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FSU / Family Development / FAD 3432 / What are the two ways to define stress?

What are the two ways to define stress?

What are the two ways to define stress?


School: Florida State University
Department: Family Development
Course: Stress and Resilience in Individuals and Families
Professor: Kristen greene
Term: Fall 2016
Cost: 50
Name: Stress Test 1
Description: Includes notes from class and from the book
Uploaded: 09/24/2016
10 Pages 181 Views 2 Unlocks

∙ 8-31: Stress in the Body and Mind

What are the two ways to define stress?

Two ways to define stress:  

∙ Physiological definition: series of chemical reactions that happen in  your body

∙ Psychological definition

Physiological Stress Response

∙ General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS)

∙ -three stages of physiological changes

∙ Stage 1: Alarm Reaction: hormones are releasing

∙ Stage 2: Resistance or Adaptation: start to calm yourself down ∙ Stage 3: Exhaustion: first responders; stressor doesn’t stop

Autonomous Nervous System (ANS)- governs functioning of the heart,  lungs, stomach, blood vessels, and glands that operate automatically  without conscious thought.  We also discuss several other topics like What is the meaning of gonads in sexual reproduction?

∙ Sympathetic NS- engages during times of stress (gets you to the  stage where you should chew your arm off to survive) ∙ Parasympathetic NS- engages during recovery

What is the meaning of physiological stress response?

- food movement slows down in times of stress

∙ Psychological Stress Response

∙ Cognitive Appraisal Process- the process we go through when  evaluating a stressful encounter.  

∙ Primary- Determine if the encounter is irrelevant, benign-positive, or stressful.

∙ Secondary- Determine what coping options are available, if any, and the likelihood that we can take action.  Don't forget about the age old question of What is the benefit to water having a high specific heat and high heat vaporization?
If you want to learn more check out What are the steps in the hypothesis testing procedure?

Different Types of Stressors

∙ Reactions to stress depends on our appraisal of the stressor.  ∙ Appraisals can be conscious and deliberate or at a lower level  of consciousness.  

∙ Valance

∙ Eustress- Known as “good stress” or “healthy stress”, eustress  enhances our ability to function during times of need.  ∙ Help us to feel safe

What are the three stages of physiological changes?

∙ Helps us reach higher goals

∙ Can leave us with a sense of excitement

∙ Ex: rollercoaster and scary movies

∙ Viewing a stressor as eustress can:  

∙ Improve physical health  

∙ Improve our ability to cope with stress

∙ Help families cope successfully If you want to learn more check out How much charge is enclosed by the gaussian surface?

∙ -There is a point of hump that fatigue sets in  

∙ Distress- Known as “bad stress”, distress occurs when we  experience a certain level of stress, frequent stress, or stress that  lasts too long.  

∙ Distress is a negative psychological response to a stressor, we  believe the situation exceeds our ability to cope with stress ∙ Unmanaged distress can lead to:  We also discuss several other topics like What is the spanish term for sorry?

∙ Serious health issues

∙ Interferences in our close personal relationships.


∙ Discrete- This type of stressor involves sudden changes that occur  in a short period of time requiring readjustments (ex: divorce,  moving)

∙ Continuous- ongoing chronic problems that permeate our daily lives. Readjustments are required over a prolonged period of time. (ex:  having a child with special needs)

Types of Stressors

∙ Ambiguous loss

∙ Physically absent but still part of the family (divorce, missing  in action) If you want to learn more check out What is the meaning of reliability in the census?

∙ Physically present, but emotionally absent (drug/alcohol  addiction)

∙ Family conflict, daily hassles

∙ Demoralizing events- job less, unwanted pregnancy, poverty,  homelessness, having one’s child in foster care, mental illness,  criminal prosecution.  

∙ Natural disasters, catastrophic events

Missed Notes:

∙ cognitive appraisal - evaluating different events and encounters  that may be relevant to well-being, and if they are, in what ways ∙ -primary apprasial: perception of threat

∙ -ex: if someone insults you, what is your perception? does it matter  to you what that person says? how you evaluate the threat might  have a lot to do with who is presenting the threat.

∙ -secondary appraisal

∙ individual level variables

∙ -personality: things such as gender, gender role orientation, and  mastery all affect the way we cope with stressors in our lives ∙ -this includes level of self confidence, stage of life you are in

∙ -stage of life: where we are in our lifespan also influences how we  cope with stress

∙ -when you’re 7 years old there are a lot of little things that you can  afford to spend energy on, and more things will bother you. as you  get older, different things will bother you

∙ -family relationships play a greater role in the coping process than  the individual perspective recognizes

∙ -many of life’s stressors are interpersonal or have an interpersonal  component

∙ -the influence that you’re family has on you is profound in regards  to dealing with stressors, appraising stressors

∙ -the act of coping often requires interaction with others ∙ *family can be a great source of pleasure, but also a great source of  stressors

∙ -having resources does not mean the family will actually use them;  coping becomes an additional determinant of whether a family  successfully adapts to crisis

∙ -some families must enter into a crisis situation to reorganize the  system and develop new rules

∙ -some fams have to hit rock bottom before things can change ∙ Dyadic Coping

∙ -significant others can influence coping in the following ways ∙ -couples may model coping responses

∙ -the way one partner copes with distress could cause a lot of  distress in the other partner/on the relationship overall ∙ -really important to be aware of what your coping strategies are and how they impact the rest of the system

∙ -ex: i am an early morning person, i like to work out early in the  morning. this did not work out well for my husband or my children.  children wanted me to be the one who helped them get ready for  school. this caused major stress on husband, and entire system. ∙ TYPES of Coping

∙ -coping strategies: the behaviors we use to manage stress and  protect ourselves from psychological harm

∙ -Three general types of coping

∙ Active-behavioral: overt behavioral attempts to deal with a problem ∙ ex: exercise; going for a walk

∙ Active-cognitive: efforts to manage how we appraise the stressor or  the event

∙ reframe the situation; if something is really hard, "at least you’ll be  really prepared for graduate school”

∙ Avoidance: attempt to avoid the problem

∙ pretending doesn’t exist; numbing through self-medication; ∙ this happens in relationships all the time

∙ easy to think of substance abuse - people who use substances to  escape problems because its too painful to deal with the problem ∙ -Groups of coping that differ according to their function ∙ -problem focused function: behaviors aimed at specifically  managing the problem; finding a solution; weighing pros and cons;  looking for alternatives to find a solution

∙ -emotion focused function: regulating emotional response to a  problem; selective attention; this has to happen in life many times,  esp when you’re juggling many things

∙ -ex: you have family stuff going on at home, but it’s finals  week..have to focus on matter at hand before you can go home and fix the problems

∙ -meaning focused function: trying to make meaning of a stressful  encounter or event; much more existential way to look at problems;  looking for the “lesson to learn”; not so much focused on solving the problem ,more focused on what you can take away from the  stressor; “everything happens for a reason”; spiritual way of looking at problems

∙ -relationship focused: how partners are dealing with each other in  regards to a stressful event (two types)

∙ -active engagement: direct conversation about problem or stressor ∙ -protective buffering: hide information to protect your partner; not  necessarily sneaky; if there is information that you have learned  that could cause your partner more stress, if you put off telling them that information for a little, that is protective buffering ∙ -ex: partner thinks they are going to get fired, really upset about it:  not the best time to tell them you have to go on 2 week business  trip..you’ll tell them eventually but now is not the best time;  selective is choosing a time

∙ 9-19: Levels of Coping

∙ Three levels of coping that are commonly used:  

∙ Solitary Coping- the individual level

∙ Social Coping (friends)- support from others in our social  network

∙ Communal Coping (families)- when multiple individuals pool  their resources and efforts

o One or more of the members must perceive the problem as “our” problem.  

∙ Coping efforts differ according to our appraisals of stressor  ownership (“my/your/our” stress) and responsibility for coping  (“my/your/our” responsibility).  

∙ Occurs when a family member either directly asks others for help  with a problem or “indirectly” asks for help when his or her stress  “spills over”  

∙ (a) Individual coping- my problem, my responsibility ∙ (b) Protective buffering and parallelism: our responsibility, my  problem

∙ hiding something from family to protect them  

∙ (c) 1. Support seeking and contagion: my problem, our  responsibility

∙ 2. Directive support: your/our problem, your/our responsibility ∙ Directive coping- asking other family members to assume  responsibility for a stressor.  

∙ Happens when a family member appraises a stressor as  “your/our problem, your/our problem, your/our responsibility”  but believes that other members do not see it the same way;  they tell the others what to do to cope.  

∙ Communal coping- family members assume mutual responsibility  for a stressor and act on productively.  

∙ Family members must appraise the stress as “our stress, our  responsibility”  

∙ Maladaptive strategies- avoiding or resolving disabling  expressions of emotion.  

∙ Passivity

∙ Spending time together without talking about stressors ∙ Maladaptive strategies are not effective ways to resolve concerns.  ∙ Positive strategies may sometimes become problematic due to the  

interdependent nature of family life, individual, social, or communal  ∙ Coping Paradoxes- occur when helpful coping efforts exacerbate the effects of stress.  

∙ Likely to occur when:  

∙ One partner’s stress starts to affect the other

∙ One family member’s choice of coping response causes  distress in other family members.

∙ Family members have discrepant views about the role of  communication in the coping process.  

∙ Ex: going out for happy hour and when you get home it  causes more stress because the family gets upset.  

∙ Resilience- “a force within everyone that drives them to seek self actualization, altruism, wisdom, and harmony with a spiritual source of strength”

∙ Resilience generally refers to one’s ability to return to healthy  functioning after being in a stressful situation.  

∙ Being resilient does not mean that individuals are problem-free or  unaffected by difficulties

∙ It does mean drawing on personal beliefs, behaviors, skills, and  attitudes to move through stress, trauma, and tragedy rather than  succumb to them.  

∙ Its means emerging from stressful situations feelings normal and  perhaps even stronger than before.  

∙ Know differences of the items on pg. 27


Defining Communication

∙ Communication- a symbolic process through which meaning is  made.  

∙ Communication is a dynamic, complex, and fluid process that is  different within relationships  

∙ Symbolic- the meaning associated with verbal and nonverbal  messages. Different people can have different meanings for the  same word, phrase, or action.  

∙ Process- implies that communication is always changes ∙ Meaning-making- our understandings about things, events, and  relationships (their meanings) emerge through our interactions with  others.  

∙ The communication-based model of the coping process identifies  the varying roles communication plays throughout the process to  better understand the full-range of family communication during  times of stress.  

Communication as a Source of Stress

∙ Happens when:

∙ Communication or relational needs are not being met within  the family system.  

∙ The relationships within the family are troubled.  

∙ The messages or the interactions are stress-provoking  ∙ A family crisis influence the communication among family members. Family members say:  

∙ Distance themselves emotionally

∙ Act out against one another verbally and physically.  ∙ Family members collectively construct meanings through interaction as they share life experiences and talk with one another about  these experiences.  

∙ Families make sense of stressful circumstances through stories and  narratives they create in the meaning-making process.  

Communication as a Resource

∙ Social support as a resource is a “ social fund” from which people  may draw when handling stressors”  

∙ Family communication is also an important coping resources. A  family’s ability to use communication as a resource during stressful  times may depend on family members’ internal working models of  communication and relationships.  

∙ Conversation Orientation- families are concerned with  everyone’s input; looking at individuals within the family  ∙ Conformity Orientation- family needs are more important than individual needs  


∙ Non-verbal communication can be very powerful as a resource. It  has the power to change your perception.  

Communication as a Coping Strategy

∙ Aviodance  

∙ Journalism

∙ Uncertainity  

∙ Info-seeking  

∙ Maintaining relationships  

∙ Strategies used to maintain relationships can also be used in the  coping process.  

∙ Communication strategies used for maintenance- focused coping  responses:  

o Positivity

o Assurance

o Openness

o Affectionate Expression

o Togetherness

∙ Spousal Communication Coping Patterns (Hilton & Koop, 1994):  ∙ Talkers-higher success rate in resolving problems  

∙ Moderate Talkers- if the argument gets to heated it may stop  and resume later; may be more conflict regarding  


∙ Nontalkers- don’t communicate; everything looks fine and no  one can have an idea  

∙ Minorly Discrepent couples- partners differ slightly  communication styles  

∙ Majority Discrepent couples

∙ The demand/withdrawal pattern characterizes conflict in some  family interactions suggesting that coping patterns may develop  over time where one person wants to comfort a problem and  another wants to avoid.  

∙ Demand implies an approach behavior (a desire to change the partner).  

∙ Withdrawal implies an avoidance behavior (a desire to  maintain the status quo).  

∙ (don’t need to memorize just know examples of each) ∙ Three Primary forms:

∙ Behavioral  

∙ Cognitive  

∙ Avoidance  

∙ Five Functions:  

∙ Problem

∙ Emotion

∙ Meaning  

∙ Relationship  

∙ Maintenance

∙ Three levels:  

∙ Individual  

∙ Social  

∙ Communal- family  

∙ Look at chart in the book  

∙ Family communication can also be an indicator of family health and  functioning, serving as a measure of both short-term outcomes of  the coping process.  

∙ Maladaptation-family functioning is lower than before the stressor  occurred. Can be systematic of unresolved problem in the family.  ∙ Bonadaptation- family functions is at a similar or better level than it  was before the stressor event happened, improved family  communication can be a long-term outcome of the coping process.  

Test Review

∙ Types of stressors  

∙ Chart on adaptation and accommodation  

∙ Level 1- not eating out; level 2- mom getting a job

∙ Types of coping  

∙ General examples of different types of coping  

∙ Psychological effects of stress

∙ Where in the body is stress response initiated?

∙ Functions of coping

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