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Mind over Stress

HP 8001


Lecture 2


(1) Sources of Stress
(2) How is Stress Measured
(3) Physiology of Stress
(4) Effects of Stress
(5) Relationship between Stress &
(7) Readings


•Taking care of children
•Juggling between work & family
•Household chores
•Financial difficulties •conflicts
•Multiple responsibilities
•Aging parents
Family Relationships
• Violence and abuse
•Physically illness/ disability
• Vices
•Sexual difficulties

A source of stress as well as buffer against

•Office politics •Numerous Deadlines •Inadequate rewards •Lack of control/ authority •Manpower shortages •Too many meetings •Red tape OCCUPATIONAL STRESSORS •Boredom & monotony •Demanding customers •No work-life balance •Unreasonable boss •Conflict with colleagues •Technostress •Changes from bosses without consultation •Poor Management style .

•Pollution •crime •Lack of amenities / facilities •Discrimination COMMUNITY STRESSORS •Conflicts in attitudes Neighbours .

muscle tension • Increase feelings of irritation. use ear plugs • However. increase heart rate.• Noise – nonxious. unwanted & intrudes into a person’s environment • Subjective in experience (noise vs music) • Habituation occurs • Raise blood pressure. construct sound proof space. anxiety & impatience • People deal with noise by avoiding the source. “white noises” are used during relaxation therapy – to drown out sounds that interfere with relaxation .

• Crowding – a psychological condition (sense of space. infant mortality but decreases in social integration • Living in crowded areas increase feelings of stress. aggression. withdraw from social interaction • May counteract with increasing sense of personal control . confinement) • Difference between density and crowding • Depended on personal perception • Expt on rats living in crowded conditions showed changes in social & sexual behaviour – increase in territoriality. more reports of physical symptoms.

• Violence –related to crime in the community or at home • Well established stressor with developmental consequences • Threat of violence and fear of crime • Media reports highlighted/exaggerated levels of threat • Increase withdrawal from communities. distrust. suspicious • People with heightened fear tend to have poor health . alienation.

identity fraud issues • Reduced family time • New mode of social interaction • Fast pace of lifestyle and learning – keep up with technology changes . communication.g.• Technostress • Changing technology • IT changes. facebook) & online purchases. social media • Increase speed – “remote-controlled 24/7 society” • Information overload . internet info.emails. blogs etc • Blurred boundaries & expectations – personal time vs work time – issue of 24/7 accessibility • Privacy – social media (e. advertisements.


Serenity Prayer . Wisdom to know the difference.By Reinhold Niebuhr .Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Courage to change the things I can.

stress can be measured in 4 ways (i) Self-reports (ii) Performance Measures (iii) Physiological Measures (iv) Biochemical Measures .(2) Measurement of Stress In general.

Life Events Scale: Social Readjustment and Rating Scale • 43 life events • Measure the amount of change required to readjust to event • Check the events experienced in the past 6/12mths • Add up total score – higher score related to greater reports of illness • Advantages: Simple to use.(2) Measurement of Stress (i) Self-reports • Based on stimulus definition & incorporates the transactional view of stress • E. assume change is similar for different individuals. relationship with illness tended to be weak statistically .g. seems promising • Disadvantages: life events not good representation. include positive & negative events. events lacked specificity.

examine individual experiences • Disadvantages: similar to SRRS .(2) Measurement of Stress (i) Self-reports • Daily Hassles Scale by Lazarus and colleagues • Experiences and conditions of daily living that have been appraised as salient and threatening to well-being • Minor but frequently occurred events have cumulative impact on health outcome • Scale consists of 117 hassles • Participants to check hassles experienced recently rate “how severe/frequent” • Results showed everyday hassles have an impact on reports of illness • Also consist of a separate Uplifts Scale – no relationship with reports of illness • Advantages: Examine more common stressors.

uncontrollable. shorter version 4 items. how often have you felt confident about your ability to handle your personal problems? • In the last month. and overloaded individuals find in their lives • 10 items used for community. how often have you felt that you were unable to control the important things in your life? • In the last month. changes in coping etc. using 5-point scale • 0 = Never 1 = Almost Never 2 = Sometimes 3 = Fairly Often 4 = Very Often • Responses may vary depending on life events. how often have you felt that things were going your way? • In the last month. recognises stress as dynamic . It is a measure of the degree to which situations in one’s life are appraised as stressful • taps how unpredictable. how often have you felt difficulties were piling up so high that you could not overcome them? • Advantages: Taps into individual’s perception of stress.(2) Measurement of Stress (i) Self-reports • Perceived Stress Scale by Cohen • measures the perception of stress. it may not be reliable after 4-8 weeks • 4 items • In the last month.

g. mistakes made. • Stress affects motivation.(2) Measurement of Stress (ii) Performance Measures • Based on participants’ performance on work tasks –e. concentration that in turn affects person’s performance • Advantages: more objective reports. measure only one aspect of stress . performance measures based on stress theories • Disadvantages: can vary between tasks. number of pieces of work completed.

respiration rate or skin’s resistance to electrical current (galvanic skin response) • Advantages: objective & direct measurement. quantifiable • Disadvantages: tended to be confined to laboratory based measurement.(2) Measurement of Stress (iii) Physiological Measure • Measures arousal of sympathetic nervous system • Change in heart rate (HR). individual physiological responses made results interpretation difficult . theoretically sound – “fight-or-flight” response. requires sophisticated machines. requires accurate calibration. blood pressure (BP).

requires accurate calibration. quantifiable • Disadvantages: confined to laboratory based measurement. exercise etc) . response can be influenced by other factors (diet. theoretically sound – “fight-or-flight” response. requires sophisticated machines. individual physiological responses made results interpretation difficult.(2) Measurement of Stress (iv) Biochemical Measurement • Stress impacts on the endocrine system • Secretion of stress hormones corticosteriods and adrenaline – detected in blood or urine • Advantages: objective & direct measurement.

(3) Physiology of Stress • Understand how stress changes the body’s physiology • Complex and not completely understood • Relates to stress and diseases • Individual differences (physiological responses. genetic constitution) result in varying degrees of vulnerabilities • Focus on 3 systems • Autonomic Nervous System • Endocrine System • Immune System .

(3) Physiology of Stress Autonomic Nervous System The Nervous System Central Nervous Sys Peripheral Nervous Sys Brain and Spinal Cord Connect the CNS to internal organs Autonomic Nervous Sys Somatic Nervous Sys Regulates internal Sensory input & control of organs voluntary muscles Sympathetic Nervous Sys Parasympathetic Nervous Sys Arouses body to action Restores functions in body .

The Human Brain .

increased perspiration. blood pressure. Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) • Responsive to stimuli. activated and is results in emotional states and physical arousal • When activated. increased digestion. reduce pain perception etc . fight-flight response • Increased heart rate. instigates the response through endocrine system (release of hormones) to support the stress reaction.

Parasympathetic Nervous System • “housekeeper”. stabilising and responsible for maintaining equilibrium and calming the bodily responses • Promotes growth and energy storage .

(3) Physiology of Stress .

the adrenal glands releases catecholamines.(3) Physiology of Stress The Endocrine System • Works closely with the ANS by releasing hormones into the blood • Effect is slower but longer lasting • Adrenal glands located top of kidney played a key role in stress • When stimulated by the SNS. epinephrines (adrenaline) and norepinephrine into blood stream. These hormones respond quickly within seconds • This supports the body fight-flight response • Sympathoadreno-medullary (SAM) system .

• Corticosteroids step up the release of energy (glucose) in the blood to support heightened arousal & suppress inflammation that might result from injury/infection • Corticosteroids are slower-acting • Corticosteroids inhibit the immune response . • CRF acts on the pitutary gland to produce adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) which in turn produces corticosteroids.(3) Physiology of Stress Endocrine System • Hypothalamus. pituary gland and adrenal cortex – hypothalamic- pituatary-adrenocortical (HPAC) system • Activated by messages from the CNS to the hypothalamus. a corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) is secreted.

(3) Physiology of Stress Immune System • Defends from external “invaders” (bacteria & viruses) or antigens • White blood cells made up of phagocytes (macrophages) & 2 types of lymphocytes (T cells & B cells) • Macrophages act non-specifically by surrounding and engulfing antigens • Helper T cells are called upon to “identify” the antigens • Increase production of killer T cells and B cells • Killer T cells kills the antigen directly • B cells produces antibodies to neutralise the antigens .

students’ saliva were collected to test for amt of Immunoglobulin A (IgA) at several pts just before examinations. autoimmune diseases . et.(3) Physiology of Stress Immune System • Stress has a general effect of suppressing the immune system • It also appears to lead to a reduction of the thymus gland that is responsible for the production of T cells • In an expt (Jemmott. 1983). allergies. Lower levels of IgA were reported to be lowest during the exams period – resulting in more susceptible to upper respiratory tract infections • Immune system disorders –


PHYSICAL CONSEQUENCES OF STRESS Headaches Insomnia Dizzy spells Difficulty breathing Fatigue Sweaty palms Erratic heart beat Appetite Change Muscle tension and aches Libido changes .

crying Irritability Restless Feel overwhelmed Anxiety/ Worry Depressed/Moody Angry outbursts Feel insecure Tensed Feel hopeless . EMOTIONAL CONSEQUENCES OF STRESS Breaking down.

MENTAL CONSEQUENCES OF STRESS Difficulties making simple decisions Inability to concentrate Loss of Undue tiredness self-confidence Difficulty making rational judgments Memory lapses Undue feeling of being under pressure Nightmares .

BEHAVIOURAL CONSEQUENCES OF STRESS Obsessive-compulsive behaviour Nail biting / hair pulling Increased smoking / drinking Social withdrawal Reckless driving Neglecting looks or hygiene Non-stop talking Workaholism / absenteeism Decrease in work performance .

INTER-PERSONAL CONSEQUENCES OF STRESS Increased conflict Withdrawal within relationships Lose interest in Alienation daily activities .


(5) Relationship between Stress & Illnesses • Complex functions on health outcomes • Possibly through physiological means: • (1) Wear and tear: SNS activation associated with stress related to development of high blood pressure.. smoking habits • High stress workers drink more coffee and smoke more (Conway and colleagues. heart diseases etc • (2) reduce immune system functioning – stress is associated with infectious diseases. exercise. rapid growth of certain types of cancer • Possibly through behaviours • (i) Practice of less favourable health behaviour • Change of eating. . drinking. 1981) • Ignore health symptoms due to mental effort to focus on the stressful task esp for task-oriented persons • However….

biochemical imbalances.(5) Relationship between Stress & Illnesses • (ii) Person becoming more sensitive to symptoms & engage in positive health behaviours • When under stress. lifestyle practices. behaviours of stress coping . may perceive health in more negative terms and seek help more readily • But why does stress affect some people more than others? • Some individuals may be more vulnerable due to genetic.

sadness.g. experience of hostility/anger play a part Hypertension • Physiological & behavioural risk factors • Emotional stress and tensed lifestyle associated with hypertension • Similar to heart diseases. serum cholesterol increases risk . Men more reactive than women • Lifestyle practices (e. exercises). poor diet. frustration) trigger attacks & slows down recovery • Serum cholesterol increased during stress – block the blood vessels • Physiological reactivity to stress associated with heart attack. (5) Relationship between Stress & Illnesses Cardiovascular diseases • Physiological & behavioural risk factors • Stress triggers heart attack (e. Type A. lack of social support.g. high stress jobs) • Negative feelings (anger.

diet.g.(5) Relationship between Stress & Illnesses Headaches • common but can be chronic (e. migraine). relationship problems • Reduced immune functioning . being bullied. prolong the duration & increase pain sensitivity Peptic Ulcers • Lifestyle practices (smoking. poor diet practices) • Emotional states influenced secretion of gastric juices which erodes the walls of the stomach or small intestines Asthma • Emotional factors can cause an asthma attack (poor living conditions. may also signal serious medical conditions • Stress as precipitating factor – usually daily hassles • Stress increase frequency.

sensitivity to pain.(5) Relationship between Stress & Illnesses Rheumatoid Arthritis • Inflammation of joints – painful & physically/psychological limiting • An autoimmune response/disorder • Stress made arthritis worse by increasing in attacks. reduce coping efforts .

g. pessimism. internal conflicts & psychological pain/losses • Depression is usually evident . negativity) • Depression is commonly associated with stress • Negative thinking patterns / unrealistic expectations of self and others • May be genetic • Suicide • External stressors.(5) Relationship between Stress & Illnesses • Stress plays a role in mental disorders • Mood states influence by the experience of stress may lead to certain perceptions of events (e.

(5) Relationship between Stress & Illnesses • Anxiety Disorders • Fears. further attacks are triggered by stressful events • Severe form – post-traumatic stress disorders . panic and phobias • Precipitated by stressful experiences.

Transactional model of stress Primary Secondary Event Appraisal Appraisal Reappraisal / feedback Coping Stress Emotional & physical arousal Stress and the Appraisal Process .

org/news/press/releases/stress/ 2014/ healthy/understanding-the-stress-response • Additional resource • Stress in America. Paying with our Health • http://www.apa.pdf .Readings • Understanding the stress response •