Stress - Life changes & Daily Hassles


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Section b) Unit 2 AQA A AS Psychology

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Stress - Life changes & Daily Hassles

  1. 1. Life Changes & Daily Hassles Part (b) Stress in everyday life
  2. 2. Daily hassles Kanner et al 1981, Delongis et al 1982 <ul><li>Kanner et al 1981 designed the first form which included 117 daily hassles. </li></ul><ul><li>Adults were given the hassles questionnaire each month over a 9 month period to see which were occurred most often. </li></ul><ul><li>Findings showed that P’s who had hassles repeated experienced more physiological and psychological health problems. </li></ul><ul><li>Kanner found that daily hassles affected more than life events, correlate with levels of depression anxiety, etc., </li></ul>
  3. 3. Uplifts scale added later <ul><li>Kanner et al introduced uplifts scale to see if positive events in life could reduce the impact of daily hassles. </li></ul><ul><li>135 Uplifts items that cheer people up, e.g.., exercise, music, enjoying a film. </li></ul><ul><li>Delongis et al compared hassles with life events and found hassles correlated higher with health status problems more than life events. No statistical relationship found with uplifts scale. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Type A personality <ul><li>Friedman and Rosenman 1959 investigated if there was a link between type A personality and CHD. </li></ul><ul><li>Procedures :- A structured interview was given to 3,000 men aged 39-59, they were examined for CHD (to exclude any P who had already CHD). </li></ul><ul><li>Examples of question “How would you cope with having to wait in a long queue?” </li></ul><ul><li>The interview was conducted in a provocative manner to elicit type A behaviuor. There was a follow up study 8 ½ years later. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Type A personality <ul><li>Findings:- 257 of the men had developed CHD, 70% of which were type A – this was twice the rate for type B. </li></ul><ul><li>The difference in the incidence of CHD between both types dependant on lifestyle factors such as smoking and obesity, known to increase likelihood of CHD. </li></ul><ul><li>AO2:- Only American male P’s, only between 39-59, not an experiment, cause and effect difficult to establish. There could have been other variables eg, hardiness. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Hardy Personality <ul><li>Kobasa and Maddi 1977, outlined 3 main characteristics important in the defence against the negative effects of stress. </li></ul><ul><li>Control </li></ul><ul><li>Commitment </li></ul><ul><li>Challenge </li></ul>
  7. 7. Hardiness – Kobasa & Maddi 1977 <ul><li>Control:- Hardy people see themselves as being in control of their lives, rather than being controlled by external factors beyond their control. </li></ul><ul><li>Commitment:-Hardy people are involved with the world around them, and have a strong sense of purpose. </li></ul><ul><li>Challenge:-Hardy people see life challenges as problems to be overcome rather than as threats or stressors. Enjoy changes as opportunities for development. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Kobasa & Maddi 1977 <ul><li>Aim:- to see if personality had an impact on stress-related illness </li></ul><ul><li>Procedure:- clients trained to spot signs of stress such as muscle tension, increase in heart rate and anxiety. </li></ul><ul><li>Use CBT methods to control stressors </li></ul><ul><li>Findings:- clients responded well to hardiness training were more able to cope </li></ul><ul><li>AO2:- only male white collar workers used in study. Difficult to generalise to women or different cultures or classes. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Life Changes Holmes & Rahe 1967 <ul><li>Holmes & Rahe developed a scale known as the SRRS (Social Readjustment Rating Scale, it contains 43 life changes which affect health. </li></ul><ul><li>These events contain both positive and negative events that change lives eg., Death of a spouse = ranked highest, whereas Christmas is ranked 42. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Life Changes Holmes & Rahe 1967 <ul><li>Aims : Rahe hypothesized that the more stress full life events experienced by p’s over 6 months the higher the positive correlation with illness. Rahe studied a “normal” sample e.g.., Navy personnel. </li></ul><ul><li>Procedures : 2700 Navy personnel filled in questionnaires (prior to a tour of duty) on the amount of life events they had experienced in the previous 6 months. During their tour the number of illnesses were recorded to establish a correlation. </li></ul><ul><li>Findings: A small positive correlation was found +.118 </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion: There is a correlation between life events and illness. </li></ul><ul><li>AO2: Both positive and negative events were used, but some may have a beneficial effect, eg., marriage. SRRS ignores individual differences, only male used in study, specific to job. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Work place stress <ul><li>Marmot et al 1997 proposed the “job-strain model” causes stress and illness in 2 ways, (1) High work load (creates greater work loads), (2) Low job control (eg., over deadlines, procedures, etc., Marmot studied civil servants with either high-grade or low-grade positions, believing that both aspects (1) & (2) would be experienced by each group, but for different reasons. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Work place stress <ul><li>Aims: To see if there is a correlation between workload and control in the workplace. </li></ul><ul><li>Procedures: 7372 civil servants were given questionnaires on workload, job control and the amount of social support they had in their lives. These p’s were assessed for CVD, 5 yrs later assessed again. </li></ul><ul><li>Findings: No correlation was found between high work load and stress related illness. Whereas the higher level civil servants experienced less CVD problems = the more job control the less the stress. </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusions: Control over job workload, and social support helps lessen stress – supports Hardiness. </li></ul><ul><li>AO2: Questionnaire used, results may be biased, large sample, specific job difficult to generalise to wider population. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Approaches to coping with stress – problem-focused and emotion-focused <ul><li>Problem-focused coping: The use of strategies designed directly to alleviate the stressful situation itself. </li></ul><ul><li>Emotion-focused coping: The use of strategies that deal only with the emotional distress associated with stress events. </li></ul><ul><li>The key difference between these two: one deals with the stressor, the other deals with the emotions generated by the stressor. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Problem-focused coping <ul><li>TAKING CONTROL:- of the situation, eg., finding out causes of problem, how to deal with debt or illness. </li></ul><ul><li>EVALUATING THE PRO’S & CONS:- looking at different options, eg., whether to plan a new life or to take other actions to avoid financial ruin. </li></ul><ul><li>SUPPRESSING COMPETING ACTIVITES:- take action rather than putting off making a decision. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Problem-Focused coping <ul><li>Penley et al 2002 studied nursing students – found that students who adopted a problem-focused approach to work positively correlated on overall good health, compared to students who adopted a negative emotion-focused approach eg., (avoidance, wishful thinking), was associated with poor health. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Problem-Focused coping <ul><li>Gilbar 2005 examined the coping strategies and psychological distress in patients suffering from breast cancer (major life event). The results showed that emotion-focused coping caused more psychological stress, whereas problem-focused coping strategies were more beneficial in alleviating stress. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Emotion-focused coping <ul><li>DENIAL:- Going on as if nothing is wrong, avoiding taking action. </li></ul><ul><li>Distancing:- just not thinking about it. </li></ul><ul><li>FOCUSING:- Focusing on expressing emotions eg., crying, getting angry. </li></ul><ul><li>WISHFUL THINKING:- dwelling on what might have been. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Emotion-focused coping <ul><li>Folkman & Lazarus 1985 looked at coping with exam stress, found that problem-focused coping most useful during exam pressure, whereas emotion-focused coping was more evident after exams – waiting for results, eg., distancing. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Emotion-focused coping <ul><li>Rukholm and Viverais 1993 looked at the relationship between stress, threat and coping. They discovered that when faced with threat when faced with stress they need to deal with the anxiety through emotion-focused coping before being able to apply a problem-focused approach. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Psychological methods of stress management <ul><li>Stress Inoculation training (SIT), Meichenbaum 1985, proposed that although it might be difficult to avoid stress we can alter the way we think about the stressors in our lives. </li></ul><ul><li>Meichenbaum believed that a person could “inoculate” themselves against stress the same way we might inoculate ourselves against diseases eg., MMR, Flu jabs, Tetanus etc,. </li></ul><ul><li>Meichenbaum’s therapy uses CBT developed specifically to deal with stress. </li></ul>
  21. 21. (SIT) Meichenbaum 1985 <ul><li>Meichenbaum proposed the following 3 phases:- </li></ul><ul><li>Conceptualisation:- The client and therapist establish a relationship, the client will learn about the impact of stress and shown how to identify how to think differently about their stressors. </li></ul><ul><li>Skills acquisition phase (& rehearsal):- Skills are taught to the client, eg., positive thinking, relaxation, social skills. Skills are aimed at allowing the client to view their problems in a different way. </li></ul><ul><li>Application (& follow-through):- Clients are helped to find new ways to approach problems by role play, imagery, and modelling (watching another cope in a similar situation). </li></ul>
  22. 22. SIT Meichenbaum 1985 evaluation points <ul><li>Effectiveness – the combination of cognitive and behavioural makes this approach very effective. </li></ul><ul><li>Practicality – SIT takes time, money and commitment to learn the techniques required. </li></ul><ul><li>Difficulties – mainly in changing life long thought processes and habits, as the techniques may not be easy to implement due to personality factors, eg., type B personality. </li></ul><ul><li>Weaknesses of SIT – There is very little research support, only a few controlled studies have shown encouraging results, (Meichenbaum & Turk 1982) </li></ul>
  23. 23. Hardiness training Kobasa & Maddi 1977 <ul><li>Can hardiness be trained? </li></ul><ul><li>Kobasa & Maddi began teaching hardiness training following 3 phases </li></ul><ul><li>Focusing:- The client is taught how to recognise the physical symptoms of stress e.g.., muscle tension, rapid heart rate etc., </li></ul><ul><li>Reliving stress encounters :- Client relives the stressful event e.g.., interview situation, and explains their feelings about the event, this may give the client an insight into how they could improve. </li></ul><ul><li>Self-improvement:- The client uses these insights to learn how to cope in future situations. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Evaluation of hardiness training - success <ul><li>Utah Valley State College showed that hardiness training helped “at risk” students. It was found to help them to cope and succeed academically. </li></ul><ul><li>Olympic swimmers used hardiness training to build on their commitment, and challenge to increase their performance and control the stresses that interfered with success, Fletcher 2005. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Evaluation of hardiness training - criticisms <ul><li>Theoretical issues – the concept of hardiness has been criticized as the role of the three factors control, commitment, challenge is unclear. Personal control is seen as important in coping with stressors and overlaps with Kobasa’s view of control. </li></ul><ul><li>Can it be generalized? – it is difficult generalize the study as it was conducted on white, middle class businessman, difficult to generalize to women, different classes and cultures. </li></ul><ul><li>Effectiveness & Practicality – the training involves commitment, and motivation. It is not a quick fix solution. Individual differences, personality also need to be considered. </li></ul>