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Resourcd File

  1. 1. Stress • Stress is a state of physiological or psychological strain caused by unpleasant stimulus. • Stress can be defined as being; a pattern of negative physiological states and psychological responses occurring in situations where people perceive threats to their well being which they may be unable to meet. • Stress has 3 main elements; the stressor or stimulus, the perception the person feels that they are under threat and the effects such as the behaviours experienced.
  2. 2. Causes of stress Johansson Stress in the workplace.
  3. 3. Background: • Stress is a biological response to an external stimulus. • The biological response is the fight or flight mechanism where stress causes an increase in blood pressure, a reduction in blood flow to the extremities and an increase in adrenaline.
  4. 4. Aim: • To measure the physiological and psychological stress response in two categories of employees.
  5. 5. Methodology: • A quasi-experiment where workers were defined as being either at ‘high-risk’ of stress, or in a control group. • An independent measures design as participants were already working in one of the two categories.
  6. 6. Participants: • 24 workers at a Swedish sawmill. • A ‘high-risk’ group of 14 finishers whose job it was to finish off the wood in the last stage of processing the timber. • Their work was machine-paced, isolated, repetitive and highly skilled. • Their productivity determined the wage rates for the rest of the sawmill. • A control group of 10 cleaners whose work was varied, self-paced and more sociable.
  7. 7. Procedure: • Levels of stress-related hormones were measured using urine samples on work and rest days. • Self-report questionnaires were also given to assess mood, alertness and caffeine and nicotine consumption. • Body temperature was measured at the time of the urine sample. • Self-rating scales were given, rating words such as ‘wellbeing’, ‘sleepiness’ and ‘irritation’. • Records were kept of stress-related illnesses and absenteeism.
  8. 8. Findings: • The high-risk group of finishers secreted more stress-related hormones on work days than rest days and a higher level than the low-risk cleaners. • The high-risk group showed significantly higher levels of stress-related illnesses such as headaches and had more absenteeism than the low-risk group. • In the self-report, the high-risk group felt more rushed and irritated and rated their well-being as lower than the control group.
  9. 9. Findings
  10. 10. Conclusions: • A combination of work stressors such as machine pacing, repetitiveness and a high level of responsibility, lead to chronic physiological arousal, leading to stress-related illnesses and absenteeism. • Reducing work stressors can reduce illness and absenteeism.
  11. 11. Issues: • Ecological validity – In their own environment doing their own ‘usual’ job • Independent measures design – Participant variables may case bias • Had a control group – Results found are statistically significant and not due to chance
  12. 12. Debates: • Individual vs Situational – The situation makes the individual stressed • Usefulness – How to reduce illness and absenteeism • Psychology as science – Objective measures obtained through biological procedures • Free will vs Determinism – Job determines your levels of stress • Reductionism vs Holism – Your job determines how stressed you are – Biological- biology causes it • Nature vs Nurture – The body’s physical reactions to stress.
  13. 13. Kanner Daily hassles and upliftscomparison of two methods of stress management
  14. 14. Background: • Life event scales were devised to demonstrate how major life events such as divorce and severe illness can be used to calculate levels of stress and consequently to predict illness. • Some research has suggested that daily hassles lead to more stress as they can combine to produce one large stress. • Daily hassles are irritating, frustrating, demanding and characterise everyday transactions with the environment.
  15. 15. Aim: • To compare the Hassles and Uplifts scale and the Berkman Life Events scale as predictors of psychological symptoms of stress.
  16. 16. Methodology: • A longitudinal study using self-report and psychometric tests. • Repeated measures design as participants completed both self-reports.
  17. 17. Participants: • 100 middle-aged adults in California. • Mostly white with adequate or above income. • Protestant with at least a 9th grade education. • 9 participants dropped out.
  18. 18. Procedure: • All tests were sent out by post one month before the test began. • Participants were asked to complete; – The Hassles rating every day for nine months – The Life-events rating after 10 months – The Hopkins Symptom Checklist and the Bradburn Moral scale every month for nine months To assess their psychological symptoms of stress.
  19. 19. Findings: • The Hassles scale was a better predictor of psychological and physiological symptoms than the Life events scores. • Hassles seemed to be consistent month on month. • Life events for men correlated positively with Hassles and negatively with uplifts. • For women, the more life events they reported, the more hassles and uplifts were reported. • Hassle frequency correlated positively with psychological symptoms on the Hopkins symptom checklist. – The more hassles, the more symptoms.
  20. 20. Conclusions: • Assessment of daily hassles and uplift may be a better approach to the prediction of stress and ill health than the life events approach. • Hassles contribute to psychological symptoms, whatever life events happen.
  21. 21. Issues: • Self-report measures – Unreliable – Social desirability- not wanting to seem too stressed • Generalisability – Mostly white – All from California • Longitudinal – See the effects and changes of stressors and hassles over time • Gained informed consent • High ecological validity – Can be applied to everyday life
  22. 22. Debates: • Reductionism vs Holism – Takes into account many factors influencing stress levels • Nature vs Nurture – The environment determines stress • Psychology as science – Objective measures that draw comparisons • Determinism vs Free will – Everyday hassles determine the levels of stress
  23. 23. Geer and Maisel The effect of control in reducing stress reactions
  24. 24. Aim: • To see if perceived or actual control can reduce stress reactions to adverse stimuli.
  25. 25. Methodology: • A laboratory experiment on 60 psychology undergraduates from New York university. • Independent measures design as participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions. • Stress levels were measures using galvanic skin response- GSR- and heart rate monitors.
  26. 26. Procedure: • Group one: Were given control over how long they could look at pictures of car crash victims for. They were able to press a button to terminate the image and were told that a tone would precede each image. • Group two: Were warned that the images would be 60 seconds apart and would last for 35 seconds with a 10 second warning tone before each new image. The group had no control but knew what was happening. • Group three: Were told that from time to time they would see images and hear tones but were not told of nay timings.
  27. 27. Procedure: • Each participant was seated in a sound-proof room and was wired up to the GSR and ECG machines. • The machine was calibrated for 5 minutes whilst the participant relaxed and a baseline measurement was taken. • Instructions were read over an intercom. • Each photo was preceded with a 10 second tone and then flashed up for 35 seconds- only group one could terminate the image. • The GSR was taken at the onset of the tone, during the second half of the tone and in response to the picture.
  28. 28. Findings: • The ECG recordings were discarded as they appeared to be inaccurate. • Group 2 who knew the timings showed the most stress. • Group one who had full control showed the least stress.
  29. 29. Conclusions: • Having control over your environment can reduce stress responses.
  30. 30. Issues: • Objective – Scientific data was collected from GSR • Reliability – Basement measurements allowed comparisons to be made • • Standardised Low generalisability – Ethnocentric • Demand characteristics – Used psychology students who my have been able to guess the aim or change the way the GSR picked up stress levels, e.g. digging nails into palm gives high readings • Low ecological validity – Lab experiment involving looking at car crash victims whilst wired up • Ethics – Looking at car crash victims • Confounding variables – Nerves can mess with the GSR readings.
  31. 31. Debates: • Psychology as science – Objective results from the GSR machine • Ethnocentrism – All from New York • Situational vs Individual – Caused by the situation or by the individuals response or perceptions. • Nature vs Nurture – The biological response to stress