Stress and health psychology

• Source of stress
• Coping with stress
• How stress affects health
• Staying healthy
• Extreme stress
• Stress: A state of psychological tension or
• Health psychology: A subfield of
psychology concerned with the
relationship between psychological factors
and physical health and illness.
Sources of stress
• Stressor: Any environmental demand that
creats a state of tension or threat and
requires change or adaptation.
Sources of stress
• Change
• Everyday hassles
• Self-imposed stress
• Stress and individual differences
Everyday hassles
• Pressure: A feeling that one must speed
up, intensify, or change the direction of
one’s behavior or live up to a higher
standard of performance.
• Frustration: The feeling that occurs when a
person is prevented from reaching a goal.
Everyday hassles
• Conflict: Simultaneous existence of
incompatible demands, opportunities,
needs, or goals.

Types of conflict
• Approach/approach conflict
• Avoidance/avoidance conflict
• Approach/avoidance conflict

Approach/approach conflict
• Approach/approach conflict : According to
Lewin, the result of simultaneous attraction
to two appealing possibilities, neither of
which has any negative qualities.

Avoidance/avoidance conflict
• Avoidance/avoidance conflict: According
to Lewin, the result of facing a choice
between two undesirable possiblities,
neither of which has any positive qualities.
Approach/avoidance conflict
• Approach/avoidance conflict: According to
Lewin, the result of being simultaneously
attracted to and repelled by the same goal.
Coping with stress
• Direct coping
• Defensive coping
Direct coping
• Confrontation: Acknowledging a stressful
situation directly and attempting to find a
solution to the problem or to attain the
difficult goal.
Direct coping
• Compromise: deciding on a more realistic
solution or goal when an ideal solution or
goal is not practical.
• Withdrawal: Avoiding a situation when
other forms of coping are not practical.
Defensive coping

• Defense mechanisms: Self-deceptive
techniques for reducing stress, including
denial, repression, projection, identification,
regression, intellectualization, reaction
formation, displacement, and sublimation.
Defense mechanisms
• Denial: Refusal to acknowledge a painful
or threatening reality.
• Repression: Excluding uncomfortable
thoughts, feelings, and desires from
• Projection: Attributing one’s repressed
motives, feelings, or wishes to others.
Defense mechanisms
• Identification: Taking on the characteristics
of someone else to avoid feeling
• Regression: Reverting to childlike behavior
and defenses.
• Intellectualization: Thinking abstractly
about stressful problems as a way of
detaching oneself from them.
Defense mechanisms
• Reaction formation: Expression of exaggerated
ideas and emotions that are the opposite of
one’s repressed beliefs or feelings.
• Displacement: Shifting repressed motives and
emotions from an orginal object to a substitute
• Sublimation: Redirection repressed motives and
feelings into more socially acceptable channels.
Staying healthy
• Reduce stress
• Adopt a healthy lifestyle
Reduce stress
• Calm down
• Reach out
• Religion and altruism
• Learn to cope effectively
Adopt a healthy lifestyle
• Diet
• Exercise
• Quit smoking
• Avoid high risk behaviors
Extreme stress
• Unemployment
• Divorce and separation
• Bereavement
• Catastrophes
• Combat and other threatening personal
Posttraumatic stress
• Psychological disorder characterized by
episodes of anxiety, sleeplessness, and
nightmares resulting from some disturbing
past event.
The end