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The Effects Of Hardiness On Stress Levels.

2058 words - 8 pages

The Effects of Hardiness on Stress LevelsIn the past researchers have attempted to uncover how individuals differ in their physical and psychological responses to stress. Recently, increased time has been devoted to discovering why some individuals internal processes allow then to deal with stressful situations and life events and why others don't. This fascination is likely attributed to an recent increase in public awareness that high stress can have serious physical consequences, including increases in blood pressure, a contributor to heart attacks, which in Canada alone killed more than 80, 000 individuals last year. Previous theories have speculated mechanisms for dealing with stress. These vary from purely biological or genetic based theories, to social and psychological theories. One study suggests a direct positive correlation between the number of stressful life events and the frequency of sickness. A study done on freshman college student at [Would you insert the institution and the authors name I don't have it here with me] found that when college students were exposed to a cold-causing rhinovirus, 70% of the students who developed a cold had 3 times more life events. This certainly supports the real physiological power that stress has on individuals, but it is important to consider why some people with high stress avoid sickness, because this would facilitate the discovery of methods for moderating stress. Much of the present research focuses on a balance between several factors that moderate stress. In a study by Frankenhauser, (date), (as cited in Lawlor, Kline, et al.) it is suggested that in order for the negative effects of stress to be minimal, the degree of stress needs to be balanced by the following factors: genetics which govern bodily response, individual coping techniques, social support, bodily response, and a person's cognitive assessment. Frankenhauser's theory gets support from J.P Henry who attempts to explain how different approaches to stress cause different biological responses. He found that individual tend either to take an active approach, where they readily tackle the problem, or to take a passive approach, where they avoid the problem. Active approaches are characterized by an arousal of the sympathetic nervous system, which is associated with fight or flight and also with hostility, and territorial defense. This type of response may explain why some individuals develop heart disease as a result of stress since sympathetic nervous system arousal is associated with a raise in blood pressure and heart rate. Passive approaches cause pituitary-adrenal cortical reactions, which are more likely to cause Cancer because they suppress the immune systems response (J.P Henry, 1992, as cited in Lawlor, Kline, et al., 1999). It is apparent that cognitive assessment can therefore have an effect on bodily response. This raises the question of whether or not the participants in the rhinovirus study were being affected by life...

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