Biological Model - Stress in everyday life

Daily hassels
Workplace stress
Type A behaviour

  • Created by: Aliison
  • Created on: 01-06-10 10:59

The Social Reajustment Raring Scale (SRRS)

This is a method of measuring the realtionship between life changes and how much readjustment is needed. Holmes and Rahe (1968) developed a scale to measure this

When life events occur and we need to make psychological adjustments to them. The more we adjust the more stressful the life event is
They asked many people to rate stressful events and came up with a scale, this scale includes things like
Death of a spouse - 100 (LifeChangeUnits)
House move - 20 (LCU)
Vacations - 13 (LCU)

A score of 150+ would indicate 30% risk of a stress related health breakdown
A score of 300+ would indicate 50% risk of a stress related health breakdown

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Rahe et al (1970)

Aim - to find out if scores on the SRRS correlated with illness

- 2500 male American sailors were given the SRRS to asses how many life events they had experienced in the past six months
- Their scores were recorded
- Over the following six months records were kept of their health status

- Positive correlation of +0.118 (small but significant)

- There was positive correlation therefore experiencing life events can increase the chances of stress-related healt breakdown
- May be other factors

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A02's of Rahe et al and SRRS

AO2's Rahe et al

- Correlation does not imply causlity or the direction of any effect
- Gender and Culture bias, low in external validity

AO2's Life changes approach

- Many studies have supported the scale (Rahe et al)
- Individual differences, eg, some people find christmas stressfull, others love it.
- Causality
- It has been arged that the scale is dated and male orientated. Eg 'Mortgage over $10,000 and wife beguins/stops work
- These events do not happen on a daily basis.

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Daily Hassels

Daily hassels are minor events that occur daily and the effects usually disappear after a short time.
Daily uplifts are positive everyday experiences and can cancel out the hassels

- concerns about weight
- losing things
- home maintenace
- too many things to do

- getting enough sleep
- eating out
- visiting someone
- completing a tast

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Hassles Scale (Kanner et al 1981)

Research on the Hassles scale

- originally there were 117 items, althought versions could be constructed for sub groups such as students
- scores on the hassles scale correlate with levels of depression, anexity and health problems
- Ruffin (1993) found that daily hassles produced greater psychological and physical disfunction than the SRRS scale (this is because they can add up, however on a bad day one uplift can make all the difference)
- recent research has shown that there is a relationship between daily hassles and the mental health of students in their first year of uni (new, change of routine, stressfull)

Why are daily hassles so stressful?

- they accumulate over a series of days and become perisitent irritations and frustrations.
- it may also be that daily hassles can arise from pre-existing chronic stressors and amplify the effects of that stressor.

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AO2's of daily hassles

- Causality
The studies are correlational thefefore we can't say that one factor causes the other, only that there is a relationship

- Cultural Differences
Social support is a key factor in the protection against stress
(Kim&McKenry 1998) found that afrian-americans, asian-americans and hispanics use social support more than white-americans

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Workplace Stess

All jobs involve stress, sources of stress in the work place consist of...

Physical environment - Space, temperature, lighting and arrangement can make work difficult and more energy is required to over come them. Also research has shown that increased temperature and noise can lead to stress and agression

Work overload - Long work hours these days are seen as a mark of esteem, this is to the cost of the individual and the family. A balance between home life and work needs to be found

Lack of control - In many companies other people decide the work load and work pattens of an individual, research has shown that lack of control increases stress and contributes to depression and illness

Role ambiguity - this occurs when the requirements for a particular work role are unclear or poorly defined. This can also effect relations with co-workers as well as create stress

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Johansson et al (1978)

Aim - To see if work stress such as repetitiveness, machine-regulated work and high levels of reponsiblity increase stress related illness.

Procedure - a group of high-risk 14 'finishers' were found, they had a highly important job finishing the last stage of processing timber. The work was machine paced, isolated, very repetitive yet highly skilled and the wages of the entire factory depended on them
- A group of low-risk group of 10 cleaners their work was more varied, self paced and they were allowed to socialize
- Levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline were measures and records of stress-related ilness and absenteesium were kept

Findings - The 'finishers' secreted more stress hormones on work days than on rest days but always had higher levels than the cleaners.
- The 'finishers' also showed higher levels of stress-related illness and were off more than the cleaners

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Conclusion and Evaluation of Johansson et al (AO2'

Conclusion - a combination of work stressors such as repetitiveness, machine pacing work and high levels of responsibility can lead to long term physiological arousal and then result in stress-realted illness and absenteeism.


- Does not control for personality factors (individual differences) some people (eg type A behaviour) like stressful jobs and this may be linked to their illnesses rather than any lack of job control

- Having high levels of job control can be stressful for some people if they feel they don't have the ability to handle their role. Self blame may then increase

- As type A behaviour effects this it is low in internal validity as it may not be testing workplace stress but personality

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Type A behaviour

Friedman and Rosenman (1974) studied the behaviour of patients suffering from heart disease a pattern was found, known as type A behaviour

Type A behaviour has 3 main traits

Time pressure ................................................Anger
- working under the clock .................................- self-critical
- Doing several things at once ...........................- hostile to the outside world
- Irritation and impatience with others .................- anger often directed inwards
- Unhappy doing nothing

- Always plays to win at games
- They want something to show for what they have done (tropheys)

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Friedman and Rosenman (1974)

Aim - to investigate links between Type A behaviour and heart disease

Procedure - Using interviews, 3200 Calafornian men aged between 39 and 59, were categorized with either Type A, Type B or Type X (in the middle of the two) - the sample was followed up for 8 and a half years to assess their lifestyle and health outcomes

Findings - By the end of the study 257 men had developed heart disease of which 70% were Type A - twice the rate of heart disease found in the Type B group - These findings were independant of lifestyle factors such as smoking and obesity

- Type A behaviour increases vulnerability to heart disease

- although some aspects of lifestyle were controled this doesn't take into account other variables
- This was not an experimental study so cause and effect can't be assumed, other studies have failed to show a relationship between Type A behaviour and heart disease

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Research into Type A behaviour

  • Williams et all (2003) did a 15 year study that focused on young people and Type A personality. They found that certain aspects such as hostility and impatience were putting individuals at high risk of high blood pressure, a major part of heart attacks etc
  • A study of 300 German managers compared managers with Type A behaviour and external LOC with those having Type A behaviour and internal LOC. They found that the groups with exernal LOC had greater perceived levels of stress, lower job satisfaction and poorer physical and mental health than the other group
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Evaluation of Type A behaviour

- Lack of consistent research support
Some correlation studies have found that their is a positive relation ship between Type A behaviour, however have been small. There has also been many studies that have found negative correlation

- Role of hostility
Hostility is a critical personality factor of Type A behaviour and when high levels of hostility are combined with Type A correlations with heart disease they are significantly increased. Particulary vunerable are individuals who repress levels of hostility

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Just what i needed thanks :)



thank you. this is really useful.

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