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Chapter Two

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  • 1. © 2013 by Pearson Higher Education, IncUpper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458 • All Rights ReservedCrisis InterventionWilliam HarmeningRoosevelt UniversityHarmening, Crisis Intervention: The Criminal Justice Response to Chaos, Mayhem, andDisasterChapter 2FIGHT, FLIGHT, OR FREEZE: THE PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY OF CRISIS
  • 2. © 2013 by Pearson Higher Education, IncUpper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458 • All Rights Reserved1.11.21.31.4To summarize the psychophysiological response to crisis in itsmany forms.To explain the relationship between crisis and stress, and theimpact they have on the body’s homeostatic state.To explain how the stress response is mediated, and to list thefactors that buffer a person against the effects of stress.To summarize and explain the potential behavior patternsdemonstrated by an offender under stressCHAPTER OBJECTIVES
  • 3. Understand the psychophysiologicalresponse to crisis in its many forms.Learning ObjectivesAfter this lecture, you should be able to complete the following Learning Outcomes1.1
  • 4. 1.1 Psychophysiology of CrisisThe Crisis-Stress DynamicThe Human brain has evolved over time to facilitate a state ofpsychological and physiological equilibrium, or HOMEOSTASIS.Any threat to this balance can be described as a STRESSOR.Essentially every crisis brings with it some amount of stress tothe persons involved.When homeostasis is lost, the resulting physiological and/orpsychological DISEQUILIBRIUM initiates a series of reactionsdesigned to adapt to the stressor and return to a state ofhomeostasis.
  • 5. 51.1 Psychophysiology of CrisisThe Crisis-Stress DynamicCrisis Producing EventPhysical Reaction Psychological Reaction(Autonomic Nervous System) (Cognitive Mediation)HOMEOSTASISDISEQUILIBRIUM (Stress)ADAPTATIONRETURN TO HOMEOSTASISorACUTE STRESS REACTIONThe body attempts to produce moreenergy to meet the challenge ofthe stressor. May result in physicalexhaustion, which in turn increasesnegative psychological reaction.The individual’s perception narrowsto focus problem-solving entirely onstressor. May result in tunnel visionor panic. Panic increasesphysiological reaction.(Fight, Flight, or Freeze)
  • 6. 61.1 Psychophysiology of CrisisGeneral Adaptation Syndrome (Dr. Hans Selye, 1956)Canadian endocrinologist who proposed a three-stage model of thestress responseALARM STAGE – The fight or flight response is activated by the brain withthe introduction of the stressor. This response prepares the individual toconfront the stressor.RESISTANCE STAGE – The initial surge of energy is now gone, and the bodyattempts to adapt to the continuing presence of the stressor.EXHAUSTION STAGE – The body’s attempt to adapt begins to have anegative effect. Energy is depleted. Extreme exhaustion may lead totonic immobility, or the FREEZE response.
  • 7. 71.1 Psychophysiology of CrisisGeneral Adaptation Syndrome (Selye, 1956)Normal Level of FunctioningAlarm Resistance ExhaustionPassage of TimeResistanceHighLow
  • 8. 81.1 Psychophysiology of CrisisTransactional Model of Stress (Cox & Mackay, 1976)Proposed a psychological model of the stress in which the amount ofstress experienced varies as a result of the individual’s perception of thedemand the stressor places on them and the extent to which they believethey can cope with that demand.Physical and psychological changes that take place with the introductionof the stressor increase the person’s performance level and their ability toeffectively confront the stressor.With the continued presence of the stressor, the person may begin to loseconfidence in their ability to mediate the stressor. At that point they havereached the LEVEL OF OPTIMAL PERFORMANCE. The psychological andphysiological changes that have taken place will now have a negativeeffect and decrease the person’s ability to mediate the stressor.
  • 9. 91.1 Psychophysiology of CrisisTransactional Model of Stress (Cox & Mackay, 1976)PerformanceLevelStress levelStress level increases as perception of ability to cope decreasesBoredom ExhaustionOptimal Performance
  • 10. Understand the relationship betweencrisis and stress, and the impact theyhave on the body’s homeostatic state.Learning ObjectivesAfter this lecture, you should be able to complete the following Learning Outcomes1.2
  • 11. 111.2 Stress ResponseThe Physical Response to StressThe AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM controls the body’s response tostress. It effects:● Heart rate● Oxygen intake● Digestion● Size of pupils● Perspiration● SalivationThe ANS stimulates bodily functions in some situations, andsuppresses them in others. It does this through the influence of twosubsystems:Sympathetic NervousSystemParasympathetic NervousSystem
  • 12. 121.2 Stress ResponseThe SYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEMis designed to rapidly produce anddeliver energy throughout the bodyin response to a stressor. It isresponsible for the fight-or-flightresponse.This response creates a significantamount of stress on variousphysiological systemsimpacted, and cannot be sustainedfor prolonged periods withoutnegative consequences.The PARASYMPATHETIC NERVOUSSYSTEM returns the body to a normalhomeostatic state once the stressorhas passed. It is said to cause therest-and-digest response.
  • 13. 1.2 Stress ResponseThe system responsible for activatingthe sympathetic nervous system inresponse to stress is theHYPOTHALAMUS-PITUITARY-ADRENALAXIS (HPA Axis).This chain reaction of events beginswhen the stressor is introduced intothe sensory experience of theindividual. Once perceived assuch, then the HYPOTHALAMUS, theinterface between the nervoussystem and endocrinesystem, initiates the fight-or-flightresponse.
  • 14. 1.2 Stress ResponseOnce the fight-or-flight response is activated, if the bodyis not returned in short order to a homeostatic statethrough the influence of the PARASYMPATHETICNERVOUS SYSTEM, such as in times of extreme andprolonged stress, then the person can becomeoverwhelmed both physically and psychologically bythe body’s efforts to adapt to the stressor. In thiscase, tonic immobility, or the FREEZE response is apossibility.
  • 15. 151.2 Stress ResponseOptimalPositive StressFlightEscape StressorFightConfront StressorFreezeSurrender toStressorIntensity and durationof stressorAbility to mediatestressorHighHigh LowLowThe Stress Response Continuum
  • 16. Understand how the stress response ismediated, and the factors that buffer aperson against the negative effects ofstress.Learning ObjectivesAfter this lecture, you should be able to complete the following Learning Outcomes1.3
  • 17. 171.3 Mediating StressThe amount of stress we experience in agiven situation is mediated by ourperception of how prepared we are toeffectively confront it.Sapolsky (2004) has argued that theamount of stress experienced is determinedby two psychological factors:CONTROL PREDICTABILITY
  • 18. 181.3 Mediating StressCONTROL: The feeling that one is in control of thesituation buffers the individual against stress. EX: Awell-trained and well-armed police officer feels arelatively high degree of control most of thetime, and thus they experience less stress than acivilian would in a similar situation.PREDICTABILITY: Being familiar with a crisis-producing situation, including the potentialoutcomes, also provides a buffer against stress. EX:As a result of training and experience, a policeofficer knows what to expect most of the timewhen entering a crisis situation. This high level ofpredictability increases control and reduces stress.
  • 19. 191.3 Mediating StressLOCUS OF CONTROL (Rotter, 1954, 1990)A person can have either an INTERNAL or EXTERNAL locus of control.Those with an internal orientation believe they are in control of theirown destiny, regardless of the circumstances. Those with an externalorientation believe their fate is determined by external forces, andthat they have little control over their circumstances.Self-efficacy is the belief one has in their ability to achieve asuccessful outcome. High self-efficacy leads to a high level ofconfidence. Thus the following…Internal locus + Self-efficacy = ControlExperience + Training = PredictabilityControl + Predictability = Reduced levels of stress
  • 20. 201.3 Mediating StressLOCUS OF CONTROL (Rotter, 1954, 1990)AssertiveHelplessConfidentCautiousDoubtingIndecisiveLowHighAbilitytomediatethestressorHighLowLevelofstressexperience
  • 21. 211.3 Mediating StressWHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?1. It is important that those agencies tasked withcrisis response focus their hiring and recruitingefforts on individuals who demonstrate anINTERNAL orientation.2. Repetitive and realistic training is critical toincreasing a sense of control and predictabilityin those who respond to crisis.
  • 22. Understand the potential patterns ofbehavior demonstrated by a criminaloffender under stress.Learning ObjectivesAfter this lecture, you should be able to complete the following Learning Outcomes1.4
  • 23. 231.4 Offender Behavior PatternsWhen we look at the dual dimensions of control andpredictability in criminal offenders, we see fourdistinct RESPONSE MODES emerge.It is critical that criminal justice professionalsunderstand these potential response modes in orderto adapt their own response to predictableoutcomes. The four potential response modes are:● Offense Mode● Defense Mode● Escape Mode● Panic Mode
  • 24. 241.4 Offender Behavior PatternsLow StressOffenseModerate-HighStressEscapeModerate–LowStressDefenseHigh StressPanicHigh Control Low ControlHighPredictabilityLowpredictabilityRESPONSE MODES
  • 25. 251.4 Offender Behavior PatternsWhen we describe someone as being in “survivalmode,” we are really talking about someoneresponding in OFFENSE MODE.Ex: A criminal offender who has no intention of everreturning to prison, and who is being confronted bypolice officers with a warrant for his arrest. Thesituation is highly predictable for the offender, andthe fact that he has a gun, and no intention of beingtaken alive, gives him a high degree of control. Heexperiences less stress, and is thus able to thinkclearer. This, along with the initial surge of energyfrom his fight-or-flight mechanism beingactivated, makes him a dangerous individual toconfront.
  • 26. © 2013 by Pearson Higher Education, IncUpper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458 • All Rights ReservedThe human brain has evolved to maintain in the individual astate of homeostasis. The introduction of a stressor will causedisequilibrium to occur, potentially requiring intervention inorder to return the person to homeostasis.With the introduction of a stressor, the person’s sympatheticnervous system is activated through the influence of variousneuro-chemicals and hormones (fight-or-flight). When thestressor has been removed, then the parasympathetic nervoussystem attempts to return the person’s physiological system tohomeostasis (rest-and-digest).Various psychological factors, including a person’s perceivedlevel of control and predictability, will impact the level of stressthey experience in a crisis situation.A criminal offender will demonstrate one of four potentialresponse modes in a crisis situation;offense, defense, escape, or panic. Understanding thesepatterns of behavior allows those responding to adapt topredictable outcomes.CHAPTER SUMMARY1.11.21.31.4
  • 27. © 2013 by Pearson Higher Education, IncUpper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458 • All Rights ReservedDISCUSSION QUESTIONS1. How does training benefit a police officer in a stressfulsituation? How does a nothing-to-lose mentality benefit anoffender?2. Consider a bank robber trapped inside a bank byresponding police officers. Employees are inside and therobber is armed. Describe how the robber might respondunder each of the four response modes described in thechapter.3. Describe the type of orientation (locus of control) the childof an abusive, authoritarian parent might demonstrateduring adolescence and into adulthood, and why.

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