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Stress And Coping


The purpose of this assignment is to highlight one of the major public health issues which are “Stress and coping”. For this purpose, the psychological theories will be evaluated to analyse the impact of stress on public health. Moreover, it will discuss the psychological factors that contribute to the development of stress among the public. Also, this assignment will discuss the process of managing stress which is called “Copping”. Hence, stress and coping will be evaluated and supported through literature and other pieces of evidence to identify its impact on the psychology of the people.


Contribution of psychology to understand stress

According to Dillard (2019), the process of developing bodily or mental tension due to the physical, psychological, or emotional factors is called “Stress”. In addition to this, it has been analysed that stress can be caused by different sources which can be internal or external. However, Bodenmann and Falconier, (2016), have stated that the psychological context of stress is that it is a continuous pressure that is faced by an individual that can be in the form of emotional strain. Stress can adversely affect the behaviour of an individual however the psychological definition of stress has proposed that a small amount of stress can be beneficial as it can increase the productivity of an individual. It is called positive stress which can bring motivation to an individual that is required to achieve the goal. But, on the other hand, stress has a prominent negative effect on the public because the continuous stress either internal or external create frustration and anger in the behaviour of an individual. The psychologists Avcıoğlu and Soygur (2019), have mentioned that stress is developed when an individual is required to respond or adjust due to change in his environment. The change can desire physical, psychological, or emotional adjustment.

Psychological Theories Of Stress And Coping

The psychological theories have played a major role in developing the insights of stress and coping in relation to health, health promotion, and health experiences of the public. As per the Transactional Theory of Stress and Coping (TTSC) proposed by Lazarus and Folkman in 1984, stress is a product of multiple factors such as cognitive, neurological, physiological, psychological, or affective (Labrague et al., 2017). The transactional theory of stress and coping has also mentioned that stress can also be developed due to the complex environment of the individual. This theory has discussed three stages to define the term stress. These stages consist of primary, secondary, and reappraisal (Biggs and Drummond, 2017). The primary appraisal is about analysing the intensity of the threat associated with stress. The secondary appraisal is about evaluating the available resources that can be used to cope up with the stressed environment. The third stage which is the coping stage also called reappraisal in which the nature of the stressor and the resource availability are combined to respond to the stressor.

(Figure 1: The stages of Transactional Theory of Stress and Coping, Source: Dillard, 2019)

On the other hand, the theory of “Stimulus-Based Model of Stress” states that the stress is developed due to change in life events that produces a positive or negative impact on the health of an individual (Bodenmann and Falconier, 2016). The psychological and physiological changes in the individual are prominently observed during the development of stressors. This theory helps in identifying the causes of stress whereas the theory of “Response Based Model” is an effective theory and model that is widely used in health promotion for the public as it provides a guide to respond to the stressful environment. “The James-Lange Theory of Emotion” has proposed that the autonomous nervous system is responsible for producing physiological events among the public such as muscular tension, perspiration, etc. (Avcıoğlu and Soygur, 2019). This theory has mentioned that stress is the result of a change in the emotions of an individual.

Factors and sources of stress

In relation to health, health experience and health promotion psychology have helped humans in identifying the factors of stress that are actively contributing to the public health issue of “Stress and Coping”. These factors are the key drivers that produce stress in the mind of an individual that can be dangerous to such an extent that it can become life-threatening for the public. Hence, the main psychological factors of stress as mentioned by McCarthy et al. (2018), include perceptions of the individuals. The negative perception defines stress which is developed when an individual experience a mismatch between perceived demands and resources.  In addition to this, the other psychological factors of stress include uncontrollability, frustration, and conflicts (Pasch and Sullivan, 2017). These factors can be developed due to the internal or external environment. The sources of stress are of four types including health concerns, money, family responsibilities, and work.

As per the study of McCarthy et al. (2018), the major and prominent cause of stress is Money. It is the source that gives rise to chronic health problems of the pubic such as diabetes, heart diseases, etc.  Family responsibility or relationships are also sources of stress such as breakups, divorce, social isolation, etc. In addition to this, health concerns are also the active contributors of stressors. An ill person is found to be stressed out by worrying about his health problems continuously as he is afraid of the decline in his health. The other major source of stress that create hurdles for the public for health promotion and wellbeing is the work environment (Pasch and Sullivan, 2017). Work-related sources of stress are of various types such as job-related stress, discrimination, long working hours, job dissatisfaction, bullying, poor work-life balance, etc.

Effects Of Stress 

As per the study of Labrague et al. (2017), the effects of stress are observed in the cognitive, behvaioural, and phycology of the individual. These effects can be direct or indirect, the direct effects include immune functioning, blood pressure, etc. Whereas the indirect effect is identified as adverse health concerns such as poor sleeping patterns, smoking, etc. According to Biggs and Drummond (2017), the major effect of stress is observed in the cognitive skills of the individual such as the individual is not able to think properly, lack of concentration, forgetfulness, self-judgment, etc. Moreover, Dillard (2019), has proposed that the behaviour of the public is also affected by stress as it develops short temper in the behaviour, disrupts the sleep pattern, adverse effects on the appetite, etc. The physiological effects of stress include headaches, depressed immune system, aches and pains, high blood pressure, irritable bowel, high heartbeat, etc. 

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Intervention For Coping Stress

Stress has major negative impacts on public health which is required to be resolved by developing effective coping strategies of stress. One of the best stress coping strategies for the promotion of public health is based on the adaptation of appropriate coping styles. The coping style should be approach style which motivates the individual to face the stressful situation with mental and physical strength rather than avoiding it. Moreover, as per the study of Bodenmann and Falconier, (2016), the approach style is the most effective stress coping strategy because it monitors the environment of the individual to identify the root cause of the stress. In addition to this, the approach style as a stress coping strategy helps in promoting health because it encourages the individual to deal with stress by engaging him with the problem-solving process. As mentioned by Avcıoğlu and Soygur (2019), the problem-focused coping is effective in developing an action plan to directly face a stressful situation. On the other hand, stress can be cope up by using the emotion-focused coping strategy which directs the individual to see the positive side of the stressful environment. It provides emotional support that encourages the individual to accept the situation.

The other stress coping strategies include repression, denial, regression, rationalization, and others. Repression is the coping style that provides protection to the individual from negative memories, emotions, and thoughts (McCarthy et al., 2018). Whereas, regression is the defensive strategy for coping with the stress that deals with the behaviour of the individual. Rationalisation is the coping strategy that guides the individual to rationalize the stressful environment to develop an action plan. Furthermore, Denial is the coping strategy that eliminates the development of stress in the environment of the individual. Hence, these coping strategies can be used for creating a positive environment for the individuals suffering from stress.


From the above analysis, it has been concluded that stress is the root cause that is adversely affecting the public health. The psychological factors of stress includes uncontrollability, frustration, and conflicts. These factors develop stress that affects the cognitive, behvaioural and psychological development of the public. In order to deal with stress, the effective coping strategy are adopted such as adoption style, repression, denial, regression, rationalization, and others.


Avcıoğlu, M.M., Karanci, A.N. and Soygur, H., 2019. What is related to the well-being of the siblings of patients with schizophrenia: An evaluation within the Lazarus and Folkman’s Transactional Stress and Coping Model. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 65(3), pp.252-261.

Biggs, A., Brough, P. and Drummond, S., 2017. Lazarus and Folkman’s psychological stress and coping theory. The handbook of stress and health: A guide to research and practice, pp.351-364.

Bodenmann, G., Randall, A.K. and Falconier, M.K., 2016. Coping in couples: the systemic transactional model (STM). Couples coping with stress: A cross-cultural perspective, pp.5-22.

Dillard, D.M., 2019. The Transactional Theory of Stress and Coping: Predicting Posttraumatic Distress in Telecommunicators.

Labrague, L.J., McEnroe-Petitte, D.M., Gloe, D., Thomas, L., Papathanasiou, I.V. and Tsaras, K., 2017. A literature review on stress and coping strategies in nursing students. Journal of Mental Health, 26(5), pp.471-480.

McCarthy, B., Trace, A., O’Donovan, M., Brady-Nevin, C., Murphy, M., O'Shea, M. and O'Regan, P., 2018. Nursing and midwifery students' stress and coping during their undergraduate education programmes: An integrative review. Nurse education today, 61, pp.197-209.

Pasch, L.A. and Sullivan, K.T., 2017. Stress and coping in couples facing infertility. Current opinion in psychology, 13, pp.131-135.

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