Measuring Stress

Physiological measures - Geer & Meisel 

Self-report - Holmes & Rahe 

Combined approach - Johanson 

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Measuring Stress; Physiological Measures - Geer &

  • What measures of stress did Geer & Meisel use? 
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of Physiological measures of stress?
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Measuring Stress; Physiological Measures - Geer &

  • Stress was measured via GSR and heart rate 
  • Objective - GSR is a physiological measure of stress that can be scientifically measured and compared against a base line, are Physiological measures always valid? e.g. heart rate can be influenced by caffeine intake. Could have improved validity by asking participants to complete self-reports.
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Measuring Stress; Self-report - Holmes & Rahe

  • What was studied in Holmes & Rahe? 
  • What was the method in Holmes & Rahe? 
  • What were the findings/conclusions in Holmes & Rahe? 
  • What are some possible evaluation points in Holmes & Rahe?
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Measuring Stress; Self-report - Holmes & Rahe

  • Life events as stressors 
  • Cross sectional sample of 394 participants, rated 43 life events 
  • Social readjustment & rating scale was based on mean scores. Strong correlations were found between gender, age & religion but less correlation between white and black participants. Top 5 were death of a spouse, divorce, marital separation, imprisonment and death of a close relative. 
  • 1. Cross sectional sample - are some of these events more westernized? 2. Self-report methods - qualitative data 3. easy to collect data from a large sample 4. how valid are self-report methods? social desirability bias & demand characteristics. 
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Measuring Stress; Combined approach - Johanson

  • What measures of stress did Johanson use? 
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of these measures?
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Measuring Stress; Combined approach - Johanson

  • Stress was measured by adrenalin levels in urine, temperature, self-rating scales and caffeine and nicotine intake.
  • Concurrent validity – physiological and self-report measures showed increased levels of stress in the high risk group. lack of validity with self reports, high validity of physiological measures.


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