Stress, Illness, and Well-Being
- State of internal physiological and psychological balance
- Body maintains normal balance
- Stressor: anything that disrupts this normal balance
- External Stressor: Someone chasing you
- Internal Stressor: The expectation of a threat around the corner
- Both external and internal stress on the body will garner the
same physiological response.
What Is Stress?
- A normal part of everyday life
- A positive & negative phenomenon
- Positive stress (e.g.: Wedding, job promotion)
- Negative stress (e.g.: Death of a loved one, job stress, test
- A process
The Stress Process
- Stressors (e.g., positive or negative)
- Perception (e.g., demands vs. capabilities)
- High or low demands
- Belief in capabilities to deal with stressor (self-efficacy)
- Stress response (e.g., physical arousal)
What determines Perception?
- Life Experiences
- Successes, failures, hardships, etc.
- Self-esteem, self-efficacy
- Attributional Style
- Optimistic vs. Pessimistic
- Locus of Control
Acute vs. Chronic Stress
- Acute stress
- Sudden, typically short-lived, threatening event (e.g., robbery,
giving a speech)
- Chronic stress
- Ongoing environmental demand (e.g., marital conflict, work stress,
Learned Helplessness – Seligman, Peterson, et al.
- Dogs exposed to unavoidable shocks
- Following exposure, when placed in a situation where they can now
jump to avoid the shock, they fail to make the escape response.
- Learned helplessness occurs when one perceives that one’s actions
(e.g., working hard) does not lead to the expected outcome (e.g., high
- (e.g., Expression, control, ups and downs)
- (e.g., Unsafe, unsanitary conditions, noise, overcrowding, pollution)
- Social factors
- (e.g. Acceptance by others, pressure, media, peers, social conditions)
- (e.g., Unemployment, tuition, loans, bills)
- (e.g., Time constraints, procrastination, finishing required
Stress Response = Fight-or-flight Response
The General Adaptation Syndrome
- Series of physiological phases/stages that the body goes through when
exposed to a stressor.
- Body prepares either to fight or to flee in the face of adversity.
- Alarm Stage
- Resistance Stage
- Exhaustion Stage
The Alarm Reaction
General Adaptation Syndrome
Health Effects Of Chronic Stress
- Dryness, hives, itching
- Indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, constipation
- Tight muscles, tenseness
- Immune System
- Increase risk of infection with decrease in immune response
- Increase heart rate and increase blood pressure = increase risk of
- Other effects
- Migraine headaches, tension headaches, inability to concentrate, maladaptive
coping mechanisms (e.g., drug or alcohol use)
- Substance abuse
- Process of managing the discrepancy between the demands of a situation
and the available resources.
- Ongoing process of appraisal and reappraisal to determine ability
to cope with stressor
- Can alter the stress problem OR regulate the emotional response.
- Aimed at controlling the emotional response to the stressor.
- Often used when the person feels he/she can’t change the stressor
(e.g., bereavement); or
- Doesn’t have resources to deal with the demand.
- Aimed at reducing the demands of the situation or expanding the resources
for dealing with it.
- Often used when the person believes that the demand is changeable.
Stress Management – teaches coping techniques
- Reduce harmful environmental conditions
- awareness of negative thoughts
- should, ought, must
- thought stoppage
- reality check (e.g, is this thinking in my best interest?)
- cognitive substitution