healthy living - stress

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  • Created by: Laura
  • Created on: 12-06-11 15:36

Causes of Stress




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Causes of Stress

Swedish saw mill workers - High risk group - 14 finishers - machine-paced, repetitive, isolated, high responsibility, highly skilled

Control group - 10 cleaners - varied, self-paced, social contact

Self reports of mood and caffiene/nicotine consumption, urine tests for stress hormones (adrenaline/noradrenaline) absenteeism records

Work stressors - repetition, machine-paced work, high responsibility

High risk group secreted more stress hormones on work days than rest days & showed higher levels of stress related illness e.g. headaches & higher absenteeism

If employers want to reduce illness/absenteeism they need to find ways of reducing work stressors e.g. by introducing more variety, allowing more sense of control over pace of work

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Causes of Stress


Hassles & Uplifts


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Causes of Stress

100 people from California

P's asked to complete hassles rating scale, life events scale and psychological symptoms of stress tests

Hassles were consistent month to month.

Males: life events positively correlated with hassles and negatively for uplifts.

Females: the more life events, the more hassles AND uplifts

Hassles correlated more positively with psychological symptoms than life events

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Causes of Stress


Lack of Control

(Geer and Meisel)

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Causes of Stress

60 undergraduates at NYU (limited sample, ethnocentric)

P's shown photos of dead car crash victims & stress levels measured by GSR (galvanic skin response) and ECG monitoring

G1: given control over how long they looked at images, G2: no control but knew what was happening, G3: no control, told they would see photos and hear tones but not given timings

ECG recordings discarded as appeared inaccurate

G2 showed most stress, G1 the least

Having control over your environment can reduce stress responses

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Managing Stress


Cognitive Approach



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Managing Stress

To compare SIT with systematic desensitisation

Stress Innoculation Therapy - 3 stages: conceptualisation (identifying stressors) skills acquisition, application of skills

Systematic Desensitisation - gradually exposed to causes of stress until can cope

21 students (not representative)

SIT group (8 therapy sessions + relaxation) systematic desensitisation (8 therapy sessions + relaxation) and control group (told on waiting list)

SIT performance improved BUT significant differences between therapy groups & control group

SIT showed most improvement in anxiety levels and more effective than other techniques

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Managing Stress



Behaviourist Approach



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Managing Stress

To see if biofeedback effective or just placebo effect

18 participants (not representative)

P's kept record of headaches (rating 0-5) and completed psychometrics on depression & hypochondria

G1: Biofeedback, G2: Relaxation training, G3:waiting list

G1 had less muscle tension & headaches than G2

G1 less depression and drug use

G1 & G2 better social relationships

Biofeedback effective in reducing tension headaches & relaxation more effective than just being monitored

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Managing Stress

Social Approach

Social Support


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Managing Stress

133 women diagnosed with breast cancer - looked at how social relationships effect response and survival rates

P's sent questionnaire about demographics & social networks, education, family life and perception of support & medical records looked at

Psychometric tests of martial status, contact with friends and church membership

Qualitative data showed importance of practical help, e.g. childcare, cleaning

Martial status, support from friends, contact with friends and employment all linked with survival

The more social support women receive, the greater their chances of survival BUT most important factor in survival is nature of cancer & early detection

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Measuring Stress


Combined Approach



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Measuring Stress

Psychological - self report about mood and alertness, caffeine and nicotine consumption

More in-depth info, qualitative data

Physiological - urine tests for stress hormone levels

Objective, no reseacher bias/social desirability/demand characteristics. More scientific, quantitative data

Can use both measures to back the other up so more reliable

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Measuring Stress



(Geer & Meisel)

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Measuring Stress

GSR and ECG - more reliable as objective and more scientific BUT can be unreliable if machines don't work (had to discard ECG readings)

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Measuring Stress



(Holmes & Rahe)

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Measuring Stress

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