Stress Management Notes

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  • Created by: Tasleem
  • Created on: 19-01-13 02:46

Stress Management

Physiological approaches to stress management:

  • Biofeedback
  • Anti-anxiety drugs

Psychological approaches to stress management:

  • Cognitive therapies
  • Social support

Lazars and Faulkman (1981) made a distinction between problem-faces and emotion-faced stress management.

We all 'cope' with stress the best we can, however stess 'management' suggests use of techniques to overcome chronic problems, or tackle stress before it occurs.


A technique used to control normally involuntary bodily functions such as heart rate.An individual is attracted to a machine producing auditory or visual signal to indicate whether their heart rate is too high. The individual is also taught to reduce physiological aspects of stress e.g. relaxation training, to bring physiological activity under control. Humans can even control their brainwaves using EEG biofeedback. The key feature is that these physiological activities are not usually controllable as they tend to be involuntary muscles controlled on an unconscious level. The muscles involved with the ANS are automated specifically because they control forms of behaviour that need to function without our conscious involvement. This makes it seem unlikely that we would be able to exert voluntary control over processes such as blood pressure. Biofeedback probably doesn't involve learning direct control of, for example, heart rate. Control is exerted indirectly. Biofeedback has been found to produce short and long term reductions in heart rate, blood pressure, tempreture and brain wave rhythms.

Stages of Biofeedback;

1. Developing an awareness of the particular physiological response

2. Learning ways of controlling it in quiet conditions. This can include providing rewards for successful control

3. Transforming that control into the conditions of everyday life

Supporting Evidence for Biofeedback;

Miller and Dicara (1967) demonstrated that rats were able to control their cardiac muscles using operant conditioning techniques, although subsequent research has not been able to replicate this.

Dworkin and Dworkin (1988) worked with teenagers who were suffering from curavted spine. The teenagers learnt how to control the muscles in their spine and thus alter their posture and overcome the disorder.

Holoyd and French (1994) reported on the findings from several clinical studies on sufferers from tension headaches. Biofeedback lead to 46% of headaches being reduced.

Wade and Travis (1993) said that some doctors use biofeedback successfully to help asthma and high blood pressure.

How Biofeedback Works;

Learning involuntary control may happen by means of operant conditioning. The ANS responds to rewards and reinforcements, so that autonomic responses that are reinforced occur more frequently. However the research hasn't been replicated, which casts doubt on this explanation. Another possibility is that biofeed results in a restoration of homeostatis because it involves relaxation. Stress may disrupt the normal functioning of the body amd mean that is system of regulation, various physiological activities are out of control - high blood pressure, intestional distress, and pain can develop. Biofeedbacks relaxtion may help the body to return to homeostatis. Another possibility is that biofeedback allows people to feel more in control of theur bodies and themselves.

Evaluation of Biofeedback;

+ Significant long term reduction in stress in


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