Factors Influencing Reactions to Stress

As we know man does not only do one reaction but different reactions towards the stress. In other words, there is individual differences in the reactions that are done towards the stress. Psychologists have tried to understand the causes of this individual difference. According to their consideration following factors are such as by which reactions are influenced.
1. Prior Experience—When man feels the prior experience of facing stressful events, generally it has been seen their reactions which have been done towards the stress are serious. For example- if the posting of any officer is in a terrorist village, he will react less stressful in comparison of that police officer, who is sent in that village for the first time.

2. Social Support—The man who gets more social support from his family, friends and neighbors his reaction towards the stress is less serious. Which type of shortcoming comes in the seriousness of these reactions it is not clear but Heller, Swindle and Dusenbury, 1986 have claimed when a man talks to other about his stress and gets their advices, and he gets the true words of their help, the seriousness of the reactions that is done towards the stress is reduced.

The man, who gets social support sufficiently, the reaction he does towards the stress or negative problems of life, as- anxiety, depression and health problems are reduced in them. As- dew, Ragni and Nimorwicz have found in their study that the quantity of stress, anxiety, depression and hopelessness is found less in the man who is affected by AIDS in that situation, when he got the social support sufficiently.

In the same way Kendall-Tackett, 1993 found in his study that the children who were sexually weak, when they got the support of their mother in that situation their reactions towards the stress were not much seriously. This aspect of social support when a man is in stress he shares his feelings to other and becomes unburdened. the practical study of it has been done deeply. Penne baker and Bell has signified this factor in their famous study. This study had been done on the colleges; there were two groups of students. A group of students has to describe the traumatic events of each day continue for four nights in written within 15 minutes. There is another group of students for comparison; they had to write about unimportant subjects given by user. It was seen when the students were writing about the death of his family member specially the traumatic events of life, the tendency of sadness and depression was found swiftly in them, and their blood pressure was high. It was found after six months that the students who had told their negative feelings with other, they were not only feeling less stress but also their reactions towards the stress were not very serious.

3. Predictability and Control—Man’s reaction towards the stress is also affected by the capability of predictability and controlling of stress. If the situation is such about which prediction can be done previously, the seriousness of reaction, which is done towards the stress, is less. In the same way when a man finds that he can control over the situation, the seriousness of the reaction, which is done towards the stress, is less. Epstein and Roupenian, 1970 have done a study in which three users took part. Three groups had to count the frequency of the sound specially that produced from there. After completing the counting of ten times, one group of users had given electric shock at 95% times. 50% times to the second and at the 5% to the third group. It is identified that the predictability of the third group of the electric shock was least because there was less uncertainty in it. While there was the most predictability of electric shock in the first group. it has been seen in the result that although electric shock has been given in the least quantity to the third group, there was more sympathetic autonomic arousal because of present uncertainty means the nature of the reactions that are done towards the stress were more serious. Abbott, Schoen and Badia, 1986 have identified it after analyzing it deeply. If stress is presented for a long time, predictable stress is proved more stressful in comparison of un predictable tension.

4. Cognitive Factors—One reason of individual difference in the reactions that is done towards the stress that how does a man think about the stressful situation or event. The follower of this factor is Lazarus. Some people explain such events or stimulus in a stressful way, by which the reaction, done towards it becomes more serious. On the other side, some explain such events by giving them less importance, by which the reaction that is doe it becomes less serious. Roth and Cohen, 1986 have recognized the two types of styles for collecting the information towards the stressors- sensitizers and repressors. Sensitizers are those men who get the information after being activate and think about the stressful events. Stressors are those men who never think about the stressful events and keep away themselves from the information of stressful events. Stressor resolves the stress in a effective way. Miller and Morgon, 1983 have told in their study when the proper information is collected about the stressors, repressive style is not harmful in that situation but in this situation sensitizer style does not prove beneficial. As they have found in their study the patient, whose surgery was done by the doctors and who were sensitizers, when they were informed about the surgery, they did not feel stress but repressors feel the stress in less quantity when they were informed such information in less quantity.

5. Type ‘A’ Personality—There is difference in the reaction that done towards the stress by type ‘A’ personality. There are some special qualities of type a personality, by which the reaction that is done towards the stress are determined. Friedman and Rosenman, 1574, Diamond Matthews have told some important qualities of type a personality:

  1. Show up more driving and highly ambitious in the field of competition, work and play.
  2. Doing any works rapidly, give importance to time –urgency, often show up the nature of doing any two actions at a time rapidly.
  3. Give less importance to workaholic and rest.
  4. Speak loudly.
  5. Impulsivity and hostile and doing aggressive behavior towards other.

In which these characteristics are not presented, they are called type ‘B’ personality. It has been found after the researches that there is more possibility of coronary heart disease in the men of type ‘A’ personality. It is fact that type ‘A’ personality is internally added with the two risk factors- high blood pressure and high level of cholesterol. According to one theory that type ‘A’ man reacts more physiologically towards the stress in comparison of others. Haynes and his follower, 1980 and Mathews, 1982 have confirmed this fact in their studies that type ‘A’ man reacts towards the stress by showing high blood pressure. In the same way Williams etc have found in their studies when type a man react towards the stress, more quantity of epinephrine and norepinephrien are found in its body and there is more flow of blood in the Skelton muscles comparatively. These changes are directly related to cholesterol plaque 1 , which make the possibility of CHD strong by arousing strictness in the artery of heart.

It has been identified, that there are many causes of different reactions that a man does towards the stress.

Measurement of Stress

Scientist have done successful effort for the measurement of stress, and they have described four important methods for this:

  1. Self-Report Method—In this method a man says about self emotional trouble, and the changes which is happening in his life and about the severity if stress. On the basis of the indices which he has told, his stress is scaled. Social readjustment rating scale delivered by Holmes and Rahe, Hassle scale delivered by schedule of recent experiences and Kanner and all his companion, exercises are used under the self report method.
  2. Behavioral Methods—In this method, stress is scaled on the basis of completed work, which is done in this situation. If in this situation, rapidly falls come in the accomplishment of work, it is considered that the severity of stress is more for the man.
  3. Physiological Indices Methods—In this method, stress is scaled on the basis of the chemical changes as-on the basis of the changes that happen when catecholamine and hydroxycorticosteroids is found in urinary level and blood level.
Each of these methods has some defects, in case of those defects; these methods should be used carefully. It is necessary to describe such defects here:

  • The first method, which depends on the self report, can be completely believed, because man always tries to present himself in proper way and in this effort he does not present the correct picture of stress.
  • Behavioral method is considered defective because the explanation if accomplishing work can be done by different methods, as- it can be found that lack of motivation, cognitive strain and tiredness can be the cause of loss of accomplishment in place of tension.
  • It is necessary for scaling the tension on the basis of physiological indices that some equipment, related to that should be bought and doing this in itself will be stressful.
  • It is not credible to scale the stress on the basis of chemical changes, because such changes can be possible by other causes, as catecholamine secretion in body not only by stress but also in other situations. Hence such growth in body cannot be considered because of stress. 
It is explained that there are different methods for the measurement of stress but every method has some limitation, yet it can be used according to the situation. According to Baum1982 it is necessary for the correct measurement of stress that all these methods should be used together by which the result got by it may be credible.
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