Types of stressors

A stressor is any event, experience, or environmental stimulus that causes stress in an [19] individual. These events or experiences are perceived as threats or challenges to the individual and can be either physical or psychological. Researchers have found that stressors can make individuals [20] more prone to both physical and psychological problems, including heart disease and anxiety. Stressors are more likely to affect an individual's health when they are "chronic, highly disruptive, or [20] perceived as uncontrollable". In psychology, researchers generally classify the different types of stressors into four categories: 1) crises/catastrophes, 2) major life events, 3) daily hassles/microstressors, and 4) ambient stressors. [edit]Crises/catastrophes This type of stressor is unforeseen and unpredictable and, as such, is completely out of the control of the [20] individual. Examples of crises and catastrophes include: devastating natural disasters, such as major floods or earthquakes, wars, etc. Though rare in occurrence, this type of stressor typically causes a great deal of stress in a person's life. A study conducted by Stanford University found that after natural [20] disasters, those affected experienced a significant increase in stress level. [edit]Major

life events

Common examples of major life events include: marriage, going to college, death of a loved one, birth of a child, etc. These events can be either positive or negative. Research has found major life events are [20] somewhat rare to be major causes of stress, due to its rare occurrences. The length of time since occurrence and whether or not it is a positive or negative event are factors in whether or not it causes stress and how much stress it causes. Researchers have found that events that have occurred within the past month generally are not linked to stress or illness, while chronic events that [21] occurred more than several months ago are linked to stress and illness. Additionally, positive life events are typically not linked to stress—and if so, generally only trivial stress—while negative life events can be [20] linked to stress and the health problems that accompany it. [edit]Daily


This category is the most commonly occurring type of stressor in an individual's everyday life. This [20] includes daily annoyances and minor hassles. Examples include: making decisions, meeting deadlines at work or school, traffic jams, encounters with irritating personalities, etc. Often, this type of stressor includes conflicts with other people. Daily stressors, however, are different for each individual, as not everyone perceives a certain event as stressful. For example, most people find public speaking to be stressful, nevertheless, a seasoned politician most likely will not. There are three major psychological types of conflicts that can cause stress. First, the approach-approach conflict occurs when a person is choosing between two equally attractive options, i.e. whether to go see a [20] movie or to go see a concert. The second type is the avoidance-avoidance conflict, where a person has to choose between two equally unattractive options, for example, to take out a second loan with [20] unappealing terms to pay off the mortgage or to face foreclosure on one's house. The third type is an approach-avoidance conflict. This occurs when a person is forced to choose whether or not to partake in something that has both attractive and unattractive traits—such as whether or

not to attend an expensive college (meaning taking out loans now, but also meaning a quality education and employment after graduation). [edit]Ambient


As their name implies, these are global (as opposed to individual) low-grade stressors that are a part of the background environment. They are defined as stressors that are "chronic, negatively valued, non[22] urgent, physically perceptible, and intractable to the efforts of individuals to change them". Typical examples of ambient stressors are pollution, noise, crowding, and traffic. Unlike the other three types of stressor, ambient stressors can (but do not necessarily have to) negatively impact stress without [22] conscious awareness. They are thus low on what Stokols called "perceptual salience".

If you categorize the stressors, it would be as follows: 1) Physicochemical stressor External environment represented by "nature." For example, change in climate and weather. Pollution, disaster, and chemical substance are also in this category. 2) Social stressor The "social environment." For example, change in economic condition, international position of a country are them. On individual level, life environment such as work, home, and school, human relationship. 3) Biological stressor The internal environment. Some change occurred inside our body. Sickness and injury would be the easiest example for this. Others include fatigue, lack in sleeping time, time rag, etc. 4) Mental stressor Psychological condition such as pleasantness and unpleasantness. Mostly caused by above stressors. Each stressors are closely related and work to cause stress condition in a person. It is probably easy to understand that you cannot discuss each types independently. Not only the unfavorable mental conditions such as madness, impatience, listlessness, frustration, emotional conflict, and nervousness, but also good mental conditions as hope, expectation, and happiness are all examples of mental stressors.

Stress is defined as an organism's total response to an environmental condition or stimulus, also known as a stressor. Stress typically describes a negative condition that can have an impact on an organism's mental and physical well-being.

Cognitive appraisal

Lazarus argued that, in order for a psychosocial situation to be stressful, it must be appraised as such. He argued that cognitive processes of appraisal are central in determining whether a situation is potentially threatening, constitutes a harm/loss or a challenge, or is benign. Both personal and environmental factors influence this primary appraisal, which then triggers the selection of coping processes. Problem-focused coping is directed at managing the problem, whereas emotion-focused coping processes are directed at managing the negative emotions. Secondary appraisal refers to the evaluation of the resources available to cope with the problem, and may alter the primary appraisal. In other words, primary appraisal includes the perception of how stressful the problem is and the secondary appraisal of estimating whether one has more than or less than adequate resources to deal with the problem that affects the overall appraisal of stressfulness. Further, coping is flexible in that, in general, the individual examines the effectiveness of the coping on the situation; if it is not having the [20] desired effect, s/he will, in general, try different strategies.


Cognitive Factors
In the four sections below, we review (largely) behavioral medicine research that has focused on the relationship between specific cognitive factors and psychological and physical health. These factors ranged from very specific cognitive outcomes (e.g. the determined cause of a stressful event) to very global cognitive outcomes (e.g. the general perception that an event is stressful). We begin each section by defining each target cognitive factor.

Many theorists[12] believe that one's initial construal of a stressor is an indication of how serious the stress is and what is at stake. By far the most often used application of this cognitive approach to stress and coping is the so-called transactional model[13]. This model specifies that an individual's response to a stressor is a function of two sequentially linked cognitive processes: primary appraisal and secondary appraisal. In primary appraisal the stressor is construed as either a threat, as harmful, or as a challenge. Once this cognitive interpretation is determined, a secondary appraisal is made in which the individual decides if he or she has the coping resources to deal effectively with the stressor[14*]. Recently, this model has been applied to a number of

populations, including individuals with HIV/AIDS and their caregivers[3**,15**,16**], cancer patients[17*], rheumatoid arthritis patients[18*], parents of preterm infants in a neonatal intensive care unit[19*], parents of children with disabilities[20*-22*], nurses working within an intensive care unit[23*], caregivers of dementia patients[24*], and PTSD patients[25**]. The findings from such studies suggest that negative appraisals (i.e. threat, harmful) are associated with negative psychological and physical adjustment, whereas positive appraisals (i.e. challenges) are associated with positive psychological and physical adjustment. With respect to negative appraisals, for example, Sinclair[18*] reported that construing an event as catastrophic is associated with passive pain coping, venting, helplessness, and increased levels of pain. At the extreme, these negative appraisals have been implicated in the development and maintenance of PTSD[25**] and negative psychological adjustment among cancer patients[17*]. With respect to positive appraisals, the most methodologically rigorous tests of the transactional model have involved HIV/AIDS patients. For example, Pakenham and Rinaldis[15**] found that men who explained the stressfulness of living with HIV/AIDS as a challenge believed that they had control over the illness, used more problem-focused coping and social support, and were better adjusted psychologically than individuals who did not appraise the stressor in this way. Similarly, Park et al.[16**] documented that when a stressor was appraised as controllable it was directly related to positive psychological adjustment. In addition, meaning-focused coping, which is an attempt to alter the meaning of the situation so that it is more consistent with an individual's beliefs and goals, was directly related to adjustment. Finally, Bova[3**] found that appraisals were strongly related to symptom experience and long-term adjustment. However, rather than serving as a precipitating event in the stress and coping process, appraisals mediated the relationship between social support and adjustment. Similar

findings were reported for parents who have disabled children[21*]. This suggests that interventions/treatments involving social support can effectively help individuals alter their negative appraisals of stressors.

Research has focused on how post-hoc interpretations or redefinitions of why a stressful event occurred (causal attributions) impact not only adjustment but also coping. In a recent meta-analysis of individuals with physical illnesses, Roesch and Weiner[1**] found that individuals who explained the causes of their illness as internal, unstable, and controllable used active coping methods and were psychologically healthier. This temporal sequence suggests that attributions have an indirect influence on adjustment. That is, attributions guide motivated cognitive coping strategies, which then directly impact health. Similarly, Furze et al.[26*] reported that an overwhelming number of angina patients believed that stress (an uncontrollable attribution) was the cause of their illness, which resulted in these individuals using avoidance coping methods. This initial attribution thus produced a sequence of maladaptive coping methods that are counterproductive compared with proactive methods (e.g. exercise) that improve physical health. Attributions, however, can also have a direct effect on adjustment. For example, victims of rape who found meaning in the attributions that they made for the assault were better psychologically adjusted[2**], whereas individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome who made external attributions for the cause of this illness experienced disability and fatigue even 6 months after this initial attribution[27**].

A third cognitive approach applicable to the stress and coping process is the theory proposed by Bandura[28], which purports that stress reactions are primarily a function of low self-efficacy to exert control over a stressful situation. Control in this case refers to the outcome of the stressor and not to the controllability of the cause of the illness, which is the focus of attribution theory. Similar to the

transaction analysis, Bandura[28] contended that stress results when one's perceived coping resources are inadequate (similar to a secondary appraisal). Janicke and Finney[29*] recently developed an efficacy-related model of pediatric services, suggesting that the use of these services is a function of perceived parental stress and low self-efficacy in coping with life demands. The theory specifies that coping self-efficacy can be enhanced (and stress reduced) when one has mastery of experiences with comparable stressors, vicarious experiences that successfully overcome the stressor, verbal information that one can in fact successfully overcome the stressor, and a reduction in physiological arousal. Unfortunately, neither supporting nor disconfirming data have so far been reported.

General Perceptions of Stressors
In contrast to the three theoretical frameworks just discussed, other investigations have considered how general perceptions that an event is stressful influence adjustment, without imposing a unified cognitive framework. In a smoking cessation study[30*], general perceptions of stress were linked with a low use of cognitive coping methods (e.g. making plans to reduce the stressful situation). This was, in turn, associated with a low likelihood that individuals would quit smoking on their own. Similarly, Haines et al.[31*] documented that perceptions of chronic aircraft noise as stressful were associated with poorer cognitive functioning (e.g. lower reading ability) in children. Moreover, these perceptions and cognitive deficits were still evident one year later. We now turn from the cognitive mediators of stress and coping to treatment/intervention research related to these cognitive processes.

xperiencing coming from? SOURCES OF STRESS AND THE RESULTS

The origination or root of your stress can involve a range of different sources. Understanding where your stress is coming from can help you in coping with stress, reducing your stress and even relieving stress for you. For those professionals working to help you in managing stress, knowing the sources of your stress is a very powerful starting point to stress treatment and developing stress techniques. SIX MAIN STRESS SOURCES Although there are a variety of sources of stress in people’s lives, many people look for stress help in dealing with predominantly six main sources of stress. Here is a quick overview and summary of each of the six main sources of stress: • environmental stress • social stress • organizational stress • physiological stress • psychological stress • significant events stress SOURCE ONE – ENVIRONMENTAL STRESS The first source of stress, strain and hassle in your life, can be that of environmental stress. This type of stress relates to those aspects of your environment and surroundings that are causing you stress. For example, living next to a noisy, busy street may result in you exhibiting stress symptoms and stress effects. SOURCE TWO – SOCIAL STRESS A second major source of stress is called social stress. This relates to the stress involved in interacting, socializing and communicating with other human beings. It revolves around your relationship with other people. Some of these social interactions and relationships can be very stressful and tension filled experiences in your life. Others can be enjoyable and positive types of social stress and social interaction. SOURCE THREE – ORGANIZATIONAL STRESS All of us engage with, belong to and are often employed by an organization. This can result in organizational stress. Some experts in stress management and stress relief treatment discuss this stress source under the areas of environmental or social stress. For others, it warrants a category of its own, since organizations of all types play an important role in our lives. Most often this source of stress is associated with work stress and job stress. It often involves the demands and pressures placed upon you by the organization, business or group for which you work. However, it also involves any organization with which you interact including the local government organizations, clubs, associations and more. SOURCE FOUR – PHYSIOLOGICAL STRESS A fourth source of stress is physiological stress. This relates to how your physiology, your body reacts and responds to stressful situations. It is often discussed as physical stress and in relation to the physical stress symptoms you exhibit. For example, take a moment and think of a time when you have felt fearfulness, nervousness or trepidation. Now remember some of your bodily reactions to that stressful situation. These responses by your body are aspects of your physiological response to stress. SOURCE FIVE – PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESS This fifth source of stress is psychological stress and involves the power of your own mind in how you think, rationalize and make meaning of your stress, hassles and worries. It is about how your brain, your psyche, your mind thinks about the stress in your life. It is often spoken of as emotional stress or mental stress and involves powerful feelings and emotions. SOURCE SIX – SIGNIFICANT EVENTS STRESS This sixth and final source of stress revolves around critical incidents and significant events in your life. It is often known as significant events stress. Now not all stress is bad and there are significant events that may occur in your life that result in positive stress. Examples of this could be your high school graduation, wedding or winning a sporting event. However, there are also significant events that involve negative stress. Often these are referred to as critical incidents in your life. These can involve a major single significant incident such as a serious accident, a physical or

sexual assault, etc. Such events involve a very high degree of stress and anxiety. They are often associated with continuing trauma after the event, often referred to as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). WHAT ARE YOUR OWN SOURCES OF STRESS? So when you are considering your own stress and how to develop effective stress management techniques, a very important place to start is to identify what is the origins and sources of that stress. Consider these six major sources of stress that we have identified here and ask yourself, where is my own stress coming from? FROM THE GLOBAL ORGANIZATION FOR STRESS This stress related information is brought to you by the Global Organization for Stress… Interested in more information about stress, stress management and stress relief? Then we invite you to sign up for free membership today and get a complimentary copy of our popular ’101 Ways to Less Stress’ Guide… Please Note: Stress can result in severe health related issues. This stress related information is provided as guidance only and should not be considered as a form of therapy or professional advice. If expert assistance is needed, a suitably competent health professional should be consulted in relation to your stress. More articles relating to stress.

Depression, Anxiety and Suicidal Thoughts Due to Acute or Chronic Stress- What to Do
By Tracy Latz

We do tend to see an increase in depression with financial strain, acute or chronic stress reactions (exposure to trauma or overwhelming stress), marital strain, loss (job, loved ones through death/moving/separation/ divorce), debilitating physical illness, hormonal imbalances (sexual hormones or thyroid hormones), time of year (seasonal depression – which we are now in the time of year where we see an increase in that as the length of daylight hours get shorter; anniversaries of traumatic dates), overuse of alcohol/ opiates/other illicit substances, or certain medications. Over the past year I have been asked the following questions by patients, colleagues, journalists and friends. I thought I would share them with you all in the hopes that it might be helpful to someone you know. Most of the questions have to do with stress due to economy and financial issues; however, the answers are applicable to many other acute stress reactions and chronic stressors as well. This is a hard topic for many to discuss due to feeling so alone. You are not alone.

Suicide and stress are intimately related. The stress-diathesis model is today the best framework to start to understand the complex mechanisms interacting throughout this relationship. The serotonin and stress systems are also closely related and, together with genetic mechanisms, constitute key biological underpinnings of suicide. Environmental factors interact with these gene and biochemical mechanisms in a lifelong process that may end up in suicidal ideation and behavior. Childhood adverse experiences and proximal life events have been shown to respectively predispose and trigger suicidality. Mental disorders are the strongest predictors for suicide. Although affective disorders and alcoholism are particularly linked to suicide, stress-related mechanisms may also play a role in other disorders. In particular, post-traumatic stress disorder is a well-defined stress syndrome potentially associated to suicide. It is therefore an interesting condition when trying to clarify the relationship between stress and suicide. Neuroimaging and physiological studies centered on suicidal behavior occurring in patients diagnosed of diverse pathological conditions are needed. A better understanding of the role of stress in such conditions will also be helpful to disentangle the biological basis of suicide and to develop more effective prevention strategies. This chapter will approach these concepts by reviewing the level of evidence of each element pertaining to the stress-diathesis model applied to suicide.

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