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Stress and Health Psychology Health, Illness, and Coping.

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1 Stress and Health Psychology Health, Illness, and Coping

2 Stress A nonspecific response of the body to any demand made on it; the arousal, both physical and mental, to situations of events that we perceive as threatening or challenging A nonspecific response of the body to any demand made on it; the arousal, both physical and mental, to situations of events that we perceive as threatening or challenging

3 Stress Eustress—pleasant, desirable stress Eustress—pleasant, desirable stress Distress—unpleasant, objectionable stress Distress—unpleasant, objectionable stress

4 Sources of Stress Life changes—any life change, even if it is positive and anticipated, brings about stress Life changes—any life change, even if it is positive and anticipated, brings about stress Social Readjustment Rating Scale—developed by Holmes & Rahe (1967) to investigate the relationship between change and stress—measured in Life Change Units Social Readjustment Rating Scale—developed by Holmes & Rahe (1967) to investigate the relationship between change and stress—measured in Life Change Units

5 Sources of Stress Chronic Stressors—chronic (from the Greek chronos— ”time”) stressors are those that affect our lives over long periods of time, these may range from low intensity to high intensity (i.e., job stresses, long battles of soldiers in wartime) Chronic Stressors—chronic (from the Greek chronos— ”time”) stressors are those that affect our lives over long periods of time, these may range from low intensity to high intensity (i.e., job stresses, long battles of soldiers in wartime)

6 Sources of Stress Hassles—small problems of daily living that accumulate and sometimes become a major stress. Hassles—small problems of daily living that accumulate and sometimes become a major stress. Burnout—Physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion attributable to long-term involvement in emotionally demanding situations Burnout—Physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion attributable to long-term involvement in emotionally demanding situations

7 Sources of Stress Frustration—unpleasant tension, anxiety and heightened sympathetic activity resulting from a blocked goal Frustration—unpleasant tension, anxiety and heightened sympathetic activity resulting from a blocked goal Conflict—having to choose between two or more incompatible goals or impulses Conflict—having to choose between two or more incompatible goals or impulses Approach-Approach Conflict Approach-Approach Conflict Avoidance-Avoidance Conflict Avoidance-Avoidance Conflict Approach-Avoidance Conflict Approach-Avoidance Conflict

8 Stress and the Body When under stress, the body responds to increase heart rate, available energy and heighten awareness. When under stress, the body responds to increase heart rate, available energy and heighten awareness. The body acts to release fat and glucose from the body’s stores in order to make this energy available to the body The body acts to release fat and glucose from the body’s stores in order to make this energy available to the body

9 Stress and the Body Sympathetic Nervous System— stress activates the hypothalamus which signals the sympathetic nervous system, which then activates the central part of the adrenal gland to release large amounts of norepinephrine and epinephrine (fight or flight) Sympathetic Nervous System— stress activates the hypothalamus which signals the sympathetic nervous system, which then activates the central part of the adrenal gland to release large amounts of norepinephrine and epinephrine (fight or flight)

10 Stress and the Body HPA (Hypothalamus, Pituitary, Adrenal) Axis—stress activates the hypothalamus which activates the pituitary gland which in turn activates the core of the adrenal gland to release the hormone cortisol HPA (Hypothalamus, Pituitary, Adrenal) Axis—stress activates the hypothalamus which activates the pituitary gland which in turn activates the core of the adrenal gland to release the hormone cortisol

11 Cortisol Long-term, high levels of cortisol have been linked to increased depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), memory problems, substance abuse, impairment of immune system Long-term, high levels of cortisol have been linked to increased depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), memory problems, substance abuse, impairment of immune system

12 General Adaptation Syndrome In the face of severe stressors: In the face of severe stressors: Alarm reaction—body is mobilized to defend (sympathetic nervous system) Alarm reaction—body is mobilized to defend (sympathetic nervous system) Resistance stage—arousal remains high as body tries to defend against and adapt to the stressor (cortisol) Resistance stage—arousal remains high as body tries to defend against and adapt to the stressor (cortisol) Exhaustion stage—resources are very limited; ability to resist may collapse Exhaustion stage—resources are very limited; ability to resist may collapse

13 Stress and Serious Illness Cancer—stress is linked to the development in cancer through the suppression of the immune system that accompanies release of cortisol Cancer—stress is linked to the development in cancer through the suppression of the immune system that accompanies release of cortisol Cardiovascular disease—in stress, the increased heart rate and release of fat and glucose into the bloodstream cause stress on the heart and fatty deposits of unburned fat may develop Cardiovascular disease—in stress, the increased heart rate and release of fat and glucose into the bloodstream cause stress on the heart and fatty deposits of unburned fat may develop

14 Personality Types Type A—behavior characteristics including intense ambition, competition, exaggerated time urgency, and a cynical, hostile outlook Type A—behavior characteristics including intense ambition, competition, exaggerated time urgency, and a cynical, hostile outlook Type B—behavior characteristics consistent with a calm, patient, relaxed attitude toward life Type B—behavior characteristics consistent with a calm, patient, relaxed attitude toward life

15 Hardiness Commitment—strong sense of commitment to myself and my work, purposeful activity and problem solving Commitment—strong sense of commitment to myself and my work, purposeful activity and problem solving Control—I see myself as being in control of my life rather than a victim of circumstances Control—I see myself as being in control of my life rather than a victim of circumstances Challenge—change is an opportunity for growth and improvement. I welcome the challenge because I welcome the growth Challenge—change is an opportunity for growth and improvement. I welcome the challenge because I welcome the growth

16 Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Anxiety disorder following exposure to a life-threatening or other extreme event that evoked great horror or helplessness; characterized by flashbacks, nightmares, and impaired functioning Anxiety disorder following exposure to a life-threatening or other extreme event that evoked great horror or helplessness; characterized by flashbacks, nightmares, and impaired functioning

17 Health Psychology Studies the relationship between psychological behavior and physical health and illness Studies the relationship between psychological behavior and physical health and illness

18 Health Psychology and Current Issues Smoking Smoking Physical addiction (ACh) Physical addiction (ACh) Psychological addiction—social stimuli Psychological addiction—social stimuli

19 Health Psychology and Current Issues Binge Drinking: Misconceptions Binge Drinking: Misconceptions Binge drinkers think they are average or moderate drinkers Binge drinkers think they are average or moderate drinkers Binge drinking is harmless Binge drinking is harmless It’s part of the “college experience” It’s part of the “college experience”

20 Health Psychology and Current Issues Pain Control—psychological factors can increase pain Pain Control—psychological factors can increase pain Behavior modification (daily exercise, diet and relaxation) Behavior modification (daily exercise, diet and relaxation) Biofeedback—individual learns to control biological functions, muscle tension, etc. to control pain Biofeedback—individual learns to control biological functions, muscle tension, etc. to control pain Relaxation techniques—meditation, yoga, focus away from pain, etc. Relaxation techniques—meditation, yoga, focus away from pain, etc.

21 Coping with Stress Emotion-Focused—coping strategies based on changing one’s perceptions of stressful situations Emotion-Focused—coping strategies based on changing one’s perceptions of stressful situations Defense mechanisms— unconscious strategies used to distort reality and relieve anxiety and guilt Defense mechanisms— unconscious strategies used to distort reality and relieve anxiety and guilt

22 Coping with Stress Problem-Focused—coping strategies that use problem- solving strategies to decrease or eliminate the source of stress Problem-Focused—coping strategies that use problem- solving strategies to decrease or eliminate the source of stress

23 Resources for Coping Health and energy Health and energy Positive beliefs Positive beliefs Social skills Social skills Social support Social support Material resources Material resources Personal control Personal control

24 Loci of Control External—believing that chance or outside forces beyond one’s control determine one’s fate External—believing that chance or outside forces beyond one’s control determine one’s fate Internal—believing that one controls one’s own fate Internal—believing that one controls one’s own fate

25 Dealing with Stress Exercise Exercise Relaxation Relaxation


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