Stress In Everyday Life

Type Of Stressors

- Discreate (one off) : research has looked inot major life events such as divorce which requires adjustment of the indivdual

- Continuous (on going) : problems in life and living also interupt our daily routine

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Life Changes - SRRS

- A way of measuring relationship between changes and welbeing is by the

social readjustment rating scale SRRS.

- SRRS was created by Holmes and Rache (1967) 

-  Men and Women of various ages and backgrounds were asked to rate ife events in terms of how much readjustment required.

- The scale was contructed. Particpants were asked to check of any of the 43 life events they had experienced. Scores were totalled and used as an index to that persons life stress.

- Score of 150+ increased chances of stess related health break down

- Score over 300 incresed these odds by 50%

-Study was RETROSPECTIVE (possible stress related illness to look back ove rtwo years) and PROSPECTIVE (assessing life stress then observing them)

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Rahe Et Al (1970) - SRRS and Stress

AimFind out if scores on Holmes and Rahe's SRRS correlated with subsequent onset of illness.

Procedure -

2500 American male sailors assessed how many life events they had in the past 6 months on the SRRS. 

They were then observed for the next 6 months and had a detailed health check.

The life event score was correlated with their health scores

Findings -

A postive correlation was found between life change score and illness scores.

Conclusion -

Small corelation which means life events cannot be the only contributing factors to illness. Validity reduced because only male Us men were used - hard to generalise.

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Research Into Life Changes as a source of Stress

Stone Et Al (1978)

 - Married couples complete daily check lists of events over a three month period. Number of undesirable events increased 3-4 days prior to onset of illness

- Desirable events decreased.

- This suggests that they might be responsible for stress related illness because a sequence of undesirable events occured before illness.

- Supported by the desirable events decreasing.

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Research Into Life Changes as a source of Stress

Michael and Ben-Zur (2007)

- 130 participants (49.4 aprox age) studied which were aprox half men half women.

- Half recently divorced and other half widowed.

- FINDINGS showed widows scored higher on the life satisfaction scale before the loss whereas divorced people showed higher results after seperation.

- This might be explained because the divorced may be dating new people or have a new partner. This trend was not as obvious in widowed partners.

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Daily Hassles - Kanner Et Al (1981)

Daily Hassle - Minor events that arise in the course of a normal day. Eg people walking slow, or broken computer.

Although they are short lived, if unresolved effects may linger and become a problem.

Kanner Et Al (1981) - Stress and Daily Hassles

- 100 adults completed a questionnaire each month which asked them to choose which hassles they had experienced in that month out of a list of 117. They then had to rate each hassle to show how severe it was for them (went on for 9months)

- Findings : soem hassles occurs more frequently than others (weight, family health, cost of living) Those of high scores were more likely to have physical + psycholoical problems.

- Theres a link, stronger correlation than that found with the SRRS.

- Weakness: corelational methods are relevent - questionaires produce quantative data which doesnt allow the participant to explain which makes it harder to find a cause and effect.

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Work Place Stress

Work Place Stress comes from five key areas:

1 - Relationships at work (might feel undervalued or lack of support)

2 - Work Pressures (large worklaod, strict deadlines)

3 - Physical Enviroment (nosie, heat, overcrowed etc)

4 - Stress linked to our role (job security, prospects of a promotion)

5 - Lack of contorl (not much influence over the type and amount of work to do)

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Marmot Et Al (1997) - Lack of control and Illness

- 7000 civil service employees in london were surveyed. Info obtained was about their grade of employment, how much control they felt they had and how much supoort they felt they had etc.

- FINDINGS: medical histories were followed up 5 years later, it showed those of lower employment rates with less controll were more liekly to had cardiovasuclar disorders.

- CON: believing you have less control influences your work stress and development of illness

- EVALUATION: only looked at office jobs so these results do not apply to other jobs.

Smoking was to be found common in those who developed illness - maybe those with less control were more liekly to smoke - which caused heart problems rather than stress.

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Type A Behaviour + Evaluation

Type A Behaviour - pattern of behvaiour which consists of:

- hurrying / serveral tasks at once / easily frustrated 


- Lack of consistant research (correlations found but never very high or low findings)

- Protective Factors (things make a type A indivdual vunerable such as doing too many things at once, they also might score high on protective factor - control and commitment. Other elements of protection against stress is physical excericise and social support)

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Research On Type A Behaviour

Williams et al (2003)

- conducted a 15year study on those who enhibited type A personality.

- FINDINGS: certain aspects of type A is unhealthy (hostility, impatience, HBP, heart attacks and strokes)

Friedman and Rosenman (1974)

- 3200 californian men (39-50) catecorized either type A B or X. 

- followed them up for 8 1/2 years to assess lifestyle and health outcomes.

- FINDINGS: 257 of the men had developed heart disease and 70% were type A.

- CON: type A increases hear diesease. 

no cause ans effect can be assumed - not an experiemental study.

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Kobasa - 'Hardiness'

Kobasa - Concept of Hardiness is why people reacte to stress and some are resistant.

Three Personality Factors:

- Control (believe you influence what happens in your life)

- Commitment (involvement and purpose in the world)

- Challenge (over come life changes as opportunites rather than stressors)

Kobasa Et Al (1995)

- rated participants on three factos if they were present of absent (Hardiness, social support and regular excercise) then assessed them on any psychological or physical illness.

- FINDINGS: participants with no protective factors had higher scores on illness scale. If you had 1,2 or 3 protective facotrs they descreased illness scores.

- EVAL (C+C+C never been clearly defined, Kobasa is only looking at the role of control)

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Folkman and Lazarus (1980) (WCQ)

Folkman and Lazarus found that coping is an attempt to manage stress. They measure a persons style of coping using "ways of coping questionnaire" (WCQ) 

Consists of 50 items that score individualson 8 different scales including:

- seeking soical support (talking)

- escape-aviodance (miracle)

- positive reappraisal (changing it so its less stressful)

From this they found two major types of coping:

- Problem-focused coping (an attempt to do something active to eliminate the stressful situation. A - solves it quick/more pratical. D - doesnt help cope with death/not all situations)

- Emotion Focused coping (attempt to regulate the emotional distress assoiciated with stress. A - release of stress/instant response. D - wishful thinking/venting emotion)

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Research Study - Health Outcomes

Penley et al (2002) found that:

- Problem focused coping was positiviley correlated with ood health outcomes.

- Whereas emotion focused coping correlated negetivly with good health out comes.

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Research Study - Control and Coping

Park Et Al (2004)

Conducted a study with undergraduates described their most stressful event, its controlability, how they coped and their daily mood.


- Problem focused copings was positivly related to positive mood when dealing with controlable stressors

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Research Study - Gender

Ptacek et al (1992)

Found that  NO  gender differences in the use of problem focused coping because the student shared the same social role.

Possible them men and women have begun to adapt similar coping strategies due to the fact they are taking on similar roles.

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Research Study - Threat and Coping

Rukholm and Viverais (1993)

Concluded that if a person feel threatend when confronted by a stressor they need to deal with anxiety by using emotion focused coping and then when they feel ready they will tackle the stressor with problem focused coping.

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Methods of Stress Management

Psychological Methods of Stress Management:

If we cannot cope witht the demmands and our ability to cope, we need to reduce stress by:

- Cognitive Behaviour Training (CBT) - thinking positive about a situation / prepare and resiliance to stressors

- Progressive Muscle Relaxation - physical way to deal with stress

- Hardiness Training - Kobasa (teach and learn hardiness)

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Stress Inoculation Training + Evaluation

Three Seperate stages:

- Conceptulisation MAIN (encouraged to share stressful situations to understand the nature of stress)

- Skills training and pratice (taught specific (revision. lists etc) and non-specific (breathing) strategies to deal with stressful situations - general relaxation techniqes

- Real-life Apllication (go out and put training to practie - self sustaining but stay in regular contact with theapist)


- Practicallity (requires high levels of motivation and commitment - time and money)

- Effectiveness (cognitive and behavioural therapy is very powerful when combined)

- Difficulties (hard to change cognitve behaviour and act against habits that are already established)

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Muscle Relaxation + Evaluation

- Lay still so you cannot feel you own body, ways to find out if your relaxed is to clench then unclench your body.


- Effective (very good for relieveing stress)

- Praticllity (not very good depending on your surroundings)

- not 100% effective because it doesnt deal with your stressor directly

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Hardiness Training - Kobasa

Kobasa believes that that Hardiness can be learnt with three stages:

- Focusing (encouraged to spot signs of stress such a muscle tension which increases heart rate and anxiety - this allows them to recognise stressful situations and identify the stressor)

- Relieving stressful enconters (analyse stressful encounters of how they were resolved and how it could of turned out better. This gives an insight into their current coping strategies)

- Self-Improvement (the belief you can cope with life challenges, recognise them and cope with them)


- Generalizability (involves white, middleclassed business men so they cannot be generlized to women, different classes or cultures)

- Effectiveness & Practicality (lengthy and requires commintment and motivation. Also has the problem of addressing basic aspescts of personality and learned habits of coping)

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Drugs in Stress (Physiological method)

Benzodiazepines (Bzs) (valium) - are the most prescribed drugs fight against stress and anxiety. Bz's enhance the GABA 's process of calming down the neuron by breaking through the receptors allowing negetve chloride ions in. 

Beta-Blockers - do not enter the brain but directly reduce activity pathways in the sympathic nervous system around the body. Sympathetic arousal is a key feature of stressful states.  Beta-Blockers are effective against rasied heart rate and blood pressure. These work by reducing activity of adreneline and nonadrenline which are the key agents in sympatheic arousal. Beta Blockers bind to the beta-adrenergic receptors to block the receptor from being stimulated.

A- speed and effectiveness (work quickly and effectivly by reducing dangerous symptoms eg high blood pressure)

A - Avaliability (drugs can be prescribed immediatley)

D - Dependency (long term use leads to psychological and physical dependency - withdrawl sypmtoms) D- Tolerence (drugs begen to have less effect over long term use)

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Bio Feed Back

Bio Feed Back technique involves recording the body activity such a heart rate, blood pressure or tension in the neck can lead to headaches. Recording is by a monitor which is held by a patient. 

People are encouraged to do various activities to reduce the readings such as mediation, altering their posture or muscle relaxation. 

Aim is to find a strategie which works and can be used in real life situations


- Effectiveness (can be succesfull for some individuals espically children because they enjoy the technology)

- Role of relaxation (often found no more relaxing than muscle relaxation, this suggests blood pressure is not a vital part of procedure but training in relaxation is) 

- Expense (biofeed back is expensive in terms of equipment and time)

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