Chapter 5 Psych 243
Popular in Psychology 243
Popular in Behavioral Sciences
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Date Created: 03/14/16
Chapter 5 Stressors Sources and Reactions Part 1 Stressors A Introduction Not all stress is bad without stress we would not be physically or mentally capable to face challenges or grow as individuals Stress is made up of those moments where you feel uncomfortable or anxious because of demands in your life These stressors often leave you feeling angry helpless or depressed 0 Acute stress temporary shortterm and can be dealt with quickly 0 Chronic stress more long term months to years It shortens a person s life in proportion to the amounttime it affects a person 1 The Concept of Stress gt Stress was primarily used to describe external pressures on bodies However it is now used to describe psychological strains gt But because humans recognize that they are thinking we can experience cognitive stressors Humans project ahead and get our selves anxious because we feel that we are unable to make these demands gt Challenges only have potential to become actual stressors if you are unable to cope with the challenges affects 2 Stressors are Universal gt Each stage in life has its own set of challenges Newborns cry because they can t do things for themselves Toddlers throw temper tantrums etc 0 One you re middle aged you become part of the sandwich generation that must care for both their growing children and elderly parents They experience quotcapitulationquot because the dreams of their youth must be adapted to be more sensiblerealistic gt There are also physical environmental sources of stress natural disasters 3 Reactions versus Responses to Stressors gt Reactions are often automatic re exes They are a temporary xes until we are ready to cope with the stressor gt A response is a learned coping choice We cognitively select the most effective method of solving a problem in the longrun we have a choice when it is a response because we can think about what is best for us 4 The Human Stress Problem Animals mainly experience acute stress as means of survival Humans mainly experience chronic stress related to social ranking 0 Chronic Stress Effects weakened immune system altered brain cell growth increased artery clogging and dangerous apple shaped body fat growth 0 Low leveled workers compared to high level workers have three times the premature death rate are associated more with tobacco smoking being overweight higher blood pressure and less leisure time 5 The General Adaptation Syndrome GAS to Chronic Stress gt gt Caused by the psychological interpretation of stress The brain will react as if there is a physical threat Acting as if it is being attacked survival mode AKA Fightor Flight 0 Within the involuntary nervous system the sympathetic system is turned on during GAS Stages 0 Alarm Stage you body prepares for the threat by energizing you cells adrenaline and cortisol increased heart rate and nonvital systems are slowed ex digestion Resistance Stage If threat continues the body will continue to produce energizing hormones until the stressor is overcome or the body can no longer produce it Exhaustion Stage if threat is prolonged inde nitely the body s immune system becomes weak and unable to resist illnessdisease Your immune system is so low that a common cold can kill you After prolonged periods in the resistance stage telomeres lose their function causing people to age 6 General Types of Stress a Distress unwanted or negative stimulus events or condition Ex when you heart starts pounding faster because you are scared Hyperstress overwhelming positive or negative stress that is difficult to handle Often referred to as a nervous breakdown or meltdown It is normally over a short period of time acute stress Hassles minor annoyances and irritations annoying little things quotshit happensquot Hypostress state of too little stress to maintain adequate physical andor psychological functioning Leads to boredom and lack or growth There needs to be a balance e Eustress attractive desirable and exciting forms of stimulation this is a good type of stress Exciting in the way that a rollercoaster is You feel protected in these situations and therefore do not get as scared f Uplifts momentary instances of spontaneous eustress These events keep people going because they neutralize the hassles in life when they pop up They are a milder form of eustress the little things in life g Sensation seeking need for high levels of stimulation to satisfy feelings of enjoyment Risk or danger seeking being able to cheat death they want the adrenaline rush Wandering they want to experience new things and places to see the vast array of what life has to offer B Sources of stress 1 Changes in Our Life gt Change is a part of life that is required for growth The amount of stress that is causes is dependent on how prepared one is for is and how it affects the everyday ow of life events that cause the most stress changes that have the greatest negative effect Loss tends t the description best 0 death of a spouse divorceseparation especially if one doesn t see it coming death of a close family member minor stressful events minor nuisances hassles that are expected to have greater bene ts in the long run 0 vacation Christmas minor violation of the law like a parking ticket gt New colleges students are prime examples of change They experience the positive and negative stressors of independence They are in the stage of wandering where they discover new things about the world and themselves 2 Con icting Choices a Approachavoidance its a no brainer there is a clear better choice When the pros and cons feel fairly equal we hesitate leading to either quotgo for itquot or quotgive up on itquot b Approachapproach you have to pick between 2 positive things c Avoidanceavoidance trying to gure out the better of two evils like our current presidential candidates d Multiple approach avoidance there are more than one pro amp con like choosing between 2 colleges 3 Frustrations 00 A feeling of anger or annoyance caused by an expectation to complete something that we cannot because something is limiting us or or it is an unrealistic goal Delays loss of meaningful time needed to reach goal Lack of resources don t have the time money or preparation that hinder you from doing something Losses similar to lack of resources but this is beyond one s control getting something stolen Discrimination you are competent but unwanted Often because of some kind of prejudice Prejudice an attitude placed on someone or something because of a stereotype they lack information about what is being judged 2 The Pressures of Living a b C Environmental Pressures 1 Physical Environment Natural inconveniences that we need to accept and adapt to 2 Time Pressures abiding by other people s schedules paying bills renewing registration Psychological Pressures any force that causes us to change our behavior against our will When demands become to great one normally responds by change in attitude or reaction or behavior this is referred to as overload Social Relationship pressures 1 Competition a learned behavior to perform better 2 Polite relationships stressful relationships that you keep because you cannot tell them that they or something that they have done rubs you the wrong way 3 Negative relationships experiencing prolonged frustration from a relationship This is harmful to the individual because all this pent up frustration must eventually come out 4 Bullying physical verbal or social abuse to an individual 5 Sexual Harassment a form of persistent bullying by one person that is stronger than the other in some way sexual behavior is involved Harassers either get an ego boost or some kind of sadistic enjoyment from the discomfort of others 3 Negative Family Models a Family violence and neglect in childhood these relationships are generally accompanied by feelings of loving care and protection When this is not the case children will turn to risky behaviors promiscuity drug abuse and suicide or develop health problems in adulthood b Fearfulness developing fears about aspects of life or phobias irrational fear causing anxiety 4 Incorrect Beliefs a Irrational thinking When one accepts false standards of what is reasonable according to the norm according to Ellis Aaron Beck s quotcognitiveemotive theoryquot looks at how causes of depression are similar to irrational beliefs that focus on unrealistic expectations od perfection high level of achievement and misplaced guilt 0 Ex children feel that they need high achievement in school or sports to earn the affection of their caretakers b Fear of failure In western societies winning is often valued above all else This causes a constant sense of competition that makes individuals incompetent when they do not achieve the standard The truth is everyone loses or fails C What Affects Stress on a Person 1 Important Features of the Stressors Meaningfulness the more it means to you the greater the stress effect of stressors at once can make and individual very overwhelmed Predictability if you can predict you can be on the front end of things to lessen the effects later on Imminence how soon it will occur so you can determine your level of preparedness Duration how long will the stressor last and what are the chances that it will cause chronic stress 2 Important Features of a Person a Prior History if someone becomes limited in some way because of a chronic stress trying to compensate for that weakness can leave them frustrated because their efforts fail to allow them to cope adequately Vulnerability a weakness that results from chronic stress This is often genetically inherited and appears in the forms of depression anxiety and schizophrenia Personal Control a person s belief of control is more important then ones actual ability to control it If one can blame it on power out of their control they will think their situation is helpless even if an opportunity is presented Learned Helpessness d Resiliency and hardiness Hardiness having a sense of control over situations actively committed to achieving goals and viewing potential stressors as challenges that are interesting exciting opportunities produces resiliency the ability to bounce back which reduces learned helplessness e Lifestyles and Personality Types 1 Type A tense time pressures and angry Overly concerned with completing jobs and intolerant of slownessimpatient Their cardiovascular risk is high 2 Type B quotlaid backquot relaxed and con dent Satis ed with level of achievement don t strive for advancement they are more re ective and even tempered Although this is healthier cardiovascularly there is not indication that they lead happier or more productive lifestyles 3 Type C passive and helpless Become easily overwhelmed by stressors feel frustrated and eventually give up They accept their fate because they feel as if they have no control This in turn suppresses their immune system making them more susceptible to disease with smaller chances of recovery Sounds like learned helplessness this suggests that this attitude can be remedied with increased sense of control 4 Type D distressed pessimistic and withdrawn A fearful view of life that develops early from negative experiences they cannot shake off the notion that life will not be pleasant for them They have 4x the likelihood of dying Those with less than effective lifestyles can resist longterm stress and live more effectively though structured relearning Part 2 LongTerm Stress Effects A Common Psychophysiologically Caused Medical Disorders Psychophysiologica quotpsychosomaticquot disorders pathological biological disorders produced by chronic psychological stress 1 Headaches a Muscles contraction headaches Often related to poor posture bent neck teeth clenching or reading eyestrain Other sources include alcohol smoking or caffeine and its withdraw effects b Migraine Headaches Intense throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head lasting from a few hours to days It can causes nausea vomiting and dizziness that are accompanied with sensitivities of our senses Just before it begins they often see an quotauraquot of colored or dark spotswaves We are not sure what causes this irritation of the blood vessels but things like irregular sleeping patterns low blood sugar from being overly hungry food additives like nitrites MSG and tyramines in processed lunchmeats red Wine and cheeses too much caffeine hormone changes weather changes strong sound or lighting alcohol tight neckties and tight shirt collars and psychological stressors don t help 2 Cardiovascular Problems a Heart Problems Personality type is a good indicator of those at higher risk and likelihood of recovery Type A has the highest risk b Hypertension 779 of adults in the US have chronic hypertension It is mainly caused by alcohol abuse consuming to much salt obesity lack of exercise and stressful living conditions Nearly all of the causes are preventable therefore regulating stress cannot be overemphasized 3 Gastrointestinal Problems a Gastric ulcers Occurs when H pylori bacterium secretes a substance that weakens the stomach wall An open raw and often painful sore is produced in the digestive system This weakening is a result of physiological stressors that are often related to the increased use of tobacco alcohol and heavy caffeine also the frequent use of nonsteroidal antiin ammatory drugs aspirin b Acid Re ux heartburn Can be caused by increased anxietycausing stressors c Obesity Chronic stressors disrupt the digestive system causes the release of the appetitestimulating hormone ghrein is increased while the appetitesuppressing hormone leptin isreduced d Metabolic Syndrome Excessive weight gain increased fat and cholesterol in the bloodincreased risk of heart attack type 2 diabetes and hypertension are all closely related to chronic psychosocial stressors 4 Reproduction Chronic stress can suppress sperm production and disrupt menstrual cycles ovulation Can also disrupt hormonal levels for developing babies in pregnant women experiencing chronic stress 5 Aging and Longevity a The tale of the telomere cap chronic stress causes our telomeres to thin out and weaken by turning off the enzyme telomerase which makes the end caps Without their caps the chromosomes then unravel and become useless to rebuild our wornout body parts Therefore chronic stress makes you age faster b Gene changes Exposure to short term stress can strengthen the system it promotes longevity through enhanced activity if molecular support systems and other defense mechanisms Hormetic stress 6 Cognitive Problems corticosteroid hormones when continually released will affect areas of the brain involved in emotional responsiveness memory and higherlevel functioning the cognitive decreases measured in older humans is a result of greater sensitivity to these hormones under increasing psychosocial stressors that accompany old age such as personal losses from deaths and increasing isolation B Emotional Effects of Stress 1 Anger outwardly directed quotfightquotlike emotional reaction toward something that or someone who has caused frustration or injustice with the expression of anger as an indication that the frustration or injustice needs to stop defensive aggression can lead to positive behavior hostile aggression resulting in harmful attacks it can cause prolonged fightor ight which can lead to GAS third stage exhaustion 2 Fear Anxiety and Worry a Fear a protective reaction to a speci c and clearly known danger Fear can be continuous if when a person is in a situation of longterm danger which uses the fightor ight reaction b Anxiety a generalized fear or dread of danger its effects are not clearly known Characterized by tension worried thoughts and physical changes body tension and increased blood pressure c Worry a combination of fear and anxiety that involves longterm focus on threat Chronic worry suppresses the worrier s immune system so that it may become so worn down by needless worry that it can no longer combat serious stressors that are sure to come Effects of chronic Worry Table 56 Psychophysioogica Disorders Keeps the body mobilized for emergency action until exhaustion occurs LessEffective Probem Awareness Primary Appraisal Too much worry can narrow one s perception for seeing the quotbig picturequot LessEffective Problem Solving Creativity is reduced and greater dependency upon irrational emotional reactions Deprives a Person of the joy in Living Some people get stuck on the negatives of living and fail to appreciate the positive and rewarding aspects Guilt feelings a person has when thinking they have violated their own standards Five Types of Guilt Feeling bad when we know we have done something wrong Feeling bad for something we think we did wrong but didn t do Feeling bad even though we didn t do something wrong but want to do it Feeing bad because we did not do enough to prevent something bad from happening Feeling survival guilt when others were not as fortunate as we were Depression Grief and Loneliness a Depression often caused by a loss that stops us from moving forward we must reorganize our thinking and activity to begin again Those who are unemployed recently divorced or stayat homeparents are more likely to be depressed These individuals suffer the most from obesity heart attacks strokes sleeping disorders lack of edu and limited access to medical services b Greif deep sadness often following a close personal loss usually accompanied by extended periods of crying It is a reaction to being permanently separated from a loved one c Loneliness an unwanted personal experience of aloneness due to certain circumstances Loneliness is different from aloneness which is a desired state of solitude 5 Learned Associations Can They Be Changed Many stress reactions are learned because of personal experiences in which we are not able to control events have the resources to meet the demands placed upon us or have no positive models to imitate If that is the case then can these learned reactions be unlearned or neutralized
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