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Martin I. JonesBSc MSc Phd PGCHE CPsychol CSci AFBPsS SFHEA
Stress and Coping
What is stress and Why should I be interested in stress?
Quality of experience, produced through a person-environment transaction, that through over- or under-arousal, results in psychological or physiological distress
The non-specific result of any demand upon the body, be the effect mental or somatic
Dr Hans Seyles General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS, 1956)AdaptationTIMEoverload specificity individual differences reversibility
A relationship between a person and the environment that is appraised by the person as taxing or exceeding his or her resources and endangering his/her well-being
Lazarus & Folkman (1984)
Sudden, typically short-lived, threatening event
Ongoing environmental demand (e.g., marital conflict, work stress, personality)
Increased stress could cause illness and injury
Prolonged stress could contribute to burnout syndrome
Stress leads to fatigue
Unnecessary muscle activityBracingInhibited coordination
Broadly speaking, stress disrupts performance
Particularly true in fine motor control and decision rich tasks
Eustress is a positive stressful experience, a state of physical and psychological well-being that is associated with increased motivation and the acceptance of a challenge.
Stress can result from being over- or under-stimulated
Too little stress can be as harmful as too much
Normal and hard wired
What is pressure?
Circumstances that increase the importance of good or improved performance (or avoiding poor performance)
Baumeister (1984)Italics added by me
Baumeister & Showers (1986), competitive pressure is caused by a range of factors
Performance-contingent rewards (e.g., trophies) and punishments (e.g., job loss)
Audience and social evaluation (e.g., being watched by spectators and judged/evaluated by others like the media)
Social comparison (e.g., feeling like your performance will be compared with others)
Ego relevance (i.e., when the situation is important for someones self-esteem or self-worth)
Perceived pressure (i.e. stress appraisal) can have different effects on athletes
Some athletes respond negatively and perform poorly
An acute and considerable decrease in skill execution and performance when self-expected standards are normally achievable, which is the result of increased anxiety under perceived pressure (Mesagno & Hill, 2014)Questionable?
Others respond positively and perform well
Clutch PerformanceAny performance increment or superior performance that occurs under pressurized circumstances Otten, 2009
Appraisal of pressure (stress) is variable
For every example of an athlete who coped well with high pressure competition, theres an example of someone who did not
StartFinishBreak time10 minutes8 minutes1 minute9 minutes5 minutes6 minutes7 minutes2 minutes4 minutes3 minutesTime is up!
Performance StressStress is a person's response to a cue such as an environmental condition or a stimulus. The stress process is the appraisal of a stressor and activation of the sympathetic nervous system
Produced through a person-environment transaction
Cognitive Transactional Model
Lazarus & Folkman (1984)
Why do some soldiers handle battle better than others?
KEY POINT 1
The interpretation of stressful events is more important than the events themselves
KEY POINT 2
It is neither the environmental event nor the persons response that defines stress
KEY POINT 3
It is the individuals perception of the psychological situation that defines stress
KEY POINT 4
Stress is a function of the persons feeling of threat, vulnerability, and ability to cope rather than a function of the stressor
KEY POINT 5
Distinguishes three kinds of appraisal
KEY POINT 6
Appraisal is not always at the level of consciousness.
The event has no implication for the individuals well-being
The event may increase well-being
The situation is perceived as harmful, threatening, or challenging
Involves actual significant physical or psychological loss
Psychological damage that has already been done
The anticipation of harm or lossAllows to anticipate and prepare for the future
The event is perceived as stressful
The focus is on positive excitement
Refers to the persons confidence in overcoming difficult demands
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: The last of human freedoms to choose ones attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose ones own way.
(Victor Frankl, 1985)
Concerned with a persons evaluation of his/her ability to cope with the situation
Which coping options are available
What is the likelihood that one can apply the strategy
What is the likelihood that any given options will work: will it reduce stress?
Continuous Reappraisal On The Basis Of New Information
Identical To The Initial Process
May Lead To More Stress
Constantly changing cognitive and behavioural efforts to manage specific internal and/or external demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding the resources of the person Lazarus and Folkman (1984)
Coping is a process of constant evaluation of the success of ones strategies
Coping is learned as one encounters situations
Coping requires effort
Coping is an effort to manage
Success is not contingent on mastery - just good enough
When we cannot change the situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
(Victor Frankl, 1985)
In the mainstream psychological literature, it has been shown that personality predicts appraisal and coping efforts in the health domain when dealing with a variety of stressful contexts (OBrien & DeLongis, 1996)
The ability to cope is enhanced when people believe they can successfully bring about desired consequences
peoples judgements of their capabilities to organise and execute courses of action
Bandura (1977, 1986, 1997)
MasteryexperiencesVerbal persuasionVicarious experiencesPhysiologicaland affectivestatesCOGNITIONGoalsAttributionsDecisionsProblem solvingBEHAVIOURChoice /selectionEffortPersistenceAFFECTAnxietyArousalDepressionConfidenceFlowEfficacybeliefs
Changing the situation
Redefining the problem
Looking at alternative solutions
Evaluating the implications of the alternatives
Choosing the best one to act on
Athletes have reported using a variety of problem focused strategies in response to stressors encountered.
Approach-cognitive strategies (Anshel, 2001), Being aware of cues (Dale, 2000), Task-orientated coping (Amiot, Gaudreau, & Blanchard, 2004), Concentrating on goals (Gould et al., 1993a),Time management (Gould et al., 1993a), Learning about opponents (Holt, 2003), Practice (Holt & Mandigo, 2004), Appropriate training (Park, 2000).
Controlling and possibly changing the emotional response to an event
Cognitive responses such as avoidance or minimization
The goal is to decrease emotional distress
Often used when the individual feels that nothing can be done about the situation
Athletes have reported using a variety of emotion focused strategies in response to stressors encountered.
Seeking social support (Crocker, 1992; Park, 2000),Imaging/ visualizing (Dale, 2000; Gould et al., 1993a), Venting unpleasant emotions (Gaudreau & Blondin, 2002), Humour (Giacobbi, Foore, & Weinberg, 2004), Remaining confident (Poczwardowski & Conroy, 2002).
Behavioural (e.g., physically removing self fromstressor)
Cognitive (e.g. blocking) avoidance ofa stressor (Anshel, 2001)
Emotion-focused and avoidance coping tend to experience greater cognitive anxiety
(Hammermeister & Burton, 2001; Ntoumanis & Biddle, 2000).
Coping effectiveness in a sport setting refers to the extent to which a coping strategy, or combination of strategies, is successful in alleviating the negative emotions caused by stress
Problem-focused coping will be more effective during encounters in which the athlete has the potential for personal control
Emotion-focused coping has been proposed as being more effective during encounters in which the athlete has very little control
Do athletes have coping styles or is coping dynamic based upon appraisal and previous coping attempts?
The majority of research in sport suggests that coping is both recursive and dynamic and thus supports the transactional perspective
(e.g., Anshel, 1996; Anshel et al., 2001; Gould et al., 1993a,b; Holt & Hogg, 2002; Poczwardowski & Conroy, 2002).
The Physiology of Stress
Central nervous system is made of