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Stress Chapter 15


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  • 1. Stress and Health Psychology Chapter 12
  • 2. What is Stress?
    • Many Definitions
    • Stress is the anxious or threatening feeling resulting from our appraisal of a situation and our reaction to demands placed upon us.
    • Event that produces tension or worry
    • Response to an event that produces tension or worry
  • 3. Stress
    • A state of psychological tension or strain
    • Adjustment is any attempt to cope with stress
    • Health psychology
      • Studies the relationship between psychological factors and physical health
    • Stressors
      • Events or circumstances that trigger stress
  • 4. Sources of Stress
    • Life changes
      • Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS)
        • Assesses impact of major life changes
    • Everyday Hassles
      • Pressure
        • Occurs when we feel forced to speed up or shift focus of our behavior
      • Frustration
        • Occurs when a person is prevented from reaching a goal
  • 5. Sources of Stress
    • Conflict
      • Simultaneous existence of incompatible demands, opportunities, goals, or needs
        • Approach/approach conflict occurs when there is a conflict between two appealing possibilities
        • Avoidance/avoidance conflict occurs when there is a choice between two undesirable possibilities
        • Approach/avoidance conflict is the result of being simultaneously attracted to and repelled by the same goal
  • 6. Stress and Individual Differences
    • Differences in reaction to stressors may be due to an individual’s appraisal
  • 7. Stress and Individual Differences
    • Hardiness
      • A characteristic of people who can tolerate stress well or even thrive on it
    • Resilience
      • Ability of a person to “bounce back” after a stressful event
    • Self-imposed stress
  • 8. Coping With Stress
    • Direct coping
      • Intentional efforts to change an uncomfortable situation
      • Confrontation
        • Acknowledging stress directly and initiating a solution
      • Compromise
        • Choosing a more realistic goal when an ideal goal cannot be met
      • Withdrawal
        • Avoiding a situation when other options are not practical
  • 9. Coping With Stress
    • Defensive coping
      • Can occur when you cannot identify the source of stress or cannot do anything to change the situation
      • Defense mechanisms (discussed in chapter 11) may be adopted to cope with stress
  • 10. Socioeconomic and Gender Differences in Coping
    • Lower socioeconomic status can lead to a more stressful environment and there may be fewer resources for dealing with stress
    • Women and men seem to be equally affected by stress physiologically
    • There are apparent differences between the genders in the perception of stress
    • Men and women may use different coping strategies
  • 11. The Biology of Stress
    • Fight or flight response
      • Release of adrenaline and norepinephrine into the bloodstream increasing heart rate and other functions to deal with stress
    • General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS)
      • Alarm reaction
      • Resistance
      • Exhaustion
  • 12. Stress and Heart Disease
    • Frequent or chronic stress can cause damage to the heart and blood vessels
    • Type A personality
      • Respond to life events with impatience and hostility
      • Correlated with development of heart disease
    • Type B personality
      • Relaxed and easygoing
  • 13. Stress and the Immune System
    • Psychoneuroimmunology
      • Study of the interaction between stress and the immune, endocrine, and nervous systems
    • Chronic stress can suppress immune function
    • Possible link between stress and cancer
  • 14. Methods of Reducing Stress
    • Calm down
      • Exercise
      • Relaxation training
    • Reach out
      • Social support network
    • Religion
      • Studies have shown an association between religion and lower stress
      • May be related to social support
    • Altruism
      • Giving to others because is gives you pleasure
      • Shown to be a good way to reduce stress
  • 15. Methods of Reducing Stress
    • Learn to cope effectively
      • Proactive coping
        • Anticipate stressful events and take steps to avoid them
      • Positive reappraisal
        • Alter the way you think about a stressful situation
        • Making the best of a tense or stressful event
      • Humor
        • Finding the funny things in a situation
  • 16. Coping With Stress at College
    • Plan ahead
    • Prioritize
    • Exercise
    • Listen to music, watch TV, or go out as a study break
    • Talk to others
    • Meditate or use other relaxation techniques
  • 17. Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle
    • Eat a well-balanced diet
    • Exercise
    • Quit smoking
    • Avoid high risk behaviors
  • 18. Sources of Extreme Stress
    • Unemployment
      • Stages of relief, optimism, doubt, malaise, cynicism
    • Divorce and separation
      • Ambivalence, feelings of failure, sadness, and fear
    • Bereavement
  • 19. Sources of Extreme Stress
    • Catastrophes
      • Shock stage
      • Suggestible stage
      • Recovery stage
    • Combat and other threatening personal attacks
      • Effects can linger
      • Can lead to depression and other disorders
  • 20. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
    • Characterized by episodes of anxiety, sleeplessness, and nightmares from a disturbing event in the past
    • Victims may withdraw from social life or job and family responsibilities
  • 21. Traumatic events
    • Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include:
      • violent personal assaults
        • Sexual assault
        • Physical attack
        • Abuse
        • Stabbing
      • natural disasters
      • Accidents
      • Military combat.
  • 22. Symptoms of PTSD
    • Re-experiencing the event through flashbacks or nightmares
    • Avoiding people, places or thoughts that bring back memories of the trauma
    • Feeling angry & unable to trust people
    • Social withdrawal
    • Numbness
    • Insomnia
    • Lack of concentration
  • 23. How long do symptoms last?
    • The symptoms of PTSD can start after a delay of weeks, or even months. They usually appear within 3 months after the traumatic event.
    • Some people get better within 6 months. Others may have the illness for much longer.
  • 24. Consequences
    • Physiological outcomes
    • Psychological outcomes
    • Self-destructive behaviors
  • 25. Physiological outcomes
    • Neurobiological changes
    • Psychophysiological changes
    • Headache
    • Stomach or digestive problems
    • Dizziness
  • 26. Psychological outcomes
    • Depression
    • Other anxiety disorders (such as phobias, panic, and social anxiety)
    • Splitting off from the present
    • Eating disorders
  • 27. Self-destructive behaviors
    • Low self esteem
    • Alcohol and drug abuse
    • Suicidal attempts
    • Self-injury
    • Risky sexual behaviors leading to unplanned pregnancy or STDs, including HIV
  • 28. Treatment
    • PTSD is treated by a variety of forms of psychotherapy (talk therapy) and pharmacotherapy (medication).
    • There is no single best treatment, but some treatments are quite promising, especially cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
  • 29. Treatment
    • A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapy based on modifying beliefs and behaviors, with the aim of influencing disturbed emotions.
  • 30. Cognitive Restructuring
    • Cognitive restructuring aims at replacing dysfunctional thoughts with more realistic & helpful ones.
    • e.g.
    • “ I’ll never be normal again..I am gonna die”
    • “ I’ll get better..It will just take time”
    • Or “I feel scared..But I am safe”
  • 31. Exposure Therapy
    • In exposure therapy your goal is to have less fear about your memories.
    • By talking about your trauma repeatedly with your therapist, you'll learn to get control of your thoughts and feelings about the trauma.
    • You'll learn that you do not have to be afraid of your memories anymore.
  • 32. Medication
    • The use of medication in addition to psychotherapy has been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of PTSD.
    • The most widely used drug treatments for PTSD are the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac & Zoloft
    • N.B. Drug trials for PTSD are still at a very early stage
  • 33. The Well-Adjusted Person
    • Psychologists may judge the adjustment value of an action by the following criteria
      • Does the action realistically meet the demands of the situation or just postpone the resolution of the problem?
      • Does the action meet the individual's needs?
      • Is the action compatible with the well-being of others?