THE CAUSES OF STRESS







POPULAR VIEWS

Environmental (noise, air pollution), social (over-crowding), interpersonal (behavior or others), personal (feelings or thoughts), and physical (illness, injury) (Bowman, 1998).

Illness, job changes, moving, separations and divorces, deaths in the family, and financial difficulties. But even joyous events, like marriage, the arrival of a baby, or entertaining guests, can be stressful… overwhelming responsibilities at home or work, loneliness, the fear of losing our jobs (Rose Medical Center, 1993).

Management style and working conditions are the biggest causes of stress (MSF, UK Trade Union,1997).

External stressors include: physical environment: noise, bright lights, heat, confined spaces. Social (interaction with people): rudeness, bossiness, or aggressiveness on the part of someone else. Organizational: rules, regulations, “red tape,” deadlines. Major life events: death of a relative, lost job, promotion, new baby. Daily hassles: commuting, misplacing keys, mechanical breakdowns. Internal stressors include Lifestyle choices: caffeine, not enough sleep, and overloaded schedule. Negative self-talk: pessimistic thinking, self-criticism, over-analyzing. Mind traps: unrealistic expectations, taking things personally, all-or-nothing thinking, exaggerating, rigid thinking. Stressful personality traits: type A, perfectionist, workaholic, pleaser (Posen, Psychiatrist,1994).

External stressors can include relatives getting sick or dying, jobs being lost or people criticizing or becoming angry. Social (interaction with people): rudeness, bossiness or aggressiveness on the part of someone else (Health Response Ability Systems, Inc, 1995).

There are 4 major causes of disease: radiation stress, chemical stress, emotional stress, and nutritional stress (Boschen, 1997).

There are two basic causes of stress - excessive workload and traumatic memories. The hereditary vulnerability, plus the concern about the future in a time of economical or political uncertainties, of decreasing quality of life, of looming unemployment, of fear of old age, and of becoming destitute; has led to a general increase of persons who report stress. Other contributing factors are the lack of regular leisure or physical activity, bad or scarce food, an inadequate family structure and support, etc. In general, acute or chronic stress can be attributed to the biggest problems we have during our life courses. Certain events in our lives are so severe in terms of stress, that they are characterized as a trauma (lesion or damage) of a psychic origin (Bernik, 1997).

It’s official - women are the biggest cause of stress in a man’s life! The nineties man, beset by changing work patterns and job uncertainties, tied down with mortgages and hire purchase loans … still blame a nagging girlfriend or an annoying mother-in-law for a rise in blood pressure or the onset of a tension headache. When asked what the major cause of stress in their life was, the answer was bad news for girlfriends. Over 20 per cent of the men questioned said that the thought of their future mother-in-law gave them a huge headache - more than career worries, financial fears or football blunders. And an irritable or demanding girlfriend presented a problem for many. This was just one of the surprise findings revealed by a survey of FHM readers, commissioned by leading painkiller Nurofen to find out how men cope with pain (Press release promoting Nurofen, a 1997).

Stress is a part of every student’s daily life. Your personal stress requirements and the amount which you can tolerate before you become distressed varies with your life situation and your age. As a college student, the greatest sources of events you experience as stressful are likely to be relationships, academic and social situations, environment and lifestyle. Leaving home or commuting daily, managing finances, living with roommates and juggling a job, classes, and relationships all contribute to the normal stress of being at the University. It is also not uncommon for students to feel overwhelmed and anxious about wasting time, meeting high standards or being lonely. In addition, stress can also come from exciting or positive events. Falling in love, preparing to study abroad or buying a new car can be just as stressful as less happy events (University of Texas Counseling Services, 1998).

Scientists say stress can be caused by anything from a bad day at the office or a nasty letter from the IRS to something deeply traumatic like combat in war, sexual abuse or a baby’s lack of motherly love(Boyd, Free Press, 1997).

Rapid changes in science and technology have led to increased stress levels for individuals (Davidson, 1998).

Both married men and women identify economics, finances, and budgeting as the top stressors... Also high on both lists is not spending enough time together and disciplining the children. But beyond that, husbands and wives disagree about what causes stress in their lives. That disagreement alone may be a big cause of stress—and it’s one many families overlook…husbands more often mentioned difficulty in communicating with children, over-scheduled family calendars, unhappiness with their work situation and television. Wives more often mentioned lack of shared responsibilities in the family, housekeeping standards, guilt about not accomplishing more and self-image or self-esteem. (A Press release from Ohio State University, 1998)

SCIENTIFIC VIEWS

'Stressors' Used in Human Studies

Role strain in marriage (Pearlin & Schooler, 1978)

Anticipation, fear, or unpredictability (Frankenhaeuser, 1975; Trap-Jensen et al, 1982)

Alcohol withdrawal (Nut, Glue, Molyneux & Clarke, 1988)

Urban physical environment (Kaminoff & Proshansky, 1982)

Sensory deprivation and overload (Goldberger, 1982)

Noise (Cohen, 1980; Dobson, 1983; Glass & Singer, 1972)

Work overload (Caplan, 1972)

Monotony (Quinn, 1975)

Loss of job (Cobb & Kasl, 1977)

Work overload or underload in simulated work situations (Frankenhaeuser, Nordheden, Myrsten, & Post, 1971),

Defence of a doctoral thesis (Johansson, Collins & Collins, 1983)

School children mental testing (Johansson, 1972)

Preschool children activities in day care centers (Lundberg, Westermark & Rasch, 1993)

Parenthood of preschool children (Lundberg & Palm, 1989)

Repetitive work (Lundberg, Granqvist, Hansson, Magnusson & Wallin, 1989)

Highly mechanised work (Johansson, Aronsson & Lindström, 1978)

Perceived stress (Frankenhaeuser, Sterky, & Järpe, 1962)

Marriage problems (Ilfeld, 1982)

Public speaking (Dimsdale & Moss, 1980)

Pressured interviews, and exams (Sapolsky, 1994)

Others

Fluctuations of the stock market, finding a parking place (Miller, Ross, & Cohen, 1985)

Traffic jams, shortage of money (Dobson, 1983)

Society, social organisations, undesired and unscheduled events (Pearlin, 1982).

And many more not listed here.  In fact most unpleasant or difficult events would qualify as 'stressors' according
to reasearchers in the field

'Stressors' Used in Animal Studies

Electric shocks
Overcrowding
Sleep deprivation
Noise
Rotation
Restraint
Immersion in cold water
Excessive heat
Flickering light for long periods of time
Isolation
Maternal separation
Social defeat (Booth, 1998)
Avoidance conditioning
Social status
Disturbances in social order
Surgery (Bohus and Koolhaas, 1993)


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Table of Contents
ISBN 1-888725-36-2

 
 
Biography of Serge Doublet
Definitions of Stress
Causes of Stress
Bibliography on Stress
Highlights of The Stress Myth
Table of Contents The Stress Myth
The Stress Myth- Home page
website - stressmyth.com
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