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stress & well-being

>> Chap 19 Stress and Physical Well-being. stress: a psychological and physical response to internal or external sources of tension (stressors) that challenge a person's ability to cope.
These sources of tension/stressors can be positive or negative, environmental, psychological or social in nature. stressor: a source of tension that challenges a person's ability to cope.
> When a person is stressed, their body experiences autonomic arousal that is known as the fight-or-flight response. This is the physiological reaction of an organism preparing to cope with the threat of a predator and is caused by perceiving a situation as threatening.
This state of physiological arousal is controlled by the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. Fight-or-flight response. > In the fight-or-flight response, adrenalin and noradrenaline are released into the blood stream, thereby increasing the heart rate which in turn increases the respiration rate.
Pupils dilate and glucose is released from the liver, alowing greater energy to deal with the stressor. Functions such as digestion are suppressed.
When the threat is no longer present or the person is no longer stressed, the parasympathetic nervous system, a branch of the autonomic nervous system (responsible for maintaining balance in day-to-day functioning), returns the body to normal. Eustress and Distress. > Stress can be the result of either good or bad circumstances.
In order to differentiate between the two, the term 'eustress' was coined to refer to good stress like winning a prize at school or finding out that you and your family are going on a holiday to Paris. While 'distress' was used to refer to bad stress such as failing an exam.
Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome. general adaptation syndrome (GAS): a predictable three-stage pattern of physiological responses (alarm; resistance; exhaustion). Not everyone goes through all three stages and the exhaustion stage is only reached if exposure to the stressor is prolonged. Ultimately, GAS is the body's way of mobilising and adapting to deal with a real or perceived stressor(s).
Alarm. alarm: the first stage of Selye's General adaptation syndrome (GAS) where the fight-or-flight response is activated to prepare the person to deal with the challenge or stressor. This stage has two components: shock followed by countershock. Resistance. resistance: the second stage of Selye's general adaptation syndrome (GAS). It is considered the adaptive stage because even though heart rate and respiration rate return to almost normal,
blood glucose levels and stress-related hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol continue to circulate through the body keeping it ready for action. Exhaustion. exhaustion: the third stage of GAS (fight-or-flight response) where the body cannot continue to cope with the stressor and its resistance begins to drop; the body's resources are depleted and very tired.
This can lead to life-threatening illness and death if the stress continues. > Hans Selye developed a theory to describe the biological aspects of stress which he called general adaptation syndrome (GAS).
Through laboratory research, Selye found that there was a predictable three-stage pattern of physiological responses to a range of different stressors. GAS consisted of alarm, resistance and exhaustion. Not everyone goes through all three stages and the exhaustion stage is only reached if exposure to the stressor is persistent and long-lasting.
Ultimately, GAS is the body's way of mobilising and adapting to deal with a real or perceived stressor. Strengths and limitations of GAS. The strengths of Selye's general adaptation syndrome include the following: > it provided rich, empirically based information about the physiological processes involved in animals' response to a range of stressors.
> it provided laboratory evidence of the role of the brain, endocrine system and peripheral nervous system through the three stages of GAS (general adaptation syndrome). > it found that the greater the intensity of the stressor, the greater the physiological response.
> it made the important connection between extreme prolonged stress and certain diseases. This contribution was particularly valuable as it is now accepted that there is a strong relationship between stress and disease. > it was able to show that exposure to prolonged stress could lead to death in laboratory rats.
The limitations of Selye's general adaptation syndrome include the following: > Selye overemphasised biological processes in his generalised adaptation syndrome. > his model was predominantly based on his research with laboratory rats.
> he did not consider that a rat's responses to stressors are less varied than a person' stress response. > even though Selye used rats in his research, he applied his model (GAS) to humans without considering key psychological and environmental factors that are unique to humans, such as the perception and interpretation of the situation.
> the model failed to recognise the role of emotion and cognition in how a person perceives and evaluates the stressor. > Selye's findings could not be generalised to people because his research involved non-human subjects.
Lazarus' Transactional Model of Stress and Coping. Lazarus' transactional model of stress and coping emphasised the importance of the interaction between the individual and their environment in assessing whether the stressor is threatening, challenging or potentially dangerous.
Primary appraisal: the recognition of a potentially stressful situation. Secondary appraisal: the stage where the person considers what options are available to them and how they will respond.
Emotional forecasting: the prediction of which feelings will be experienced with any option associated with stress of fight-or-flight options. > Lazarus' transactional model of stress and coping incorporated the cognitive component of stress.
Stress is regarded as a 'transaction' between the person and the environment, where the person's individual interpretation of the stressor determines how they deal with the situation. The person goes through primary appraisal (initial recognition of the potentially stressful situation) then secondary appraisal (considering one's options).
Both stages involve emotional forecasting (predicting what feelings the situation will produce). Strengths and limitations of Lazarus's transactional model of stress and coping.
The strengths of the transactional model of stress and coping include: > it used human subjects in developing the model > it used a cognitive approach to stress with a focus on how people cope with psychological stressors
> it took both mental processes and emotions into account when examining how an individual interprets a situation as stressful or not. The limitations of the transactional model of stress and coping include: > the greater focus on psychological factors meant that less emphasis was placed on the physiological elements of the stress response
> it did not include cultural, social or environmental factors in looking at how individuals perceive a stressful event. Social, cultural and environmental factors in the stress response.
Selye's general adaptation syndrome provided a physiological explanation of the stress response and made the very important link between stress and illness. While, Lazarus' transactional model of stress and coping addressed the cognitive/psychological determinants of a person's perception and appraisal of an event as stressful.
However, neither of these theories considered the important role that social, cultural and environmental factors play in the way a person interprets and responds to stressors. Positive and negative life events can be a source of stress of people. A person can experience stress simply by lining up to get ticks to a concert or by missing the bus on the way to school.
These types of stressors (often referred to as 'daily hassles') seem fairly unimportant in the scheme of things and certainly do not rate highly when you consider life-threatening events like floods and earthquakes. However, their effects can mount up and collectively create a great amount of tension for a person.
The Holmes-Rahe scale includes both negative and positive items in the questionnaire. They created a rating scale, which lists the top 15 stressors. This is called the Holmes- Rahe life events rating scale. There has been a more holistic approach to understanding the sources and causes of stress. This approach is known as the biopsychosocial model of stress.
This model takes into account not only the physiological and mental processing/cognitive elements in the perception and response to a stressor but also incorporates important influences such as the person's environment, family, friends and culture. Allostasis.
Homeostasis refers to the body's maintenance of balance in day-to-day automatic functions such as heart rate, respiration and digestion by the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. The term 'allostasis' was first used by Sterling and Eyer to describe not just the idea of homeostasis, but that of achieving biological and psychological stability with a 'variable' response to stressors or challenges.
Where homeostasis reflects maintaining stability, allostasis is where the body remains variable so as to better adapt to potential challenges that it may encounter. Allostasis identifies that there are physiological costs to a person whose fight-or-flight response is activated on a frequent basis by chronic stress.
Created by: phoebe 4
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