PSYC 314 CHAPTER 4

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STRESS MODERATORS
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psychological and social factors that modify the impact of stress on the environment
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social support
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comfort, caring, esteem, help available from other persons of groups – your perception that help is available
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types of social support
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1. emotional or esteem support – give comfort and sense of belonging and love 2. tangible or instrumental support – direct assistance or money 3. information support – advice, suggestions, feedback 4. companionship support – spending time with a person, membership in a group Serious conditions – best to get emotional and esteem support to help with stress
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factors related to recipients of support
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people wont get support if they are unsociable, dont help others or dont ask for help social support declines with age – lose support when you lose a spouse or do not want to ask because they cannot reciprocate size, frequency of contact in social network, intimacy
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factors related to providers of support
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cannot provide support if they do not have resources, are under strress themselves or they are insensitive
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Social support questionnaire
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list people you can reply on and your satisfaction withe the support available some people have high satisfaction with small # of people
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gender and socio-cultural differences in support
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women: receive less support from their spouses than men do – rely more on other women for emotional support women respond to stress with greater attention to personal relationships immigrants – smaller social networks; use it less than natives larger city – immigrants less likely to join community organizations or spend time with friends
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effect of social support on psychological distress
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Social support may reduce the stress that people experience – Less job stress with more social support at work – Improved psychological wellbeing defensive people -show high reactivity when supportive people are around hostile people – show greater reactivity during stressful activities when accompanied by friends because of mistrust or fear of being viewed negatively
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effects of social support on physiological neuroendocrine response
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– Positive interactions reduce cortisol levels – Social support = larger nighttime decreases in blood pressure – less cardiovascular reactivity when a supportive person is present during public presentations (unless it increases your feelings of inadequacy) – reactivity lower with friends than strangers – reactivity is lower with a pet
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effects of social support on illness
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more social support = less likely to die during 9 year prospective study less connections = higher mortality rate more connections = lower risk of CVD chronic loneliness predicts mortality rate people with social support recover from illness more quickly (CVD)
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effects of social support on health
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influences some people’s health strongly or weakly people who think they can cope with the emotional demands of a disease do not require social support or benefit from it as much
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buffering hypothesis
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social support affects health by protecting the person against the negative effects of high stress – Protective only mainly when the person encounters a strong stressor – Ex. In times of financial stress, people with high levels of social support are less likely to appraise the situation as stressful than those with lower levels of support – expect that someone who knows them will help – Social support may modify the persons response to the stressor after the initial appraisal – someone may cheer them up after
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Direct effect hypothesis
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social support benefits health and well being no matter how much stress the person is under – beneficial in high or low stress – People with high levels of social support have high feelings of belongingness = positive outlook is beneficial to health independently of stress – High levels of support encourage people to live healthy lifestyles
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stress prevention model
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social support provides advice or resources that help us avoid or minimize exposure to stressful events and circumstances Ex. Supportive friends and family help us make good choices about how to avoid interpersonal conflicts
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Explain why social support does not always reduce stress and benefit health
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– if support is not perceived as helpful, or is of the wrong kind, we do not want it – receiving support can convey the message that you are inadequate, lowering your self esteem – perceived support is a better predictor of health than actual support received invisible support can be best – person is unaware of receiving it so they do not feel incompetant
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marriage as social support
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– only protects if marriage quality is high – protects men more than women – single people have higher BP than married people EXCEPT when marriage is unhappy – people in marriages need frequent contact
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when can support hurt
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1. when there is strain in the relationship 2. people with high stress and a lot of social contact more likely to catch bugs 3. peers encourage unhealthy behaviour
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relationship of personal control to stress
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Personal control – the feeling that people can make decisions and take effective action to produce desireable outcomes and avoid undesireable ones – Strong sense of personal control = less strain from stressors
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internal locus of control
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people who believe they have control over their successes and failures – they believe they are responsible
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external locus of control
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people believe their lives are controlled by forces from outside themselves
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sense of self-efficacy
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the belief that we can succeed at a specific activity that we want to do
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people decide whether to attempt an activity based on two expectancies
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outcome expectancy self efficacy expectancy
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outcome expectancy
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people believe their behaviour if properly done will lead to a favorable outcome
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self-efficacy expectancy
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people expect they can perform the behaviour people with strong self-efficacy for an activity will feel less threatened and exert less mental effort because they know they can manage the demands of a situation
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behavioural control vs cognitive control
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Behavioural control – ability to take concrete action to reduce impact of the stressor Cognitive control – ability to use thought processes or strategies to modify the impact of a stressor such as thinking of the event differently or focusing on a positive or neutral thought; very effective in reducing stress

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