By the end of this module, the student shall be able to satisfy the following outcomes expectations:
Identify stressors in your own life, as well as those that might be occurring in the life of others in your personal and professional spheres.
Apply knowledge about the effects of stress and the benefits of good stress management that you have gained in this course to an educational program designed for a target audience in the health care professions.
Discuss and analyze the role of internal and external factors in stress and distinguish between primary and secondary appraisal of stress.
This course introduces you the reaction that is generally referred to as stress (and the stressors that engender it). Stress is an interesting and complex phenomenon:
A daily experience for all people
A subjective experience (varying from person to person)
Influenced to some extent by external factors such as the social and physical environment.
Influenced by cultural factors.
This is the background module for this course.? In this module, we are going to accomplish seven learning objectives. We will overview the topic by defining stress and stressors and discussing the types of and influences on the experience of stress.
This module has a case assignment.? The assignment will require you to use the course background materials, search the Internet, or the Cyber Library.?You will also begin planning your Session Long Project during this module.
?To access articles in the Library for this class and others, please follow these steps:
1. Login to CourseNet at https://coursenet.trident.edu/
2. On the navigation pane on the left, under Resources, select Library Portal.
3. That will take you to the Touro College Library database.
If you know which database the publication you are looking for is in, select that specific database to search. Once you are in the database, type or paste the name of the article into the box and click search.
If you are unsure of which database the publication is in, try Proquest first, then Ebsco.
What is Stress?
Stress:? Is the REACTION we experience when we encounter any event, situation or person that threatens or is perceived as a threat to our own well-being.
The event, situation or person that elicits the stress reaction is referred to as a STRESSOR.
Whether or not an event, situation or person is experienced as a stressor depends on many complex factors.? If you have been taking years of acting or public speaking lessons, or are a natural-born “ham,” a five-minute oral presentation will not phase you or perhaps will even present an opportunity for skill-building or enjoyment. If you have always been a little shy and retiring, or if your promotion or admission to a competitive academic program depends on your performance, you may experience some degree of stress.
For this reason, please keep in mind that the effects of stress depend upon:
? The individual’s appraisal of the event, person or situation. To some people, a multiple-choice exam is a life or death crisis; to others it is an enjoyable challenge. Stress is subjective – to some degree it lies in the eye of the beholder.
? The intensity (degree to which the stressor provokes anxiety) of the stress-inducing occurrence. Where you in a minor fender-bender or a near-fatal rollover accident??
? The duration of the stressor (is it acute or chronic?) When you lose your job, are you briefly unemployed or do months pass before you even get a job interview?
HelpGuide.org (2010).?Understanding stress – signs, symptoms, causes and effects.?Retrieved?from?http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_signs.htm
As mentioned previously, how we think about a stressor dictates to some degree how strong a stress reaction we experience. This is referred to as our appraisal of the stressor.?
There are two stages to the process of appraising a stressor:
?Primary appraisal: our initial assessment of whether an event, person or situation is?(1) irrelevant or not terribly important to you, (2) relevant, but essentially benign, or (3) potentially threatening.
Secondary appraisal occurs if we decide that the event is significantly threatening and therefore stressful. It is our evaluation of our own resources for managing the stressor and our stress reaction.
Stress and culture: What is stressful partly depends on how your “worldview” – which is influenced by culture. A good example of this would be the experience of standing in line. Americans tend to be “individualistic” and often feel that they are entitled to service quickly; they feel angry or hassled by long lines.? Persons born in or acclimated to Asian and African cultures, which tend to be more collectivistic, tend to be more patient and therefore do not typically experience this as such a major hassle.
In both highly developed and developing nations, cultural change, such as increased modernization, rapid technological innovation, and the growth of cities, causes quite a bit of stress.?
Natural and man-made disasters (war and terrorism) cause mass stress reactions in different regions of the world on a regular basis. See this link:
National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.ptsd.va.gov/
THE ROLE OF FRUSTRATION and/or CONFLICT IN STRESS REACTIONS
Frustration refers to a reaction we experience when we are prevented or?experience significant delay in achieving a desired goal or outcome. Some common causes of frustration are:
Failure (talk to any teenager who didn’t pass the driver’s test)
Loss (how do you feel when someone very appealing breaks a date with you?)
Environmental problems that cause discomfort (given that comfort is usually a desired goal for people) – noise, heat, crowding. These are called ambient stressors.
? ????Conflict refers to either of the following:?
An event/situation that presents two or more incompatible or competing choices to us. (internal or intrapersonal conflict.)
Disparity between our desires and goals and those of a person or people who are important to us (external, interpersonal or social conflict.)??????
Conflict is a common unavoidable aspect of everyday life.?
There are three basic types of intrapersonal conflicts:
a.??Approach-approach conflict occurs when a choice must be made between two (or more) appealing goals (you have more than one attractive person interested in dating you.)
b.??Avoidance-avoidance conflict occurs when a choice must be made between two unattractive goals (you must take either physics or calculus to complete your degree and you can’t stand either one of them.)
c.??Approach-avoidance conflict occurs when a choice must be made about whether to pursue a single goal that has both attractive and unattractive aspects (you have moved back into your parents’ home. You like the low rent they charge you but you can’t stand having them in your business all the time.)
All of the above types of conflict cause us to waver or vacillate as we struggle to reach a decision, and this indecision can be very stressful.? Research suggests we should focus more on decreasing avoidance motivation rather than on increasing approach motivation
TIME TO FACE THE STRANGE CHANGES
The idea that change causes stress was proposed by Hans Seyle (see Module 2). Much research has been done to try to test this hypothesis, with mixed results. The case assignment for this module provides a chance for you to evaluate both your own change-related stress and form an educated opinion on this matter. Here is a link to one of the many popular life change stress scales. Note the sales related nature of this website…
Scott, E.?(2010). Live Your Life Well – Stress Quiz, Retrieved from http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/llw/stressquiz.html
Pressure involves a demand that we behave in certain ways -that we conform (meet external social standards, like the pressure to be popular in high school) or perform (meet competitive standards, like the pressure to get good grades in that environment.) Perhaps because researchers are too busy conforming and performing, pressure as a construct has not been thoroughly investigated.
STRESS and Emotions:?
Stressful events can evoke a wide and complex array of emotions. The emotions often depend on the nature of the event:
a.??Frustration tends to lead to annoyance, anger, and rage?
b.??Apprehension, anxiety, and fear are the most common??? emotions that accompany stress
c.??Dejection, sadness, and grief may accompany a loss
d.??A feeling of confidence and satisfaction can be elicit when stressful events are handled with flexibility and creativity and are mastered.
What are the common effects of stress-induced emotional arousal?
a.??Impaired performance (test anxiety)
b.??The inverted-U hypothesis proposes that tasks and people experience “optimum levels” of stress.
1)?? Performance improves with increase arousal up to a point, at which greater arousal results in deterioration in performance
2)?? Level of arousal at which performance peaks is called the optimal level of arousal – the level of arousal need to match the task at hand. To get up and go to a regular everyday class may require little arousal from most people, but if you have a test to take, you should be a little more “on edge” – it is part of what motivates you to study and work hard.
One hypothesis about some of the affective disorders (depression and phobias) is that the level of arousal is not appropriate for daily life … depressed persons have too little, and anxious/phobic people have too much.
?1. Write?2 properly phrased SMART behavioral objectives, relevant to your personal life,?that you personally plan to achieve upon completion of this course. Two should be relevant to your professional life and one should be relevant to your personal life.
2. Write?1 properly phrased SMART behavioral objective, relevant to your professional life, that you personally plan to achieve upon completion of this course.
3. Write?2?properly phrased SMART learning objectives, relevant to your personal life,?that you personally hope to achieve by the end of this course.
4. Write 1 properly phrased SMART?learning objective, relevant to your professional life, that you personally plan to achieve upon completion of this course.
The following items will be assessed in particular:
1) Your ability to identify?stressors in your daily life. Keep in mind your ultimate?goal of learning to handle these more effectively.?
2) Make sure the objectives pertain to you and behaviors you can directly change and not to others in your life (except in an indirect sense).
3) Most importantly, your ability to write properly phrased SMART objectives will be assessed. Review the following required readings before writing your objectives.
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