Chapter 15 - Chapter 15 Stress Coping and Health Our...

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Chapter 15 – Stress, Coping, and Health - Our psychological and physical well-being depends on complex interactions among environmental demands, the personal and environmental resources that we have to deal with them, the individual vulnerabilities that make us susceptible to certain kinds of demands, and protective factors that help to shield us from the ravages of stress The Nature of Stress - Psychologists have viewed stress in three different ways: as a stimulus, a response, and an organism-environment interaction - Some define stress in terms of eliciting stimuli, or events that place strong demands on us, these situations are called stressors - Stress also viewed as a response that has cognitive, physiological, and behavioural components – the presence of negative emotions is an important feature of the stress response and links the study of stress with the field of emotion - Stress finally viewed as a person-situation interaction or as a transaction between the organism and the environment o Stress as a pattern of cognitive appraisals, physiological responses, and behavioural tendencies that occurs in response to a perceived imbalance between situational demands and the resources needed to cope with them Stressors - Specific kinds of eliciting stimuli - Physical or psychological, they place demands on us that endanger well-being, requiring us to adapt in some manner - Greater the imbalance between demands and resources = greater the stress - Range in severity from microstressors (daily hassles and everyday annoyances) to very severe stressors o Catastrophic events often occur unexpectedly and typically affect large numbers of people ex. natural disasters, acts of war, and concentration camp confinement o Major negative events - being a victim of a major crime or sexual abuse, death or less of a loved one, an academic or career failure, or a major illness – also require major adaptation o Events which occur suddenly and unpredictably, and which affect a person over a long period of time seem to take the greatest toll on physical and psychological well-being - Characteristics include: intensity/severity, duration, predictability, controllability, and chronicity Measuring Stressful Life Events - Life event scales were created by researches to quantify the amount of life stress that a person has experienced over a given period of time o Asks whether certain events have occurred, their appraisal of whether the event was positive or negative, and whether it was a major event or a “day-to-day” event o May be asked to rate predictability, controllability, and duration of each event they experienced, permitting an analysis of these factors as well o Subject to possible distortion and failures of recall The Stress Response - Starting point for the stress response is our appraisal of the situation and its implications for us - Four significant parts of appraisal process:
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1. Appraisal of the demands of the situation (primary appraisal) -
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