Stress At Work

Where you are in danger or suffering a life crisis, try to minimise the disturbance to your life. If, for example, you have lost someone close to you, try to avoid changing your job. If you have a high score, or know that you will have a high score in the future, it may be worth pre-empting any problems by adopting stress management strategies now. Why Does Stress Differ In Each Individual Case?

Everyone copes in different ways when faced with stressful situations. This can be because we interpret our surroundings differently. What some individuals may find stressful may not be stressful to others, perhaps who have a different culture or surroundings. The way that each individual perceives things determines how we cope under pressure. The less control we have the more stressful the situation becomes. I have studied two experiments the first by Brady, which portrays how monkeys coped with stress.

The second was by Weiss, which was a replica of what Brandy did with the monkeys but only with rats as a subject rather than monkeys. In the 1950’s Brady deemed an experiment “Stress in executive monkeys”. Brady concluded that monkeys who repeatedly pressed to avoid electric shock, died from ulceration. On the other hand, another set of monkeys had to push the lever but not on such an intense schedule did not become ulcerated, and lived. Many sceptics believed that this experiment was sheer myth and was not actually performed.

In 1971 Weiss performed a similar experiment to show how rats coped with stress, rather than Brady’s monkeys. In this homage to Brady, Weiss used a specially constructed narrow testing box, which was equipped with a paddle that a rat could operate. Shock was delivered through tail electrodes so the rats could not escape the shock. Weiss examined the effects of various psychological factors on the development of stomach ulcers – a measure of stress. Weiss measured the effect of control on the stress response, and concluded that the more control over the situation the less stressful it became.

Weiss varied the experiment, changing the outcome of all of the rats, and monitored their reactions; each different group had a different amount of control over the situation. Rat 1 put into apparatus but received no shock. Therefore the amount of stress exhibited by this rat is a Rat 2 could escape the shocks by pressing the lever. Therefore this rat can use a coping response to control shock delivery. Rat 3 could not avoid or escape shock by pressing the lever. Therefore this rat has no control over the stressor.

Rats 2 and 3 both got the same amount of shocks. Weiss’ Results Rat 1 showed a small amount of ulceration. Rats that were able to use a coping method to control the shocks showed a stress response. The most important finding is that Rat 3 had no control over shock delivery and had considerably a lot more stomach ulceration than Rat 2 that received exactly the same amount of electric shock but were able to cope with it by pressing the lever.

Rats 3 experienced the same amount of physical stressor, being the shock as Rat 2; these findings convey that there was a psychological stress over the rats, and their inability to cope successfully with the situation resulted in their ulceration. When applied to human form, both Brady and Weiss show us that stress is caused by everyday events and the less control we have, the more stressed we become, and also that humans all respond in different ways according to our own individual personality.

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