- Slides: 17
Stress n What is Stress? Stress is a negative emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical, physi ological, cognitive, and behavioral changes that are directed either toward altering the stressful event or accommodating to its effects.
Each stressful experience may be stressful to some people but not to others. Initially, researchers focused on stressful events themselves, called stressors. Such events include noise, crowding, a bad relation ship, a round of job interviews, or the communications to work. Each stressful experience may be stressful to some people but not to oth ers. Whereas one person might find the loss of a job highly stressful, another might see it as an opportunity to try a new field, and as a challenge rather than a threat. How a potential stressor is perceived substantially determines whether it will be experienced as stressful. n
Person-Environment n n Stress is the consequence of a person's appraisal processes: the assessment of whether personal resources are sufficient to meet the demands of the environment. Stress, then, is determined by person environment fit. (1) When a person's resources are more than adequate to deal with a difficult situation, he or she may feel little stress. (2) When the individ ual perceives that his or her resources will probably be sufficient to deal with the event but only at the cost of great effort, he or she may feel a moderate amount of stress. (3) When the individual perceives that his or her re sources will probably not suffice to meet an environmental stressor, he or she may experience a great deal of stress.
Theoretical Contributions to the Study of Stress n Cannon pro posed that, when an organism perceives a threat, the body is rapidly aroused and moti vated via the sympathetic nervous system and the endocrine system. This concerted physio logical response mobilizes the organism to at tack the threat or to flee; hence, it is called the fight or flight response. Fight or Flight
Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome n Another important early contribution to the field of stress is Hans Selye's (1956, 1976) work on the general adaptation syndrome. Al though Selye initially explored the effects of sex hormones on physiological functioning, he became interested in the stressful impact his interventions seemed to have. Accordingly, he exposed rats to a variety of prolonged stres sors such as extreme cold and fatigue and observed their physiological responses. To his surprise, all stressors, regardless of type, pro duced stress responses.
n n n From these observations, Selye (1956) de veloped his concept of the general adaptation syndrome. He argued that, when an organism confronts a stressor, it mobilizes itself for ac tion. The response itself is nonspecific with re spect to the stressor; that is, regardless of the cause of the threat, the individual will respond with the same physiological pattern of reac tions. Over time, with repeated or prolonged exposure to stress, there will be wear and tear on the system. The general adaptation syndrome consists of three phases. In the first phase, alarm, the organism becomes mobilized to meet the threat. In the second phase, resistance, the or ganism makes efforts to cope with the threat, as through confrontation. The third phase, ex haustion, occurs if the organism fails to over come threat and depletes its physiological resources in the process of trying. The substantial impact of Selye's model on the field of stress continues to be felt today. One reason is that it offers a general theory of reactions to a wide variety of stressors over time. As such, it provides a way of thinking about the interplay of physiological and envi ronmental factors. Second, it posits a physio logical mechanism for the stress illness relationship. Specifically, Selye believed that re peated or prolonged exhaustion of resources, the third phase of the syndrome, is responsible for the physiological damage that lays the groundwork for disease. In fact, prolonged or repeated stress has been implicated in disor ders such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, hypertension, and immune related deficien cies.
Tend-and-Befriend n n It argues that, during the time that responses to stress evolved, males and females faced somewhat different adaptive challenges and that female response to stress evolved so as to protect not only the self but also off spring Like the fight or flight mechanism, tend and befriend may depend on underlying biological mechanisms. In particular, the hor moneoxytocin may have significance for fe male responses to stress. Oxytocin is a stress hormone, rapidly released in response to at least some stressful events, and its effects are especial 1 y modulated by estrogen, suggesting an important role in the responses of females. In support of theory, there is evidence that females are consistently more likely than males to respond to stress by turning to others. Mothers' responses to offspring during stress also appear to be different from those of fathers in ways en compassed by the tend and befriend theory
Psychological Appraisal and the Experience of Stress n n Primary Appraisal: maintains that, when indi viduals confront a new or changing environment. Secondary Appraisal: assess ment of one's coping abilities and resources
n n n "Harm" is the assessment of the damage that has already been done by an event. "Threat" is the assessment of possible future damage that may be brought about by the event. "challenge" the potential to overcome and even profit from the event.
The Physiology of Stress n Sympathetic Activation n HPA Activation
Individual Differences in Stress Reactivity n Reactivity is the change in response to stress that may occur in autonomic, neuro endocrine, and/or immune responses to stress.
Allostatic Load n The physiological costs of chronic exposure to fluctuating or heightened neural or neuro endcrine response that results from repeated or chronic stress.
What Makes Events Stressful? 1. Negative Events 2. Uncontrollable Events 3. Ambiguous Events 4. Overload
Can People Adapt to Stress? n Physiological Adaptation n Psychological Adaptation n Aftereffects of Stress n Studying stress
Stress in the Workplace 1. Physical Hazards 2. Overload 3. Social Relationships 4. Control 5. Unemployment