Definitions of stress. Stress has been defined according to one of three theoretical models: • A stimulus (“stress from the outside”). • A response (“stress from the inside”). • A transaction emphasising the relationship between the individual and the environment (the interactional model).
Stress from the outside. • Stress is something which happens to us- we can list what is stressful and what is not. • Therefore we can list stressors.
Categorizing Stressors. • Personal Stressors • major life events that have immediate negative consequences that generally fade with time • Background stressors • everyday annoyances that cause minor irritations but have no long-term ill effects • Uplifts • minor positive events that make one feel good
Categorizing Stressors. • Cataclysmic events • strong stressors that occur suddenly, affecting many people at once
Stress from the inside. • Selye (1956, 1976, 1985) who developed the General Adaption Syndrome (GAS): a constant set of physiological changes when exposed to stress consisting of 3 phases.
The General Adaptation Syndrome. • General adaptation syndrome (GAS) • Alarm and mobilization stage • become aware of the stressor • Resistance stage • preparation to fight the stressor • Exhaustion stage • negative consequences of stress appear
Critique RE: Similarity in physiological reactions "Nonspecific reactions“ need research to "prove" it's no more than degree (magnitude). Individual differences are not explained. Important to note that: Prolonged Stress can have long lasting effects!
The Interactional Model (Folkman and Lazarus, 1984). Stressor Secondary appraisal An event occurs. Primary appraisal How do I feel about this? How can I cope with this? Stress if I cannot cope. Outcome
STRESS PRIMARY APPRAISAL 1. Relevant to you? 2. Relevant but not threatening 3. Stressful...relevant AND threatening SECONDARY APPRAISAL The evaluation of personal resources to cope with the threat... “Can I deal...?”
Coping strategies. • Emotion-focused coping • characterized by the conscious regulation of emotion in which people seek to change the way they feel or perceive the problem • Problem-focused coping • attempts to change the stressful problem or source of the stress
Emotion-FocusedSome people really do tend to“awfulize everything…”“It’s sooooo awful that…”“Did you hear about…How awful!!!” One task is to CONTROL, MANAGE, AND DEAL with EMOTIONAL REACTIVITY
Social Support - emotional - appraisal - informational - instrumental Hardiness - commitment - challenge - Internal Locus Optimism Buffers Against Stress:
Coping with Stress. • Hardiness • a personality characteristic associated with a lower rate of stress-related illness • commitment • challenge • control • Social support • a mutual network of caring, interested others
Explanation of the relationship between social support and stress. • Buffering hypothesis: protects individuals against the adverse effects of stress. • Direct effects hypothesis: provides individuals with a general resistance to stress.