STRESS AND STRESS REDUCTION

STRESS AND STRESS REDUCTION - STRESS AND STRESS REDUCTION...

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STRESS AND STRESS REDUCTION Adapted from Engs, R.C. Alcohol and Other Drugs: Self Responsibility. Tichenor Publishing Company, Bloomington, IN, 1987. (c) Copyright Ruth C. Engs, Bloomington, IN, 1996 The physical problems related to chronic stress include the lowering of the immune response, chronic muscle tension, and increased blood pressure. These problems can eventually lead to serious life-threatening illnesses such as heart attacks, kidney disease, and cancer. Holmes and Rahe and others have found that individuals who have undergone several stressful life events over a year's time have a much higher probability of developing these types of serious illness, within a few years of the events, than non- stressed individuals. During the middle 1970s, research by Mason et al. And Lazarus demonstrated that vast individual differences exist in how individuals respond to stress-producing stimuli. Some individuals react with the "fight or flight" response, whereas other individuals either suppress the response or do not react to it at all. To accommodate the individual differences in the activation of the stress response, the concept of cognition was proposed. In other words, the thought process of the individual in response to the stressor is considered important. What might be perceived as a stressor by one person might not be seen as a stressor by another. As an example, if I announce a surprise quiz, student "A" might then experience extreme anxiety and the fight-flight response. Student "B" may experience no activation. This could occur because student "A" had never reviewed the notes from the class while student "B" had. This concept of selectively responding to a stress stimulus was coined by Lazarus, Stensrud and Stensrud, and others as the coping theory of stress. An individual being stimulated by a stressor appraises the stimulus to determine if it is a source of (a) threat, (b) loss or harm, © challenge, or (d) irrelevancy. If upon appraisal it is determined that the stimulus is irrelevant or harmless, no stress response is activated. However, if the stressor is seen as harmful and the stress response is activated, a coping response occurs. If the coping response, such as taking three deep breaths before beginning the speech before the large group of people, is successful, normal physiological functioning will soon resume. According to Stensrud and Stensrud, if the coping response is not successful and/or the person experiences chronic stressful arousal from a variety of stimuli, unhealthy results, including physical and psychological health problems, can
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STRESS AND STRESS REDUCTION - STRESS AND STRESS REDUCTION...

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