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Psychological Approach to Stress Management

AS Level Psychology - Stress Management

Farhanaz Duymun

on 26 February 2013

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Transcript of Psychological Approach to Stress Management

Psychological Approach to
Stress Management By
Abbey Lamb
Charlotte Sams
Farhanaz Duymun Stress Inoculation Training
(SIT) Hardiness What Is It? Research Pros and Cons Research Pros and Cons What Is It? Drugs - Benzodiazepines (BZs) Research Drugs - Beta Blockers Drugs and Biofeedback What are they?
BZs such as Librium and Valium are the most prescribed drugs for psychological disorders and can be very effective against stress.
What do they do?
They reduce central (brain) arousal.
How do they do it?
They enhance action of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a natural brain chemical which tells neurons to slow down 940% neurons in the brain respond to it).
They react with and bind to GABA-receptors on the outside of the receiving neuron. Negatively charged chloride ions (which make the neuron less responsive to other neurotransmitters that excite it) then pass to the inside of the neuron.
What are they?
Beta-Blockers such as Inderal can be very effective against symptoms of stress such as raised heart rate and blood pressure.
What do they do?
They directly reduce activity in pathways of the sympathetic nervous system.
How do they do it?
They reduce the activity of nor/adrenaline, which stimulate beta-adrenergic receptors in the body (heart, brain, blood vessels etc). The Beta-Blocker drug binds to the receptors and stops them from being stimulated.
Stress inoculation training works with both long term and short term stressors.
Sheehy and Horan (2004) gave first year law student’s weekly SIT sessions, lasting for 90 minutes each. They aimed to reduce stress and anxiety in order to increase academic performance.After 4 weeks all students had reduced stress and anxiety and many had increased academic performance. Advantages
Targets both causes and effects of stress.
Combination of cognitive therapy, cognitive strategies and behavioural therapy. Hardiness is about learning to control how we react to the challenges we face in a more flexible, confident and less destructive way.
Those with a stress hardy personality hold 3 main traits:-•Commitment
Stress hardy people have a natural advantage than those of us who do not have these personality traits.
However research is suggesting that those of us who do not naturally have the stress hardy personality traits can actually learn them, with time and practice and can increase hardiness.
This lead to the idea that increasing hardiness can help with stress by hardiness training. Kobasa 1977
There are 3 steps to this training:-
•Focusing – this is where clients are encouraged to identify signs of stress. This can include muscle tension, increase of heart rate and anxiety. This helps them recognise stressful situations and find out the causes of their stress.
•Relieving stressful encounters – this is where clients analyse stressful situations and figure out how they were resolved. It makes think about the different directions the situation could have gone if they were handled differently, good or bad.
•Self Improvement – this helps the client face the stressors that they can cope with and once they have control over that situation and personal control over others then they can move onto more complex problems. Advantages

Hedblad et al (2001) found that regular, low doses of a Beta-Blocker drug significantly slowed the rate of progression of atherosclerosis (clogging of arteries from stress).
Hidalgo et al (2001) [meta-analysis on the treatment of social anxiety] found BZs to be more effective than other drugs such as anti-depressants.
Gelpin et al (1996) [study of trauma survivors] found that although BZs have beneficial short term effects in alleviating distress following trauma, they do not prevent the onset of post-traumatic stress disorder Pros and Cons of Drugs Advantages
Speed and effectiveness; work quickly, rapidly reducing dangerous symptoms.
Research support
Availability; can be prescribed immediately, with treatment range availability increasing rapidly.
Dependency & withdrawal symptoms (on Bzs, much less on B-Bs)
Tolerance; drugs have progressively less effect
Side effects; BZs: drowsiness, affect episodic memory. B-Bs: fatigue, cold extremities, narrow airways of asthma sufferers
Only treat symptoms, not causes Biofeeback What is it?
The recording of the activity of the physiological systems of the body’s stress response.
How is it done?
Records are made via electrodes on the skin that lead to a monitor held by the patient.
What does it do?
Patients are encouraged to try various strategies to reduce the physiological readings (muscle relaxation, posture alteration) Research Attanasio et al (1985) show it is very successful on some individuals, especially children (due to increased enthusiasm, less scepticism).
Masters et al (1987) found Biofeedback to be no more effective than muscle relaxation procedures without Biofeedback.
Pros and Cons Advantages
Effective Disadvantages
Role of Relaxation; feedback on symptoms such as blood pressure is not a vital part of the procedure, but training in relaxation techniques is.
Expensive and Time Consuming Meichenbaums Stress Inoculation Training involves preparation so that you can deal with stress before it becomes a problem. It is comprised of three steps;
Conceptualisation: Identifying fears and concerns with a therapist.Skill acquisition and rehearsal: Training to develop skills such a positive thinking and relaxation.Application and follow through: practice skills in real life situations. Disadvantages
Takes time, application and money. Clients have to go through a rigorous programme over a long period of timeIt is difficult to change well established habits. Disadvantages
Lengthy process
Requires commitment and motivation changing personality and learned habits of coping is difficult to modify.
Kobasa's studies cannot be generalized as her sample involve white, middle class businessmen.
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