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Flashcards in ch 15 Deck (46):


stimuli or events that place strong demands on us



daily hassles and everyday annoyances


Catastrophic events

often occur unexpectedly and typically affect large numbers of people (e.g. natural disaster)



pattern of cognitive appraisals, physiological responses, and behavioural tendencies that occurs is response to a perceived imbalance between situational demands and the resources needed to cope with them

• Can weaken the immune system`


Life event scales

quantify amount of life stress that a person has experienced over a given period


4 aspects of appraisal process

1) Appraisal of demands of the situation (primary appraisal)
2) Appraisal of resources available to cope with it (secondary appraisal)
3) Judgements of what the consequences of the situation could be
4) Appraisal of the personal meaning; what outcome might imply about us


General adaptation system (GAS)

1) Alarm reaction – sudden activation of sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and release of stress hormones by the endocrine system

2) Resistance – body’s resources continue to be mobilized so that person can function despite presence of stressor

3) Exhaustion – when stressor is too intense and persists for too long, body’s resources are dangerously depleted
o Body has increased vulnerability to disease



- stress hormone that increases blood sugar, in part by acting on liver
- Hippocampus (learning and memory) is sensitive to cortisol; can lead to deterioration


Rape trauma syndrome

for months or even years after the rape, victims may feel nervous and fear another attack by the rapist



– heightened tendency to experience negative emotions and get themselves into stressful situations through their maladaptive behaviours


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

severe anxiety disorder caused by exposure to traumatic life events
- Traumas caused by human perpetrators (e.g. rape, war) tend to cause more severe PTSD that natural disasters


Residential school syndrome

symptoms experienced by children who were forced to attend residential schools
- Vulnerability factors – increase people’s susceptibility to stressful events (e.g. lack of support network)


Vulnerability factors

– increase people’s susceptibility to stressful events (e.g. lack of support network)


Protective factors

environmental or personal resources that help people cope more effectively with stressful
events (e.g. coping skills)
• Social support enhances immune system function, is overall really good for stress relief, decreases activity in left amygdala


Naomi Eisenberg and colleagues

did experiment testing brain areas (PFC) and association with social support and stress

• Measured social support by signalling participants at random times in the day for 10 days
• When signalled → answered questions about nature of support received in most recent social interaction
• Measured brain activity in game of “cyberball”, game of online catch where the other players were CPU, but participant did not know
• One brain scan done while all 3 players played cooperatively (half throws went to human)
• Another game right after where human got 7 throws at beginning, the no more
• Found that low levels of past social support were associated with larger stress response and change in activity in PFC
• Past social support limits stress response and helps recover from the stress, and suggest involvement of PFC


Inagaki and Eisenberger

experiment on effect of giving social support

• Told some to write letter to close friend about any advice they might need right now and some wrote letter explaining their route to work
• Then given 5 min to prepare a 5min speech to deliver in front of judges
• After speech, told to count backwards from 2083 by 13s
• Told their speech and math stuff would be graded
• Those who engaged in providing social support to close friend were less stressed by the situation



stress-resistant personality pattern that involves the factors of the 3 C’s: commitment, challenge, control


Coping self-efficacy

conviction that we can perform the behaviours necessary to cope successfully



- Pessimists had about twice as many illnesses and visits to doctors as did optimists

- Pessimism also predicts poorer health


Type A personality

live under great pressure and are demanding of themselves and others

• Rapid talking, moving, walking, and eating
• Exaggerated sense of time urgency and become very irritated at delays or failures to meet their deadlines
• High levels of competitiveness and ambition, as well as aggressiveness and hostility when things get in their way
• Double risk for coronary heart disease


type B personality

more relaxed, agreeable, less sense of time urgency


Problem-focused coping

confront and deal directly with the demands of the situation, or to change the situation so that it is no longer stressful (e.g. studying for a test)

- Research found problem-focused coping were associated with favourable adjustment to stressors

- Men more likely to use problem-focused coping as first strategy to confront stressor


Emotion-focused coping

manage emotional responses that result from it

(e.g. avoidance – have a test? Go to a party, or acceptance – about to die? Accept it)

- Emotion-focused coping predicted depression and poor adjustment

- Women somewhat more likely to report using emotion-focused coping


Seeking social support

turning to others for assistance and emotional support in times of stress
- Research found problem-focused coping were associated with favourable adjustment to stressors
- Women more likely to use social support → tend to have larger support networks and higher needs for affiliation


Robles and Kiecolt-Glaser

did experiment testing spouse’s physocal support (hand-holding) on self-report and neural responses

• 16 highly satisfied married couples were brought in
• Woman lay in a scanner and were connected to shock electrodes at her ankle
• She had a panel that showed either of the two visual displays: a red X (threat cue) – 20% chance of receiving painful electric shock after 10 sec OR a blue O (safety cue) – would not be shocked
• Random order of 12 threat and 12 safety – this is 1 block; experiment had 3 blocks
• One block holding husband’s hand, one holding stranger’s hand, one holding no hand – all in random order
• At end of each block, woman rated how unpleasant the situation was and how much fear arousal she was experiencing
• When spouses holding hands → found situation less unpleasant compared to holding stranger’s hand or no hand
• Brain’s emotional response significantly lower during safety trials than during threat trials
• fMRI of brain showed social support, especially from spouse, reduces brain’s response to threat



- paying attention in a particular way
- on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally


Mindfulness has 3 interrelated components

1) Be fully and deliberately aware of your environment, emotions, thoughts, and actions
2) Focus your attention on current moment rather than ruminating on past or anticipating future
3) Experiencing each moment as is without judgement or bias based on expectations, wishes, or fears



use of an unprescribed drug to alleviate stress, anxiety, or other symptoms



deliberately harming oneself without suicidal intention; often associated with history of emotional or sexual abuse


Denise Sloan and Brian Marx

studied college students who experenced traumatic life trauma

• Some told to write about traumatic event, others told to do an unrelated task
• Those who wrote about their trauma showed lower stress and depression scores, and missed less classes during that month
• Writing or talking about event provides exposure to cues that accompanied trauma and the exposure allows extinction to occur


People and coping methods

- North Americans and Europeans tend to use problem-focused coping more than Asian and Hispanics
- Asians and Hispanics tend to use emotion-focused coping and social support
- Asians also tend to avoid the stressful situation, particularly interpersonal stressors → reflects their culture’s emphasis on interpersonal harmony


Health psychology

studies psychological and behavioural factors in the prevention and treatment of illness and in maintenance of health


Health-enhancing behaviours

serve to maintain or increase health (e.g. exercise, healthy diet, safe sex)


Health-compromising behaviours

promote development of illness (e.g. smoking, fatty diets, sedentary lifestyle)


Transtheoretical method

6 major stages in change process; does not assume people go through stages in a smooth sequence

1) Precontemplation – no desire to change behaviour; do not recognize there is a problem or their behaviour’s negative consequences

2) Contemplation – perceives problem but not yet decided to take action; aware of their risks, not ready to quit

3) Preparation – decided they want to change behaviour, but have not started changing; started making small changes or identifying conditions that affect the behaviour they want to change

4) Action – actively begin to modify behaviour and environment; this stage requires most commitment of effort and energy; might have to go through this cycle many times

5) Maintenance – avoided relapse and controlled target behaviour for 6 months

6) Termination – change in behaviour is so ingrained and under personal control that original problem will never return


Stage-matched interventions

psychologists designed these to move person towards the action, maintenance, and termination stages

• Precontemplators → need consciousness-raising info to convince them there is a problem

• Contemplators → need an emotional experience that increases motivaation to change or cuases them to re-evaluate themselves in relation to behaviour


Aerobic exercise

sustained activity (e.g. jogging, biking, swimming) that elevates heart rate and increases body’s need for oxygen


Yo-yo dieting

- form of weight monitoring that results in big up-and-down weight fluctuations
- increases risk of dying from cardiovascular disease


Motivational interviewing

leads people to own conclusions by asking questions that focus on discrepancies between current state of affairs and individual’s idea self-image, desired behaviours, and desired outcomes


Aversion therapy

undesired behaviour associated with aversive stimulus (e.g. shock, bad taste) to create negative emotional response


Self-monitoring procedures

help person identify consequences of actions



return to undesirable behaviour pattern



one-time “slip”


Abstinence violation effect

- reaction that can coccur when substance misusers fail to remain abstinent and view the lapse as proof that they will never be strong enough to resist temptation
- May result in total relapse


Harm reduction

– prevention strategy designed to no eliminate a behaviour when it occurs


How to be happy

• Spend time with other people, and work to develop close relationships
• Look for ways to be helpful to others and reach out to the less fortunate
• Seek meaning and challenge in work
• Set meaningful personal goals for yourself, and make progress toward them
• Make time for enjoyable activities
• Nurture physical well-being
• Be open to new experiences
• Cultivate optimism, and count your blessings