Coping with Stress - Biological Psychology AS

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PROBLEM FOCUSED METHODS OF COPING
SEEKING SOCIAL SUPPORT
Talking through problems can help things make sense, or get a
new perspective to help us cope. Discussing a problem can often
help us make more sense of it.
ANTICIPATORY COPING
Anticipate the symptoms and feelings of stress and we can do
something to avoid them. This is an example of controlling our
environment. If we can work out what triggers the stress we can
`train' ourselves to anticipate and deal with it.…read more

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PSYCHOLOGICAL METHODS OF STRESS MANAGEMENT
Stress-Inoculation Training (SIT) is a form of cognitive behavioural therapy
designed by Michenbaum. Just as we might be inoculated again a disease, we
might be inoculated against stress. In three phrases, people are helped to
restructure the way they think about events, so that they are better prepared
when they meet the stressor.
Phase one: CONCEPTUALISATION
EVALUATION
What about the event makes it stressful?
It's flexible and can be tailored to
How to cope?
individuals and lots of different
stressors.
Phase two: TRAINING AND REHEARSAL
It's expensive n slow and
Taught coping skills that can be general or
requires clients to be motivated
event focused.
and driven.
Benefits of SIT can be long-term
Phase three: APPLICATION AND
(unlike drugs), and teaches
FOLLOW THROUGH
general coping skills that can be
Apply training to real world. If necessary,
applied to a variety of stressors in
follow-up training sessions provided.
the future.…read more

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THE EXAM STUDY ­ MICHENBAUM (1975)
Michenbaum wanted to find out how effective his SIT was.
HOW DID THEY DO IT?
An assessment of the effectiveness of SIT was made by
comparing three groups of stressed pre-exam students. Group
one: eight weeks of SIT; Group two: eight weeks of systematic
desensitisation; Group three: no therapy.
WHAT DID THEY FIND?
The SIT group gave the most positive self-reports, and out-
performed the others in their exams. They concluded therefore,
that SIT was the most successful therapy.
EVALUATION
They used self-reports of success, but these are not
necessarily reliable.
It could have been that the other treatment would have been
successful had it been given longer as the study did not
consider optimum treatment period.…read more

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EMOTION-FOCUSED METHODS OF COPING WITH STRESS
These are know as `avoidant' methods and are used when a person feels there
is nothing that can be done to change the problem. If the situation which
causes the stress must be accepted, the methods are employed to regulate the
emotional responses to stressors. There are three emotion-focused techniques.
DEFENCE MECHANISMS
Psychological barriers are put up by the stressed person. One of these is
denial (pretending it's not happening). Another is intellectualisation where
they somehow explain away the stress to themselves.
REAPPRAISAL
They take another look at the stressful situation and may change the way they
feel about it. If they care less about the event then thy will feel less stressed.
AROUSAL REDUCTION
The heightened reactions due to stress are reduced. The person is less
aroused and therefore feels less stressed. Meditation, excise and drugs can
help with this.…read more

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PHYSIOLOGICAL METHODS OF STRESS MANAGEMENT
Drugs can be used to combat stress by reducing or removing the symptoms of
the stress. Anxiolytics (which reduce the symptoms of anxiety) include:
BENZODIAZEPINES
Which lessen tension and nervousness and have a calming effect. They
act by increasing the levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter responsible for
`quietening' the activity of another neurotransmitter called serotonin.
BETA-BLOCKERS
Which reduce the heart rate and blood pressure and bloc the influence of
adrenaline, lowering the fight or flight response.
EVALUATION
They are fast-acting and provide speedy relief. Once taken, people can seek
more permanent support.
Drug therapies treat the symptoms and not the problem itself.
Some drugs may have side effects. Mental alertness can be slowed so normal
activities are influenced.
Long-term use can result in tolerance and addiction.…read more

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