Psychological Factors Of Stress Essay

1243 words - 5 pages

The purpose of this essay is to apply psychological factors of stress to Sarah’s case
study. Sarah is a 23 year old single parent who has suffered from arthritis since the
age of 8 years old; due to this condition she has periods of pain that fluctuates
leading to mobility problems. Sarah receives support from her mother and her friend
to help care for her daughter when she has poor mobility. Sarah also has issues with
her estranged boyfriend over visiting rights. Sarah is in receipt of welfare
benefits which are under threat due to new welfare reforms.
Sarah has been referred to mental health nursing as she is suffering from
depression, due to life events this may have been caused by stress. The definition of
stress that I have chosen to use is “Stress occurs when a person perceives that the
demands of an external situation are beyond his or her perceived ability to cope with
them” (Lazarus, 1966). Too much or on-going stress can lead to physical and
emotional problems to our well-being. The reason this happens is because the body
releases hormones called cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline into the bodies
blood stream causing the fight or flight response this causes the body to get ready to
deal with the danger or threat (stressor). If the stressor continues the body remains
to release these hormones causing other problems to the body, such as high blood
pressure and this happens when too much adrenaline is released through the blood
stream. Continued stress then leads to further complications and in such cases
disease and chronic illness begin to manifest including mental illness leading to
anxiety and depression. A scientist called Hans Selye introduced the General
Adaptation Syndrome model in 1936 which describes the three stages a persons
body goes through when stress occurs. These three stages are called the Alarm
stage, Resistance stage and Exhaustion stage. One of his definitions of stress is
“Every stress leaves an indelible scar, and the organism pays for its survival after a
stressful situation by becoming a little older” (Hans Selye 1936). Another model I
have chosen is the Cognitive Appraisal Model which was introduced by Lazarus and
Folkman in 1984 where they describe stress as “a two way process; it involves the
production of stressors by the external environment, and the response of an
individual subjected to these stressors” (Lazarus and Folman, 1984). They describe
stress as a two way process; the environmental stressors and a person’s way of
dealing with the stressors. Cognitive appraisal is a mental process and is
characterised in two stages called the Primary Appraisal and the Secondary
Appraisal. The Primary Appraisal is when a person looks for answers to the meaning
of their situation with regards to their well-being, for example; everyone deals with
stressful situations that arise in life in different ways. Sarah is...

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