• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To What Extent can psychological research provide useful forms of stress management techniques?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"Psychological Research doesn't always appear to have any usefulness but this is not true of research into stress" To What Extent can psychological research provide useful forms of stress management techniques? The application of research into stress management can be divided into two categories; physiological methods and cognitive therapies. However, the usefulness of both variations of stress management techniques has been disputed by many psychologists. Biofeedback is a physiological method of stress management and is a technique employed in order to reduce the activity of the autonomic nervous system and therefore the physical manifestations of stress. The participant learns how to control involuntary or voluntary muscles that are not normally controlled, which reduces the effects of stress in terms of the illnesses associated with it. There are three stages in biofeedback. Firstly, the individual learns of their own physiological activity by way of a mechanical measure, for example a blood pressure or heart rate monitor or an EEG which looks at brain waves. Secondly, the participant is trained in strategies that research has found to reduce stress, for example relaxation training, in quiet conditions. This is so that the participant can master such strategies without additional stress. Finally, the participant will transfer this knowledge into everyday situations. ...read more.

Middle

However, Goa and Ward's research shows that they can produce other side effects such as headaches and depression. Drug therapies may therefore reduce the effects of stress and anxiety, however their usefulness as a stress management technique is limited by the number of undesirable side effects and their tendency to lead to physiological and psychological dependency. A common criticism of both the physiological method of stress management is that although they may be highly effective in treating the symptoms of anxiety this is greatly undermined by the fact that they do not recognise the significance of removing the cause of the anxiety. This is where the cognitive therapies can be said to be of greater usefulness than the physiological methods. The cognitive therapies aim to replace negative and irrational self-doubting thoughts with positive rational ones. This approach, therefore assumes that it is not the problem but the way in which the person thinks about it that is maladaptive. If one can be trained to restructure one's thoughts then the problem will simply disappear and this concept was put into practice by Meichenbaum [1977] through his "Stress Inoculation Training" programme. There are three stages to this programme. Firstly, the nature of the problem is assessed and discussed as well as the individual's perception of how best to eliminate it. ...read more.

Conclusion

They found that those who had experienced many stressful life events recently were more likely to suffer from medical complications in their pregnancy if they lacked psychological assets including perceived support and a social network. Tache, Selye and Day [1979] found that cancer was more common among adults who were divorced, widowed or separated than in those who were married. An explanation for this is that those who were not married lacked social support and so were more stressed leading to immunosuppression and illness and so this would support the view that social support is a successful way of counteracting the effects of stress. However, it is hard to establish causal relationships from this evidence as we can merely say that the two aspects are related and not that one caused the other. It may be that those who were divorced or separated were more vulnerable to stress than those who were married and that such a vulnerability played a role in the collapse of their marriages. If this is the case then individual differences override the importance of social support in terms of stress management. In conclusion, psychological research highlights the variety of stress management techniques and programmes as well as their respective strengths and weaknesses. However, the most appropriate method of stress management appears to depend on individual differences so a clear determination of the most useful method can not be reached. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Physiological Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Physiological Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    'Life changes, no matter if they are positive or negative, are always a source ...

    3 star(s)

    The "Life Change Scale" is a psychological tool which measures the amount of change experienced by a person over a given time interval (Holmes & Rahe, 1967). The "Life Change" questionnaire asks people to mark on a list which important changes they recently underwent: move to a new home, a

  2. Stress can be explained as the stimulus in the environment that triggers a stress ...

    This research doesn't prove that personality characteristics can cause stress & illness. It could be the other way round. Stress can be Related to Culture Culture is a really vague term that is used to group people by beliefs, behaviour, morals or customs they share.

  1. Psychological influences in childbearing and midwifery practice - A Rite of Passage: Transition from ...

    Mood changes during pregnancy and the postpartum period: development of a biopsychosocial model. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 109 (6), 457-466. http://www.blackwell-synergy.com Accessed 18-10-2004 Rotter J B. (1966). Generalized expectancies for internal versus external control of reinforcement.

  2. Identify and discuss strategies for coping with Stress

    The step provides to person to reach a more realistic understanding of the demands being made upon them. The second step is known as skills and acquisition and rehearsal, this is where the person receives training in general coping strategies for stress such as relaxation and a realistic appraisal of demands.

  1. Depression - Gender Differences.

    with each passing year the average age of sufferers continues to drop. The field of psychology utilizes a number of statistical procedures in order to effect the applicable findings. According to Kendall (1991), the typical procedure behind such research is accumulated by way of study reviews, which employ the use of methodological considerations.

  2. To what extent have psychological approaches shown to be effective methods of stress management?

    Although, some people find this sort of strategy doesn't work. It requires considerable effort and determination, which are the characteristics of a hardy person. Meichenbaum (1985) put forward a similar programme. He argued that we should use cognitive therapy before a person becomes very anxious or depressed rather than afterwards.

  1. Unit 1 psychology revsion notes (memory, attachment, research methods)

    participating in Protection of participants ? * Can withdraw * Terminate any research that is to cause harm * Debriefing Experiments Laboratory * Researcher manipulates the IV to see effect on DV * Takes place in high controlled conditions * High levels of control on IV and EV?s * Replicate

  2. There are many relaxation techniques for stress but in this essay it will look ...

    The aim during this biofeedback process is to recognise what thoughts, fears, and mental images influence their physical reactions and change the autonomic processes, and with these results establish if there is any correlation between certain activities and the readings.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work