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An Introduction to Stress

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2 An Introduction to Stress
STRESS AND STRESSORS Stress Response to perceived threats or challenges resulting from stimuli or events that cause strain Stressors Stimuli that cause physiological, psychological, and emotional reactions at any time

3 An Introduction to Stress
STRESS AND STRESSORS Eustress Stress response to agreeable or positive stressors Distress Stress response to unpleasant and undesirable stressors

4 An Introduction to Stress
Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) Holmes and Rahe Among first to propose life-changing events are potentially stressors Any event that required a life-adjustment can cause a stress. Life-changing events can have cumulative effect. Some links found between certain life events and illnesses. Social Readjustment Rating Scale Protocol Participants identified events and experiences in previous year from a list. Score calculated on severity rating and frequency of occurrence.

5 An Introduction to Stress
MAJOR LIFE EVENTS College Undergraduate Stress Scale Rating scale adapted to match life events of college students Sample Items from the College Undergraduate Stress Scale

6 An Introduction to Stress
POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD) Posttraumatic stress disorder Psychological disorder characterized by exposure to or threatened by an event involving death, serious injury, or sexual violence; can include disturbing memories, nightmares, flashbacks, and other distressing symptoms Incidence General population: 3.5 percent Afghanistan-deployed veterans and service members: percent

7 An Introduction to Stress
CHRONIC STRESS Chronic stress Long-term or continuous state of nervous arousal where an individual perceives that demands are greater than the ability to meet them Poverty As of 2011, 22 percent of children under 6 years in the United States were living below the poverty level. Living in poverty increases exposure to stress; stressors often persist across generations. For children in particular, the impact of SES can have lifelong repercussions as environmental stressors affect the developing brain.

8 DeLongis found significant link between hassles and health problems.
Recent research reported link between daily stressors and health problems and increased risk of catching contagious disease. Daily hassle Minor problems or irritants dealt with on regular basis Uplifts Experiences with potential to make an individual happy The Hassles and Uplifts Scale Used to explore relationship between stress and illness

9 Stress and Your Body FIGHT OR FLIGHT
Physiological responses prepare us for an emergency by efficiently managing the body’s resources. When faced with a threatening situation, portions of the brain, including the hypothalamus, activate the sympathetic nervous system  Which leads to the secretion of epinephrine and norepinephrine  These hormones cause heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and blood flow to the muscles to increase. Meanwhile, digestion slows and the pupils dilate.

10 Stress and Your Body FIGHT OR FLIGHT Once the emergency ends
Parasympathetic system reverses these processes. Prolonged stress Can cause the immune system to break down even when stressor is not traumatic

Colin Anderson / age fotostock

Alan Bailey/Shutterstock, Thinkstock GENERAL ADAPTATION SYNDROME In the alarm stage, short-term responses are activated, giving us energy to combat a threat. In the resistance stage, resources remain mobilized, and we continue to cope with the stressor. But eventually we enter the exhaustion stage when we become weak and susceptible to illness, and are less able to cope with the stressor. (Selye, 1956)

13 Stress and Your Body FIGHT OR FLIGHT
Hypothalamic–Pituitary–Adrenal System (HPA) Oversees the sympathetic nervous system’s stress response Helps maintain balance in body by directing sympathetic, neuroendocrine, and immune systems Responds in same way it would to a pathogen

14 Stress and Your Health IS STRESS MAKING YOU SICK?
How body deals with stress Health psychology: Seeks to explain how food choices, social interactions, and living environments affect predispositions to illness and health Stress decreases the production of: T lymphocytes (fight viruses, cancer) B lymphocytes (fight bacteria), Macrophages (consume invaders and worn-out cells) and Natural killer (NK) cells (kill diseased cells).

15 Stress and Your Health Cancer and stressors
Cancer has been linked to risk and development of stress. Stress has been linked to suppression of T lymphocytes and NK cells and effective immune system response. Stress has been correlated with breast cancer and colorectal cancer. Biopsychological influences such as age, medical history, social support, and mental health can mediate the link.

16 Stress and Your Health Cardiovascular disease and stressors
Disasters, socioeconomic status, social-evaluative threats, biopsychosocial stressors, and atherosclerosis are linked to the increase of cardiovascular disease. Stress increases the production of epinephrine, norepinephrine, cortisol. Increased production increases of plaque on artery walls

17 Stress and Your Health INSIDIOUS STRESS
Stress often exerts its harmful effects more indirectly. During times of stress, people may sleep poorly, eat erratically, and perhaps even drink more alcohol. Juan Manuel Silva/age fotostock Working odd hours, not getting enough exercise, eating poorly, and dealing with the ongoing stresses of paramedic work make it challenging to stay healthy.

18 Stress and Your Health: Too Much Cortisol
Cortisol and kids Negative effects of stress are apparent early in life. Consequences of increased cortisol levels during pregnancy contribute to host of health problems. Conflicts at home are linked to increased cortisol level in preschoolers. Cortisol on the job High cortisol levels can have dire consequences for adults. Functioning of working memory decreases for some in highly stressful situations. Higher cortisol levels contributed to heightened vigilance for danger in studies of ethnically diverse police officers and suspects.


20 Factors Related to Stress
COPING WITH STRESS Appraisal and coping Coping Cognitive, behavioral, and emotional abilities used to effectively manage something that is perceived as difficult or challenging Primary appraisal One’s initial assessment of a situation to determine its personal impact and whether it is irrelevant, positive, challenging, or harmful Secondary appraisal Assessment to determine how to respond to a challenging or threatening situation

21 Factors Related to Stress
COPING WITH STRESS Appraisal and coping Problem-focused coping Coping strategy in which a person deals directly with a problem by attempting to solve and address it head-on Emotion-focused coping Coping strategy in which a person addresses the emotions that surround a problem, as opposed to trying to solve it

22 Factors Related to Stress
COPING WITH STRESS Personality appears to have a profound effect on coping style and predispositions to stress-related illness. Type A personality: Competitive, aggressive, impatient, and often hostile pattern of behaviors Type B personality: Relaxed, patient, and nonaggressive pattern of behaviors Type D personality: Characterized by emotions like worry, tension, bad moods, and social inhibition; tend to avoid dealing with their problems directly and don’t take advantage of social support

23 Factors Related to Stress
COPING WITH STRESS Three C’s of hardiness Commitment Control Challenge

24 Factors Related to Stress
COPING WITH STRESS Sense of personal control is related to a variety of health issues across the life span. Less control felt, the greater the risk for disease Choices increase perceived sense of control. Sense of powerlessness is associated with increases in catecholamines and corticosteroids involved with stress response. Perceived sense of control can be internal or external.

25 Check It Out! Take a minute to answer the questions found on page 533.
Were you surprised or relieved to discover how stressed you are? Psychologist Sheldon Cohen and colleagues (1983) developed the Perceived Stress Scale to measure the degree to which we appraise situations as stressful. By comparing your score against others tested in your age group, you are able to assess the amount of perceived stress in your life. Simply knowing you find your life uncontrollable or overloaded can be a trigger to seek help implementing positive lifestyle change.

26 Factors Related to Stress
TOOLS FOR HEALTHY LIVING Ways to manage and reduce stress Exercise Relax Biofeedback Social Support Faith, religion, and prayer

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