Stress (part I)

a negative emotional state when an event is seen as exceeding your ability to cope
any event or situation that causes stress or is perceived as a threat that is beyond your ability to cope with
3 types of stress
life events, daily hassles, social & cultural
life events
stressors that occur throughtout your lifespan; major milestones such as marriage, pregnancy, retirement, etc.
daily hassles
stressors that occur frequently and repeatedly; minor annoyancs that add up (cumulative) such as traffic, homework, dishes, bills, etc.
social & cultural stressors
stressors that occur due to your social &/or cultural environment such as racism, poverty, housing, healthcare
Thomas Holmes & Richard Rahe
early stress researchers who developed the idea of major life event stressors and th Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) to measure stress
Social Readjustment Rating Scale
scale developed by Holmes & Rahe to measure stress of major life events; measure both positive & negative events as stressful
Criticisms of the SRRS
1-different people respond differently to the same event
2-the same person responds differently to the same event 3- it wasn’t a good predictor of future stress-related illness 4-didn’t consider coping skills or perceived stress
5- positive life events don’t always add stress
Richard Lazarus
stress researcher who developed the idea of daily hassles, the daily hassles scale, and the system of appraisal of stress related to the event and one’s ability to cope; believes daily hassles were worse than major life events because they are cumulative (they add up like the straw that broke the camel’s back)
cognitive appraisal
Richard Lazarus’s term meaning: if we think we have the resources to effectively cope with an event, it will create little (or no) stress
Lazarus’s Appraisal of Stress model
event –> primary appraisal (is this a threat?)–>if no, no stress; if yes–>secondary appraisal (can I cope with this?)–> if yes, mild stress; if not, major stress!
daily hassles add up, one on top of the other, thereby causing more harm (in regard to developing stress-related illnesses) than major life events; research shows that Lazarus was right and that the frequency of daily hassles is linked to phychological and physical symptoms of illness
lowest socioeconomic status
group of people who have the highest level of stress, illness, and death due to social & cultural stressors
indirect effects of stress
stress induced changes in your behavior such as lack of sleep, poor eating habits, and using alcohol to cope which can lead to illness
direct effects of stress
stress induced muscles contractions that cause tightening and pain (headache, neck pain, etc.), triggers the sympathetic nervous system, altering bodily reactions and functions which can lead to illness
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