Geer and Maisel
Aim: Does lower stress result from being able to predict the occourance of an unpleasant stimuli or is the lower stress related to the controlling behaviour itself.
Sample: 60 psychology undergraduates for New York University
Method: A laboratory experiment involving three groups and using an independant measures design
Procedure: The control group saw 10 pictures of victims of a violent deathat 60 second intervals with a warning tone before each one. They could pressa button to change the picture as they wished. The 'predictabilty' and 'no control' group had no button. The 'predictability' group were unable to teminate or control the pictures but they still had the warning tone so they still knew when the pictures would come and how long they would last. The 'no control' group had no control and no idea how long the pictures would last as they thought the tones and pictures appeared at random. Data was collected by heart rate monitors and galvic skin response.
Results: GSR results showed a clear difference between the 'predictablity group' and the other two. This showed that being able to stop the image when wanted you reduce stress. However, being able to predict stress does not reduce stress.
Evaluation: These images may have caused distress to participants breaching ethical guidelines. GSR is known to sometimes be unreliable as it measures arousal not stress itself.
Holmes and Rahe
Aim: To create a method of measuring stress to take account of major events in a person's life
Background: It is assumed that certain life events such as marriage, bereavement and divorce are major stressors because they require change and cause distruption to people's lives.
Sample: An opportunity sample of 394 people were used. 179 males and 215 females. A mix of married and single. Aged between 20-60. Mainly middle class and white.
Method/Procedure: A questionaire containing 43 items was used. Each person assigned a value to various life events, starting with marriage which was put at 50. For each item participants decdied whether life events needed more readjustment than marriage. The final scores were calculated by finding out the mean values for each life event from the entire samples results. Were put in order and the most stressful event, 'death of a spouse' was given the value of 100.
Results: Very high agreement on scores were achieved (>90) for the life events.
Evaluation: Usual issues with self-report e.g demand characteristics meaning participants may resond in the way they believe will be considered correct rather than their honest answers, for example the person may say they find death very stressful when in fact it does not affect them. In contrast with the hassels and uplifts, there are only negative stessors presented. Very ethnocentric as participants were maining middle class and white. Nature/Nurture as some people may be more prone to stress. Usefulness - has been used by doctors for many years.
Aim: To compare the Daily Hassles and Uplifts verses the Major Life Events Scale to see if hassles were in fact the greater cause of stress.
Background: Kanner believed that it was not just big life events that caused stress but also many daily hasssles such as bad traffic etc. He believed that people can handle big life events once in a while far more thanconstant smaller ones. He also believed uplifts played a part.
Sample: 52 females and 48 males, all white, who particiapted in a 12 month study of stress in canada.
Method/Procedure: Each person took both the measures of stress above once a month for 9 months. They also completed Hopkin's Symptons Checklist (of stress symptons) and a test of well being towards the end of the study.
Results: Top hassles were weight, health and money. Main uplifts were good relationships with friends, realationships and family. There were differences between men and women showing a negative correlation (r=0.18) between uplifts and a negative mood more men. Meanwhile women showed a postive correlation (r=0.25). Hassles proved a much stronger predicter of stress than life events.
Evaluation: This was correlation data so shows realtionships and not cause and effect. In the self reportdata with scales, people may have given socuially desirable answers. Ethnocentric as all white sample.
Aim: To measure the amount of stress experienced by sawmill workers and the difference between the stress levels of high-risk workers and low-risk workers.
Sample/Participants: 14 high-risk workers. who cut, edged and graded wood. A control group of 10 repair and maintenance workers. The mean age of both groups was 38. All were shift workers and paid based on group performace.
Methods: This was a quasi-experiment where the workers fell naturally into two groups.
Procedure: Work measures were colleceted four times a day through unrine tests, body temperature and self-ratings of mood and alertness and consumption of caffine and tobacco. These were compared to the a day spent at home where workers were asked to stay up as though they had been at work.
Results: Excretion of adrenaline in the urine of the high-risk group was twice as high as the baseline and continued to increase to the end of the day. While the conrol group peaked in the morning and then declined for the rest of the day. Self-report showed the high risk group feeling more rushed and irriated than the control group.
Evaluation: Good reliabilty with the two methods supporting each others. Good validity as it is a quasi-experiment in the field. Small sample and self-reports could mean problems with generalising these results to a wider sample. Could be used in the debate 'situational vs individual because are some people more stressed proned or are some jobs/situations more stressful?