgesic: Not feeling pain,
although fully conscious.
• Endorphin: A
neurotransmitter that is
composed of chains of amino
acids and is functionally
similar to morphine.
Coping with Pain
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Accurate Information
Distraction
Hypnosis
Relaxation and Biofeedback
Coping with Irrational Beliefs
Closing the “Gate” on Pain
Acupuncture
Frustration and Conflict
• Frustration: The thwarting of a motive to
obtain a goal.
• Tolerance for frustration: Ability to delay
gratification, to maintain self-control when a
motive is thwarted.
• Conflict: A condition characterized by
opposing motives, in which gratification of
one motive prevents gratification of another.
Types of Conflict
• Approach-approach: Conflict involving two positive
but mutually exclusive goals.
• Avoidance-avoidance: Conflict involving two negative
goals, with avoidance of one requiring approach of
the other.
• Approach-avoidance: Conflict involving a goal with
positive and negative features.
• Multiple approach-avoidance: Conflict involving two
or more goals, each of which has positive and
negative aspects.
Irrational Beliefs
• The ABC approach by Albert Ellis.
• Ellis believes that our response to
events (and our subsequent levels of
stress) are due to our beliefs about
these events.
• Irrational Beliefs can lead to higher
levels of stress.
Irrational Beliefs (ABC)
A
B
• A = Activating Event
• B = Beliefs
• C = Consequences.
C
Type A Behavior Pattern
• A pattern of stressproducing behavior,
characterized by
aggressiveness,
perfectionism,
unwillingness to
relinquish control,
and a sense of time
urgency.
Environmental Stressors
•
•
•
•
•
•
Natural Disasters
Terrorism
Noise
Temperature
Air Pollution
Crowding
Disasters and Terrorism
• Not only are disasters dangerous in and
of themselves, but they also contribute
to a rise in suicides, a feeling of lost
control, and physical and psychological
side effects.
• Likewise, terrorist events (such as 9/11)
cause lingering effects such as
posttraumatic stress disorders.
Noise
• Loud noise is an environmental stressor that
can raise the blood pressure, foster
aggressive behavior, and interfere with
learning and performance.
Temperature
• Higher temperatures lead to increased
outdoor activity and increased property crime
rates.
• Extremes of heat can impact our circulatory
system while cold increases our metabolism.
• Psychologists suggest that hot temperatures
incite aggressive behavior by arousing angry
or hostile thoughts and feelings.
Crowding
• Crowding is the feeling of being “too close for
comfort”.
• Big-city dwellers are more likely to experience
stimulus overload and to fear crime than folks in
suburbs and rural areas. Overwhelming crowd
stimulation can lead to a narrowing of perceptions to
a particular face, destination or job.
• An adverse condition of crowding is the invasion of
personal space. You are likely to become anxious
when people invade your personal space.
Crowding (cont.)
• A study by Calhoun
(1962) described a
“rat universe” that
looked at the effects
of overcrowding.
The question is…do
our cities also suffer
from the “behavioral
sink”?
Psychological Moderators
•
•
•
•
•
•
Self-Efficacy Expectations
Psychological Hardiness
Sense of Humor
Predictability and Control
Optimism
Social Support
Self-Efficacy
• Beliefs to the effect that one can perform a
task successfully or manage a stressor.
• People with high self-efficacy are less likely to
be disturbed by adverse events and more
likely to lose weight and quit smoking.
• People are also more likely to comply with
medical advice when they think it will work.
Psychological Hardiness
• According to Kobasa, a cluster of traits that buffer
stress and are characterized by commitment,
challenge and control.
• Commitment: A tendency to be involved, rather than
alienated from, whatever you are doing.
• Challenge: A belief that change, rather than stability
is normal in life. Change is viewed as an incentive to
grow, not as a threat to security.
• Control: A perception that one is in control of their
life.
Predictability and Control
• The ability to predict a stressor moderates its impact.
Predictability allows us to brace for the inevitable
and, in many cases, plan ways of coping with it.
• Control allows us to feel that we are not at the mercy
of fate.
• Predictability is of greater benefit to people who wish
to exercise control over their situations. For example,
people who want information about a medical
procedure will cope better after the procedure.
Humor and Optimism
• Both humor and optimism can moderate the effects
of stress.
• Students who have a sense of humor and produce
humor in difficult situations are less affected by
negative life events than other students.
• Higher levels of optimism have been linked with lower
rates of depression and fewer stress related physical
symptoms.
Social Support
• Humans are social beings…and social support
seems to act as a buffer for stress.
• Research has found that Introverts, people who lack
social skills and people who live by themselves seem
more prone to developing infectious diseases such
as colds when they’re stressed.
• The major areas of social support are: Emotional
concern, Instrumental aid, Information, Appraisal, and
Socializing.
Managing Stress
• Passive (inferior): Withdrawal,
Denial, procrastination, substance
abuse, aggression.
• Active (superior): Engagement of
problem, active problem solving,
positive action.
Active Coping
• Develop time management techniques
• Keep stress at manageable levels
• Become more aware of your body’s response to
stress.
• Know what to expect.
• Reach out and be touched by someone.
• Work out
• Change irrational beliefs
• Express your feelings
• Try Humor
• Minimize daily hassles and do something you enjoy
each day.
• Practice Meditation
To the Instructor:
• The preceding slides are intended to provide
you a base upon which to build your
presentation for Chapter 4 of Nevid’s
Psychology and the Challenges of Life.
• For further student and instructor resources
including images from the textbook, quizzes,
flashcard activities and e-Grade plus, please
visit our website: www.wiley.com/college/nevid
Copyright
Copyright 2004 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York,
NY. All rights reserved. No part of the material protected
by this copyright may be reproduced or utilized in any
form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopying, recording, or by any information
storage and retrieval system, without written permission
of the copyright owner.
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