Chapter 11 Notes Module 31- Stress and Coping Stress: Reacting to Threat and Challenge Stress: a person’s response to events that are threatening or challenging. Stressors produce threats to our well-being. -The Nature of Stressors Stress is a very personal thing. Situations may or may not be stressful to certain people. To consider an event stressful, they must perceive it as threatening or challenging and it must lack all resources to deal with it effectively. -Categorizing Stressors Three types of stressors Cataclysmic events: strong stressors that occur suddenly, affecting many people at once (ex. Natural disasters). Personal stressors: major life events that have immediate negative consequences that generally fades with time (ex. Death of a family member). Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD): in which victims of major catastrophes feel long-lasting effects that may include re-experiencing the event in vivid flashbacks or dreams. Background stressors (daily hassles): everyday annoyances that cause minor irritations and may have long-term ill effects if they continue or are compounded by other stressful events (being stuck in traffic). Uplift: minor positive events that make us feel good. -The High Cost of Stress Stress can produce both biological and psychological consequences. Most immediate reaction to stress is biological one. Psycho physiological disorders: medical problems influenced by an interaction of psychological, emotional, and physical difficulties, also called psychosomatic disorders. Major problems: high blood pressure, headaches, backaches, constipation, common cold, and etc. -The General Adaptation Syndrome Model General adaptation syndrome (GAS): a theory developed by Selye that suggests that a person’s response to a stressor consist of three stages: alarm and mobilization, resistance, and exhaustion. Alarm and mobilization occurs when people become aware of the presence of a stressor. Resistance is when people use a variety of means to cope with the stressor. Exhaustion is when a person’s ability to adapt to the stressor declines to the point where negative consequences of stress appear. -Psychoneuroimmunology and Stress 3 main consequences 1st – stress has direct physiological results, including an increase in blood pressure, an increase in hormonal activity, and an overall decline in the functioning of the immune system. 2nd- stress leads people to engage in behaviors that are harmful to their health, including increased nicotine, drug, and alcohol use; poor eating habits; and decreased sleep. Finally- stress produces indirect consequences that result in declines in health: a reduction in the likelihood of obtaining health care and decreased compliance with medical advice when it is sought. Stress may over stimulate the immune system. Stress can also decrease the immune system response, permitting germs that produce colds reproduce more easily or allowing cancer cells to spread more rapidly. Coping with Stress Coping is the effort to control, reduce, or learn to tolerate the threats that lead to stress. Emotional-focused coping: people try to manage their emotions in the face of stress, seeking to change the way they feel about or perceive a problem. Problem-focused coping attempts to modify the stressful problem or source of stress. Least effective form of coping is avoidant coping. Avoidant coping is when a person may use wishful thinking to reduce stress or use more direct escape routes, such as drug use, alcohol use, and overeating. Defense mechanisms are unconscious strategies that people use to reduce anxiety by concealing the source from themselves and others. Emotional insulation is when a person stops experiencing any emotions at all, thereby remaining unaffected and unmoved by both positive and negative experiences. -Learned Helplessness Learned helplessness is a state in which people conclude that unpleasant or aversive stimuli cannot be controlled- a view of the world would becomes so ingrained that they cease trying to remedy to aversive circumstances, even if they actually can exert some influence. -Coping Styles Most of us cope with stress in a characteristic manner, employing a coping style that represents our general tendency to deal with stress in a specific way. Hardiness is a personality characteristic associated with a lower rate of stress-related illness, consisting of three components: commitment, challenge, and control. Commitment is a tendency to throw ourselves into whatever we are doing with a sense that our activities are important and meaningful. Challenge: hardy people believe that change, rather than stability, is the standard condition of life. Control: hardiness is marked by a sense of control-the perception that people can influence the events in their lives. Hardy individuals approach stress in an optimistic manner and take direct action to learn about and deal with stressors, there by changing stressful events into less threatening ones. Resilience is the ability to withstand, overcome, and actually thrive after profound adversity. Resilient people are generally easygoing, good-natured, and have good social skills. -Social Support Social support: the knowledge that we are part of a mutual network of caring, interested others. People can provide info and advice about appropriate ways of dealing with stress. Module 35- Psychological Aspects of Illness and Well-being The As, Bs, and Ds of Coronary Heart Disease Type A behavior pattern is a cluster of behaviors involving hostility, competitiveness, time urgency, and feeling driven. Type B behavior pattern is a cluster of behaviors characterized by a patient, cooperative, noncompetitive manner. The importance of the Type A behavior pattern lies in its links to coronary heart disease. Hostility is the key component of the Type A behavior pattern that is related to heart disease. Psychological Aspects of Cancer Most people think of cancer in terms of lingering pain, and being diagnosed with the disease is typically viewed as receiving a death sentence. Several kinds of cancer have a high cure rate if detected early enough. Cancer remains the second leading cause of death after coronary heart disease. Although the processes involved in the spread of cancer are basically physiological, accumulating evidence suggests that the emotional responses of cancer patients to their disease may have a critical effect on its course. Cancer patients are less emotionally reactive, suppress anger, and lack outlets for emotional release. Smoking -Why People Smoke Almost three-quarters of the 48 million say they would like to quit smoking. Heredity seems to determine whether people will become smokers, how much they will smoke, and how easily they can quit. Genetics also influences how susceptible people are to the harmful effects of smoking. -Quitting Smoking Because smoking has both psychological and biological components, few habits are as difficult to break. Long-term successful treatment typically occurs in just 15% of those who try to stop smoking, and once smoking becomes a habit, it is as hard to stop as an addition to cocaine or heroin. Among the most effective tools for ending the smoking habit are drugs that replace the nicotine found in cigarettes. Another approach is exemplified by the drugs Zyban and Chantrix, which rather than replacing nicotine, reduce the pleasure from smoking and suppress withdrawal symptoms that smokers experience when they try to stop. Module 36- Promoting Health and Wellness Following Medical Advice Noncompliance with medical advice can take many forms. Patients also may practice creative non-adherence, in which they adjust a treatment prescribed by a physician, relying on their own medical judgment and experience. Reactance is a negative emotional and cognitive reaction that results from the restrictions of one’s freedom. -Communicating Effectively with Health-Care Providers Lack of communication between medical care providers and patients can be a major obstacle to good medical care. One reason is that physicians make assumptions about what patients prefer, or they push a specific treatment that they prefer without consulting patients. Sometimes patient-physician communication difficulties occur because the material that must be communicated is too technical for patients, who may lack fundamental knowledge about the body and basic medical practices. The amount of physicians-patient communication also is related to the sex of a physician and patient. Cultural values and expectations also contribute. -Increasing Compliance with Advice Although compliance with medical advice does not guarantee that a patient’s medical problems will go away, it does optimize the possibility that the patient’s condition will improve. One strategy is to provide clear instructions to patients regarding drug regimens. Maintaining good, warm relations between physicians and patients also leads to increased compliance. Positively framed messages suggest that a change in behavior will lead to a gain, emphasizing the benefits of carrying out a health-related behavior. Negatively framed messages highlight what you can lose by not performing a behavior. Positively framed messages are best for motivating preventive behavior. Well-Being an Happiness Subjective well-being is people’s own evaluation of their lives in terms of both their thoughts and their emotions. -What Are the Characteristics of Happy People? Happy people have high self esteem, a firm sense of control, are optimistic, and like to be around other people. -Does Money Buy Happiness People have a general set point for happiness, a marker that establishes that tone for one’s life. Although specific events may temporarily elevate or depress one’s mood, ultimately people return to their general level of happiness. Most people’s well-being set point is relatively high. Money does not seem to buy happiness.