Stress, Coping, and Health
Stress and Stressors
- Stress is defined differently by different researchers.
- One definition of stress is the experience of being threatened by taxing circumstances.
- 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 pathways.
- 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 health.
- Maladaptive coping includes behaviors such as using alcohol and drugs to escape problems.
- 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 problems.
- 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 exercise.
- 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.