Stress, Coping, and Health
Stress and Disease
Stress and Stressors
Stress is defined differently by different researchers.
- One definition of stress is the experience of being threatened by taxing
- Stress depends on how environmental events are appraised.
- Stressors can be associated with poor health if they are chronic, highly disruptive,
or perceived as uncontrollable.
- Three types of stressors are catastrophic events, major life
changes, and minor hassles.
- Stress is produced when people experience frustration,
conflict, or pressure.
Hans Selye proposed that the stress response consists of a general
adaptation syndrome, which has three stages: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion.
- In stressful situations, the brain sends signals to the rest of the body along two
Coping refers to efforts to manage stress.
- Coping can be adaptive or maladaptive.
Adaptive coping involves direct confrontation of problems, realistic
appraisals, recognizing and modifying unhealthy emotional reactions, and protecting bodily
Maladaptive coping includes behaviors such as using alcohol and drugs to
- There are many different coping strategies.
- Factors that improve coping include social support,
optimism, and perceived control.
Stress and Disease
- Chronic stress is linked to the development of many psychological and physical
- Stress can affect the immune system.
- Depression, type A behavior and hostility, and emotional inhibition are associated
with health problems.
- Lifestyle features that endanger health include smoking, poor nutrition, and lack of
- After developing illness symptoms, people’s behavior influences the likelihood that
they will get better.
- People often delay seeking medical treatment for a variety of reasons.
- Health care providers and patients often have communication problems.
- People sometimes don’t adhere to treatment regimens.