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Causes of Stress

A2: Health and Clinical Psychology
by

Rajiv Ariaraj

on 2 November 2015

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Transcript of Causes of Stress

Causes of
and supporting evidence
Hassles and life events
Lack of Control
What is
Stress?
A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.
Stress can be caused by things in the environment that we call
stressors
What stressors do you think could cause stress to someone? What in particular stresses you out?
What happens to you when you get stressed?
The stress response was designed for a time when you would need to get out of danger quickly.
Constant stress can lead to severe biological and psychological problems such as depression, hypertension and cancer.
Does everyone respond to stress in the same way?
Factors like:
Outlook on life
Personality
Age
Gender
Culture
Resources e.g. money
These individual differences make stress different for everyone.
We will be looking at how work causes stress
What jobs cause the most stress?
Johansson (1978)
Not Scarlett Johansson
GUNN
Investigated stress in 24 swedish sawmill workers
Two groups were created
High Risk Stress Group
14 workers who had a complex and pressured job.
They were responsible for the rate at which the finished objects were completed.
They were responsible for their own and others' wages.
Low Risk
Stress Group
10 workers that were cleaners or engineers
How can you measure stress?
Johansson measured stress using urine samples when they arrived at work and at 4 other points in the day.
Adrenaline levels in the urine were compared against that employee's stress levels taken while they at home (their baseline).
Body temperature and self-rating scales measuring sleepiness, well-being, "rush" and irritation were also taken.
What research method is this study?
A Quasi Experiment (different groups are naturally occurring)
What was the experimental design?
Independent measures design
Complete the summary and evaluation questions on page 3 of your pack.
Consolidate/ Half term homework afterwards
Work
Think of 5 things that cause you minor irritation.
Think of 5 things that could happen that would make your day.
Kanner et al (1981)
Called minor stressors in our environments "hassles" and minor good things that happen in our lives "uplifts".
Unlike Holmes and Rahe (1967) who proposed that life events like moving house, getting married and losing a job cause us stress, Kanner stated that it was the daily hassles in life that cause us the most stress.
"It's the little things that all add up"
Hassles and Uplifts
Hassles and uplifts can be measured through Kanner's hassles and uplifts scale, which required participants to score from 1 (somewhat severe) to 3 (extremely severe) how much each hassle and uplift effected them.
Examples of hassles
Losing things
Owing money
Transport problems
Examples of uplifts
Being lucky
Getting enough sleep
Gossiping
Life Events

Life events are much less common but bigger deals in our lives. They require a lot of readjustment and in many cases permanently change our lives. They can be measured on Berkman Life Events Scale, where you get a score for each life event that happens to you.
Examples of life events (and their scores)
Pregnancy (38)
Personal injury (44)
Trouble with boss (31)
Going back to school (25)
Death of a spouse (73)
How does this relate to
Stress?
Both life events and daily hassles should contribute to our stress levels.
In the Kanner study, stress was measured in two ways:
Hopkins Symptom Checklist (HSCL)
Bradburn Morality Scale
A widely used self report scale designed to assess depression and anxiety.
A scale designed to measure morale and happiness.
These people would score highly on Bradburn' s morality scale.
Kanner et al (1981)
Aim
To compare the hassles and uplifts scale and the Berkman Life Events Scale as predictors of symptoms of stress.
Sample
100 adults from California.
White
Protestant
Average or above average income.
At least 9th grade level educated.
All had previously completed a health survey in 1965.
Procedure
Participants were sent various self report scales once a month. They were told to complete:
The hassles and uplifts scale
once a month for 9 months. (To measure hassles and uplifts)

The life events scale
for 10 months. (To measure life events)

The Hopkins Symptom Checklist
(HSCL) and
the Bradburn Morale Scale
. (To measure stress)
Results
(There are more results than this but this is the most important result)
Negative psychological symptoms of stress
Number reported...
Life events
Hassles
There was a stronger positive correlation found between hassles and negative psychological symptoms than life events.
Conclusion
Hassles are a more powerful predictor of psychological symptoms than life events.
They contribute to our stress regardless of big life events.
Why do you think this is?
Evaluation
What was the design of the study?
Repeated measures.
Summarise the study from your textbook (there are more details in there) and answer the evaluation question on page 6
What stresses you out more?
Being in control of a stressful situation
or
Having no control over a stressful situation?
Playing football
Watching football
or
knowing a stressful situation is about to happen?
Brady (1958)
Investigated this question by carrying out research on monkeys.
Monkeys were put in pairs. They were then placed in individual booths.
Both were then administered electric shocks to their feet.
However, one monkey had access to a lever that would stop the electric current for 20 seconds, while the other was powerless.
Results
Brady found that the monkeys who had the control of the lever (and therefore control of the pain of all the other monkeys) had higher levels of psychological stress.
The 'executive monkeys' as he called them died of duodenal ulcers.
According to Brady, being in control of a stressful situation is worse then not being in control.
When this monkey pushed the lever the shock would cease for both monkeys. (The controls of the lever were
YOLKED
to the other monkey.)
Geer and Maisel (1972)
Conducted a similar study on human's to judge whether they also would find being in control stressful.
Read and summarise the study on page 98/99 of your textbook.
Answer the evaluation questions on pages 7 and 8 of your pack.
Conclusion
Participants in group 1 (who had control and predictability) were the least stressed.
Group 2 (the predictability group with no control) were the most stressed out of all the groups.
Sometimes when you know stress is coming, it is the most stressful. Can you think of an example of this?
Group 3 (no control/ predictability) were more stressed than the group 1 who had control, but were less stressed than group 2. Sometimes when you are taken by surprise by stress, you can manage it better.
What stresses you out?
Lack of control means not having the
power
to control a situation.
Feelings of powerlessness if someone is unable to stop negative impacts in their life (e.g. life events like job loss)
Not being able to escape an unpleasant situation can be very stressful as demonstrated in studies such as Geer and Maisel.
Can you think of real world situations where someone would get stressed due to lack of control?
Cutbacks at work
(being fired)
Natural disasters
No say over working conditions, deadlines or amount of work
unpredictable or dangerous people
Not having direct say over laws that could affect you
War zones
Participants were shown unpleasant stimuli
(photographs of dead car crash victims)
Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Predictability
Predictability
Control
Control
Yolked
Predictability
Control
Control = being able to stop the images
Predictability = hearing a tone before the image appears
Stress measured through galvanic skin response
Write down one thing that causes you stress.
What causes people to feel stressed?

Is it due to the individual?
Are someone people just more stressed than others?
Is it due to the situation?
Are some situations more stressful than others?
Do you know someone who is either constantly stressed or is always cool under pressure?
Think of something stressful
Can you choose to not get stressed?

Freewill
Do you have no control over your stress?
Determinism
List at least 3 big life events that might happen to you in the next 10 years
What is more stressful?
Lots of daily hassles or big life events?
How could psychologists measure these?
Full transcript