Section 1 defines stress as an anxious or threatening
feeling resulting from our appraisal of a situation and our
perception of demands placed on us. Conflict situations, which
occur when a person must choose between alternatives, are
major sources of stress. The level of stress one feels depends
upon how the individual appraises the situation. Environmental
factors, major life changes, and everyday hassles can all
result in stress.
Section 2 discusses how people react differently to
life's stressors. The general adaptation syndrome identifies
three phases of the body's stress reaction: alarm, resistance,
and exhaustion. This section describes how reactions to stress
can be psychological, behavioral, or physical, and how people's
personality types, their perceptions of control over stressors,
the social support they receive, and the amount of stress
they have all determine their reactions to stress.
Section 3 explores the different mechanisms people
use to cope with stress. Cognitive appraisal refers to the
way one evaluates an event. We use defensive and active coping
strategies to influence our cognitive appraisals. Common defense
mechanisms are denial and intellectualization. Active coping
strategies involve changing the environment or modifying a
situation to remove stressors or reduce the level of stress.
Section 4 describes how college and work can produce
stress. Attending college stimulates change in many students.
Students may cope with stress by redoubling their efforts,
detaching themselves from college, or using resynthesis. This
section details the stresses people can experience with their
first job and the factors that influence job satisfaction.