Stress: Health & Clinical

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Work as a Cause of Stress

The pressures of work and the environment in which a person works are major factors to becoming stressed. Examples of workplace stressors are work overloadrepetitive work and social isolation

Johansson's Study:

Aim: To measure the psychological & physiological stress respones in 2 categories of employees

Participants: 24 workers - Swedish sawmill, 14 high risk & 10 cleaners (control g)

Method: Quasi exp, independent MD, workers were defined as being high risk or in a control group (cleaners), urine & self-report. Daily urine sample on arrival at work & 4 other times, body temperature was checked & were asked to complete a self-report on mood and alertness (sleepiness, irritation, efficiency) & caffeine & nicotine consumption. Baseline reading were taken at home before the study started

Results: Gigh risk g adrenaline levels were twice as high as baseline & increase throughout the day. Control g had a peaked 1.5 time their baseline in morning & this declined during the day. Self-report - high risk felt more rushed & irritated, rated their wellbeing lower than control g

Conclusion: The repetitive, machine-paced work, which was demanding in attention to detail and highly mechanised, contributed to the higher stress levels in the high risk g

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Hassles & Life Events

Big events (weddings) are called life events and tend to be significant changes to a persons life that can disrupt their normal routine. Small irritations (brother) are called daily hassles because they are much more common and don't tend to disrupt a routine

Kanner's Study:

Aim: To compare the hassles & uplift scale & the Berkman Life Event Scale as predictors of psychological symptoms of stress

Method: repeated MD 

Participants: 100 participants previously completed asurvey in '65 on helath, Cali, mostly white protestant, adequet income

Method: Surveys sent out by post 1 month before. Hassles rating - 9 months. HSCL & the Bradburn morale scale - 9 months. Life event rating scale - 1 month after the 9 months (after 10 months)

Results: Hassles were consistent from month to month. Men life events pos correlated with hassles & neg with uplifts. Womenboth hassles & life events pos correlated with life events. Hassles correlated positively with psychological symptoms than life events

Linking Sentence: Hassles are a more powerful predictor of psycholoical symptoms than life events and they both contribute to levels of stress

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Lack of Control

People can become stressed when they believe they have little or no control over a situation. Lack of control is common in repetitive work when machines are used as they dictate the speed of work. This removes decision making resulting in little control over situation and thus, stress

Geer & Maisel's Study:

Aim: To see if perceived control can reduce stress reactions to aversive stimuli

Participants: 60 undergrads, psychology course at NY uni

Method: Lab exp, IM design, Ps randomly assigned to 1 of 3 conditions, seeing pics of dead car crash victims. Control group - G1. P's seated in a shielded room wired to GSR and heart rate, machine callibrated for 5 mins whilst ps relaxed & baseline measurement was taken, rules read. G1 given actual control, could press a button to terminate pic, 10 sec tone would precede. G2 had no control over timing of pic but knew what was happening (warned pics would be 60 sec apart). G3 had not control over anything and told that photos would appear but did not know when or how long

Results: Heart rate discarded due to inaccuracy. G1 experienced the lowest stress response measured by GSR. G2 showed higher stress levels, G3 showed highest stress levels

Conclusion: P's showed less GSR reaction, indicating less stress, when they had control over the situation. Likely that being able to terminate aversive stimuli reduces its stressful impact

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Physiological Measures of Stress

Physiological measures of stress rely on scientific measurements relating to the biology of a person. Such measures include blood pressure, HR and skin conductivitty (sweat). However these measures can fully valid, eg. stress increases HR but so does caffeine. If someone is tested after having coffee, the measurement may be measuring the caffeine, not stress

Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) is a method of measuring skin conductivity from the palms or fingers. It sends a small current through the body and tthe activity of the sweat glands increase in response the the level of conductance. ie. the more you swear the more conductive your skin is. GSR is somewhat reliable but can be affected by individual differences

Polygraphs involve wiring a person to a series of sensors. These are used to measure external physiological symptoms such as HR and respiration. Often referred to as lie detectors. They are reliable and objective but demand characteristics can occur and individual differences so can't generalise

Geer & Maisel's Study:

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Self Report Measures of Stress

Self reports require participants to give information about their views

Kanner's Study:

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Combined Measure of Stress

There are various ways to measure stress, with each method having strengths and weaknesses. Often researchers will combine various methods to gain a more holistic picture. For example, measuring stress using physiological measures can give us insight into how the body responds to stress, but it does not tell us how the individual is feeling. Therefore we need to use a self report measure as well

Johansson's Study:

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Managing Stress; Cognitive

Meichenbaum argued that a person can be inoculated against stress and become resistant to it. There are 3 stages to SIT: Cognitive Preparation: The individual must identify the source of stress and consider other ways to cope with it. Skill Acquisition: The individual needs to learn new ways to deal with stress. Application and Follow Through: Practice the techniques in stressful situations

Meichenbaum's Study:

Aim: To compare SIT with behaviour systematic desentisisation & a control group on a waiting list

Method: Field exp, students assessed before & after treatments using self-reprt

Participants: 21 students aged 17-25, responded to an add for treatment of test anxiety

Procedure: P's took an IQ test and were assessed using anxiety adjective checklist. Allocated to groups based on IQ score. SIT g received 8 therapy sessions, given help to identify thoughts prior to test. SD g 8 therapy sessions with progressive relaxation training, encouraged to practise at home. Control g told they were on a waiting list & would receive therapy in future

Findings: Performance in the tests improved in the SIT g compared to the other 2 g, signif diff was found betweeen the 2 therapy g & the control g. Improvement in all 2 therapy groups

Linking Sentence: Study shows that SIT can be used as a cognitive technique to manage stress

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Managing Stress; Behavioural

Biofeedback allows people to be aware of bodily processes that they would not normally be aware of. It invloves 3 stages: Developing an awareness of the particular physical response (eg. HR). Learning ways to control the physical response in quiet conditions (Operant conditioning). Transferring the control into real life situations

Budzynski's Study:

Aim: To test the effectivenee of biofeedback tech in reducing tension headaches

Participants: 18participants, 16F & 2M aged 22-44, replied to add in local paper - Colorado

Method: Exp with IM design, P's randomly allocated to 1 of 3 g, 6 in each. GA - biofeedback sessions with relaxation training, GB - relaxation training, pseudo feedback, GC - control g, waiting list. P's kept record of headaches for 2 weeks rating them from 0-5 every hr to give a baseline reading, completed the MMPI which tested hysteria & hypochondria. GA&B given 16 sessions of training, GA taught relaxation, told clicks of biofeedback machine would reflect their muscle tension, slower clicks=lower tension. GC given no training, told to record headache activity

Results: GA's muscle tension & reported headaches was signif lower than GB&C. Follow up Q for GA&B showed GA had more reduction in symptoms than GB - heart rate & depression

Linking Sentence: Study shows how operant conditioning can be used to help manage stress

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Managing Stress; Social Support

Social support focuses less on intervention but more on utilising your situation and emphasising the involvement of others to manage stress. Reseach suggests that people who encounter life events come through them more easily if they have a network of friends. Opposite for people who don't

Waxler & Morrison's Study

Aim: To look at how woman's social relationships influence their response to breast cancer & survival

Participants: 133 women under 55y, reffered to clinic in Vancouver, comfirmed diagnosis of BC

Method: Quasi exp-women diagnosed wiht breast cancer, IM design. P's sent self administered Q gather info on demography & existing social networks. Included Q on ed level, responsible for children, contact with friends & fam. Details of their diagnosis was extracted from med records between June'80 & May'81, survival & recurrence rates were checked in med records in Jan'85. 

Findings: 6 aspects of social network signif linked with survival were: marital status, support from friends, contact with friends, total support, social network & employment. Qual data showed that practical help such as childcare, cooking & transport to hospital were concrete aspects of support.

Linking Sentence: Study suggests that a large social network during times of stress can help to lessen some of the stress that you face

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