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Stress and Coping Exam 1 Study Guide

by: Freddi Marsillo

Stress and Coping Exam 1 Study Guide PSYC 3199

Marketplace > George Washington University > Psychology > PSYC 3199 > Stress and Coping Exam 1 Study Guide
Freddi Marsillo
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This study guide is everything that our upcoming exam will cover.
Psychology of Stress and Coping
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This 15 page Study Guide was uploaded by Freddi Marsillo on Tuesday September 27, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to PSYC 3199 at George Washington University taught by Howe in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 59 views. For similar materials see Psychology of Stress and Coping in Psychology at George Washington University.


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Date Created: 09/27/16
Stress & Coping Exam 1 Study Guide 9/28/16 12:15 AM 1. Adolf Meyer was one of the first to link events to health. What types of events did he focus on in his life chart method? • “Fundamentally important environmental incidents” over the course of life, such as marriage, disease onset, death of loved ones, change in financial state 2. Why can checklist measures of stressful events be biased or inaccurate? • Memory of whether an event occurred can be biased by one’s current mood • Perceived severity of an event can also be biased by current mood • Evaluation of “how bad it was” is an appraisal that can change with time, be affected by current mood, and vary across personality styles o Appraisal = assessing, evaluating the value or severity of something or someone ▯ An active cognitive process 3. Interview methods (contextual assessments) attempt to measure how much threat there is in a particular event. What contributes to the severity of threat? • Importance of goals that are being threatened o Life-threatening situations are rated as very high threat • Novelty o First-time events are rated as more threating • Significant change in circumstance o Example: parents separate, and one parent moves far away, reducing opportunity for ongoing contact with the child • Lack of resources or resolving situation and eliminating threat o Example: loss of job when company leaves a community, eliminating opportunities for local employment • Duration: how long does it last? 4. How do events and difficulties (or adversities) differ? • Events are more short-lived (have a clear start and end date), whereas difficulties or adversities are ongoing situations that continue for at least one month, and usually much longer. Such as: o Having a chronic and disabling illness o Ongoing financial hardship o Frequent repeated episodes of family conflict o Living in a neighborhood with repeated and highly visible criminal activity 5. What characterizes a “flow experience”? • Flow is a state of high immersion in a process, with an accompanying sense of energy, focus, involvement, and happiness in the task. Some elements of flow are: o Intense focus on the present o Action and awareness merge o A sense of personal control o Activity is intrinsically rewarding 6. What kinds of situations lead to flow experiences? • Situations associated with flow are: o Involvement in activity with clear goals and progress o The task has clear and immediate feedback, allowing one to negotiate changing demands and adjust performance o Good balance between perceived challenges and perceived skills, allowing confidence in success 7. What evidence supports the idea that people can be inoculated against the effects of later stressors? • Some primate studies demonstrate the power of stress inoculation – exposure to mild stressors now may increase ability to handle stressors later – suggests repeated mild challenges are the key • Stress inoculation: young monkeys removed from group and put in isolation one hour a week for 10 weeks • Later in development: o Reduced HPA response to novel environments o Smaller cortisol response during weaning o Lower adrenocortical response during separation in adolescence o Less HPA response and faster recovery when restrained 8 years later o Better inhibitory control of responses at 2.5 years 8. What is “meaning-making,” and how could it lead to both positive and negative outcomes following a major life event? • Meaning-making ▯ perceptions of important o Global meaning: enduring beliefs and valued goals ▯ Beliefs about the world as benevolent or not, as just and fair or not ▯ Beliefs about oneself as worthy or not, as in control or not ▯ Sense of purpose and goals that direct actions o Situational meaning: significance of a particular event or situation • Both positive and negative effects of meaning-making have been found o Blame and negative evaluation lead to poorer outcomes o Nonjudgmental reflection lead to more positive outcomes 9. What are examples of primary and secondary appraisal, and how do they differ? • Primary appraisal assesses: “Is anything at stake here, and if so, what?” Examples include: o Example: I know I’m not going to pay my electricity bill on time. What will happen? o Example: I’m thinking of cheating on my partner. What harm will come of this? • Secondary appraisal assesses: “Can I do anything about it?” o Example: I got a bad grade, how can I fix it? o Example: My friend is mad at me, what can I do to resolve it? 10. What common goals are involved in primary appraisal? • Goals “at stake” include: o Physical comfort and safety (threat: physical discomfort, harm) o Social relationships (threat: loss of important other) o Achievement (threat: failure) o Self worth (threat: humiliation) o Moral value (threat: blame by others) 11. What are common aspects of secondary appraisal? • Common aspects include: o Is the outcome at all predictable? o Is the outcome controllable? o Locus of control (Can I control the outcome, or it is controlled by forces external to me?) o Self-efficacy – do I have the personal capacity to bring about the desired outcome? o What actions would work to resolve the threat? 12. What is a schema, and how is it related to appraisal? • A schema is a mental structure of preconceived ideas built on prior experience o Relates to appraisal because when we are faced with things that contradict a schema, we are more likely to re-interpret them to be consistent with a schema o Can influence how we search for new information (looking for things that confirm the schema) 13. What might activate a schema? • Schemas can be activated or primed by immediate context o Remember class video: color-changing card trick 14. What are the differences between automatic and deliberate appraisal? • Appraisal is probably both automatic and deliberate • Associative processing: o Automatic, quick, effortless, preconscious o Relies on associations learned through repeated experience o “Default mode” • Reflective processing: o Deliberate, slower, effortful, conscious, controlled o More verbal, intentional, rule-based reasoning o Most likely activated when expectations are violated 15. What are some forms of distorted thinking that Beck emphasized in his cognitive-behavioral framework? • All or nothing thinking – black and white o “If I’m not perfect, I have failed” o “Either I do it right or not at all” • Over-generalizing – seeing a pattern based upon a single event, or being overly broad in the conclusions we draw o “Everything is always rubbish” o “Nothing good ever happens” • Mental filter – only paying attention to certain types of evidence o Noticing our failures but not our successes • Disqualifying the positive – discounting the good things that have happened or that you have done o “That doesn’t count” • Jumping to conclusions o Mind reading (imagining we know what others are thinking) o Fortune telling (predicting the future) • Magnification (catastrophizing) and minimization – blowing things out of proportion (catastrophizing) or inappropriately shrinking them to make them seem less important • Emotional reasoning – assuming that because we feel a certain way, what we think must be true o “I feel embarrassed so I must be an idiot” • Should/must – using critical words like “should” or “must” can make us feel guilty or like we have already failed 16. What is rumination, and how is it related to stress responses? • Rumination is the constant recycling of negative thoughts about ourselves and the world • It relates to stress response because negative rumination and brooding increases association between depression and executive functioning errors after stressors 17. How do positive and negative “iterative thinking” (rumination) differ? • Negative iterative thinking contributes to risk for depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, insomnia, and heart disease • However positive iterative thinking (mulling over without negative frame) can contribute to anticipatory planning and adaptive behaviors that reduce threat 18. What is the difference between emotion-focused and problem-focused coping, and why did this distinction prove to be overly simple? • Problem-focused coping: managing the stressor itself • Emotion-focused coping: Managing the associated emotions caused by the stressor • Problems with this framework: Emotion-focused coping is often associated with greater distress 19. What does it mean to define coping in terms of its function? • Coping involves a range of actions (including thinking), both automatic and planned, that carry out one or more functions, including: o Changing or resolving stressful conditions o Altering the meaning of those conditions o Reducing discomfort • Coping may reflect: o More general styles that are consistent over time and place o More adaptive responses fitted to the current situation 20. Is it always better to cope actively with a situation? Why or why not? How are Weisz’s findings about children who are faced with painful medical procedures related to this question? • Active, engaged problem solving is assumed to help resolve stressors, however: there is research suggesting active job search is associated with increased negative affect (job search generates more pressure, for example) • Weisz studied children being treated for leukemia, who were exposed to painful medical procedures – he asked children to describe goals and what they did to cope with each of these. One response was to relinquish control (“there’s nothing I can do”) o Accepting that they can’t change the painful medical procedures may make them more at peace with the situation o Relinquishing control was associated with less observed distress during procedures 21. What is negative cognitive style, and how does it affect stress response? • With negative cognitive style: • Negative events are attributed to causes that are: o Stable (can’t be changed) o Global (they are present across most of my life) o Internal (I am to blame for them) • Negative events are seen as: o Leading to more negative events in the future o Meaning that I am flawed in some way o Very important • Positive events are seen in the opposite way: o Due to unstable, temporary causes o Unlikely to lead to more positive events in the future 22. What is cognitive reappraisal, and how does it seem to affect stress response? • Cognitive Reappraisal: active cognitive process of altering secondary appraisals o Challenging negative efficacy expectations (self- encouragement, clarifying what is doable) o Maintaining positive expectations in the face of setbacks o Developing positive efficacy expectations • Results of a study: resolution of stressors for older adults was predicted by more positive cognitive reappraisal of situations o Positive appraisal is associated with less depression in general populations and people exposed to trauma 23. Other forms of coping include distancing, acceptance, calming, and seeking social support: how might they be functionally related to stress responses? • Results suggest that these forms of coping reduce negative emotions longitudinally 24. How does attention differ in mildly threatening and highly threatening contexts, and what might account for those differences? • In high threat situations, attending to mild threats is a waste of resources • In low threat situations, we have more leisure to attend to the minor things • People are more likely to avoid attending to mild threat cues when general context is threatening. Why? ▯ could be adaptive • Extreme threat focuses us; most organisms orient toward danger cues 25. How is scarcity likely to affect attention and cognitive resources, and how might this shape responses to stressful situations? • Scarcity appears to increase attention focus and engagement, but depletes these resources – scarcity as threat • Scarcity can reduce cognitive capacity • Scarcity primes attention and cognitive activity, which reduces available resources for other things 26. What is the vigilance avoidance hypothesis, and how does it reconcile conflicting findings about attention to or avoidance of threat? • The vigilance avoidance hypothesis suggests that attention bias follows time course o Elevated anxiety results in involuntary, automatic response to orient toward threat o Followed quickly by attentional avoidance • There is evidence in lab studies: orientation toward threat tends to be found early (100ms) and avoidance tends to show a bit later (500-1500ms) 27. According to Wegner’s study, what happens when people try to actively suppress thoughts? • Wegner – white bear study – paradoxical effects of thought suppression • When actively trying not to think of something, that thing keeps coming to mind 28. What strategies appear to help with unwanted thoughts? • Focused self distraction (“when a white bear comes to mind, think of a red car”) • Reducing demands or cognitive load • Writing about the thought: expression reduces intrusiveness • Acceptance reduces aversive nature of unwanted thoughts 29. What is attention bias modification, and is there evidence that it works for everyone? • The problem is that there is biased attention to negative stimuli. A possible protective mechanism is biased attention to positive stimuli. Attention bias modification (ABM) is training to modify attention bias • Does not necessarily work for everyone – training shows impact, but that differs depending on serotonin transporter gene 30. How does mindfulness meditation differ from earlier approaches such as transcendental mediation? • Transcendental meditation focuses more on focusing on a specific target and continually returning to that target as mind wanders, whereas mindfulness meditation goes deeper and emphasizes awareness of sensations, thoughts, and feelings, rather than suppressing awareness of anything but focus 31. What evidence is there that mindfulness-based stress reduction methods change a person’s response to stressful situations? • MBSR group reported reductions in daily hassles, distress, and medical symptoms as compared to controls 32. What is valence, how is it related to attitudes, and what is the difference between implicit and explicit attitudes? • Valence: subjective evaluation of the world as positive or negative; whether event is attractive or aversive • It is the basis for the study of attitudes • Explicit attitudes are slower, more deliberate o Measured with questionnaires or interviews • Implicit attitudes are automatic, effortless, very fast, often out of awareness o Often measured with reaction time to simple stimuli 33. When thinking of emotions, what do we mean by “behavioral display”? • Behavioral display: specific patterns of facial expression, body language, and voice tone • Displays have powerful impact on conspecifics (those of the same species) 34. What evidence did Lazarus provide supporting the idea that appraisals come before emotion? • Suggested evidence: emotions are differentiated by appraisals ▯ manipulate specific information and see if this predicts specific emotions o Asked people to remember situations where they had felt specific emotions o Then, describe what happened in the situation to elicit those emotions o Rated those circumstances according to dimensions of appraisal o Found substantial match between type of appraisal and type of emotion 35. What evidence did Zajonc provide supporting the idea that emotional reactions come before appraisals? • Example: test whether “suboptimal priming” (too fast for consciousness) alters conscious judgments of liking o Positive prime (smiling human face) followed by random ideograph symbol o Negative prime (angry human face) followed by random ideograph symbol o Had people later rate preference for ideograph symbols o Effects only for fast prime, suggesting unconscious priming of liking that then shapes judgment 36. What is the likely phylogenetic progression in the evolution of emotions, and how do human emotions differ from other species? • Approach-avoid appears very early – simple elements that may have evolved into specific emotions are found very early on – emotions help adaptation • Human emotions are more complex, involving social emotions like shame, pride, jealousy, embarrassment (although these are found in other species too) 37. What did Lazarus mean by “core relational theme”? • Lazarus suggested that: o Specific emotions result from core appraisals of the relationship between self and situation o They reflect organized patterns of appraisal and emotional response that shape attempts at adaptive behavior • Examples: o Emotion: Anxiety ▯ Appraisal Theme: I face uncertain, existential threat o Emotion: Fright ▯ Appraisal Theme: I face an immediate, concrete, overwhelming physical danger 38. Describe the basic assumptions of trait theories of personality, and contrast them with the view of Mischel and Shoda • The basic assumptions of trait theories of personality describe personality as being consistent and continuous as manifested through behavior. • However, Mischel and Shoda conducted research that suggested personality was more dynamic, and can vary greatly over context, such as how they interact with others 39. What is the stress generation hypothesis, and how does it differ from stress reactivity? • According to the stress generation hypothesis, depressed individuals and those prone to depression, influenced by their beliefs, expectations, and personal characteristics, are likely to behave in ways that contribute to the occurrence of negative events (and greater stress) in their lives • Stress reactivity means that you are threat reactive – that you have a low threshold for threat, and perceived threat triggers a stress response 40. What is a diathesis, and what evidence would be necessary to determine that a personality trait operates as a diathesis? • Diathesis is an underlying vulnerability which manifests only when faced with stressors o Diatheses are linked to one or more outcomes, such as depression or health problems • Evidence needed to show that a particular personality trait is acting as a diathesis: o Presence: diathesis is present even when there are no symptoms o *Reactivity: people with the diathesis will show symptoms following stress; those without the diathesis will not o *Mechanism: People with the diathesis will show different immediate responses to stress compared to those without, and those responses will contribute to symptoms 41. What is the evidence that neuroticism involves a general style of stress response? • Neuroticism is associated with mechanisms that increase risk for depression in the face of stress, such as schemas, appraisals, attention deployment, emotional response, and coping • People higher in neuroticism show an increased risk for significant depression and anxiety after experiencing major life events 42. How might flexibility influence stress response? • Flexibility could be an “anti-diathesis” because it may allow us to avoid entrapment cycles of negative behaviors such as rumination and avoidance • Flexibility allows us to cope effectively with a changing variety of situations – may influence stress response in a positive way 9/28/16 12:15 AM 9/28/16 12:15 AM 9/28/16 12:15 AM


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