PSYC6748 full course

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PSYC6748 full course

Week 1 discussion


Discussion 1: Your Stress-Defining Moment

Life stressors as common as work pressure or as obscure as being zapped with electricity while running in a maze, all activate the stress response. With such varying sources from which stressors emerge, stress is a holistic phenomenon with emotional, biological, cognitive, and coping aspects.

Research into the stress response touches a variety of scientific disciplines. Theorists from the fields of physiology, endocrinology, psychiatry, psychology, and sociology have made major contributions to understanding the biological response evoked by stress. Their theories that describe stress all tie together, building on each other’s constructs to better explain stressors, stress, and the stress response. The first paradigm by physiologist Walter Cannon and endocrinologist Hans Selye considered stress a stimulus. Stress happened to the individual. However, stressors can be internally generated with worry or fear. Revealing the impact of stress as detrimental to physical well-being, the Life Stressor Assessment developed by psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe identifies stressful life events that may predict stress reactions. Also, recent work by sociologist Aaron Antonovsky and psychologist Richard Lazarus describes stress more as a process. In viewing the “Stress Response” handout, notice that there are continuous interactions between the person and the environment, influencing the impact of the stressor through cognitive, emotional, and behavioral pathways. Traditionally, stress has been viewed as an adaptive function with a set of physiological responses to a stressor. Present thinking supports a more holistic understanding. As a result, perspectives have changed to include cognitive, environmental, and social elements in a more holistic understanding of the stress response.

For this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources, including the “Defining the Stress Response Across Multiple Scientific Disciplines” handout. Then take the Holmes and Rahe stress assessment. Finally, consider any insights you had or conclusions you drew after completing the Holmes and Rahe self-evaluation.



Discussion 2: To Flee or Not to Flee and Other Stress Response Techniques

Stressors are a normal part of life. From an evolutionary perspective, adaptation to changes in the environment is required for survival. In a situation where there is a perception of stress, organisms—whether they are people, dogs, rodents or flies—are physiologically prepared to attack or flee from a threat. Those with effective fight or flight responses tend to survive long enough to reproduce, so every organism is descended from those who are genetically hardwired for self protection. When you experience stress, your biology, emotions, social support, motivation, environment, attitude, immune function, and state of wellness all feel the ripple effect.

Imagine the fatal outcomes that might occur if the mind and body did not adapt to life’s stressors. For your cave-dwelling ancestors the result would be a very short life with little chance of passing on their genes to future generations.

Recall the encounter with the saber-toothed tiger discussed in the introduction to this course. Once the brain determines a threat exists per the cognitive appraisal process, the fight or flight response begins. In stress mode, your body goes under a variety of changes including but not limited to:

Accelerated heart rate

The release of cortisol and other stress hormones

Increased blood pressure

Increased release of adrenaline

When the fight or flight response is initiated numerous times a day, it results in a depletion of energy, resources, and maintenance abilities. While life preserving, the biological and physical stress responses are meant to be short-term. In addition, long-term stress may have an impact on your immune system. This is another one of the many different ways health can deteriorate. There are multiple techniques and behavioral interventions that might be used as part of an overall stress management strategy to reduce stress.

For this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources, including “The Body’s Micro-Response to Stress” handout. Consider the stress response to ongoing everyday stressors as presented in the Learning Resources. Imagine what might be necessary to reduce the response for these non-life threatening, long-term experiences.



Week 2 discussion


Discussion 1: Types of Stress and Coping

Not all stress is bad stress. In fact, a little bit of short-term stress keeps you motivated. Acute stressors such as public speaking, taking an exam, or parachuting from a perfectly good airplane usually cause an immediate and intense stress response. Occasional acute stress actually has a positive effect on immune function. A single episode of acute stress doesn’t usually cause a problem for the healthy adult.

Consider the chronic stress of being a family caregiver to an Alzheimer’s patient. Betty has been caring for Fred since he was diagnosed. She is not sleeping well because more than once she has awakened during the night to find that Fred has turned on the stove. Also, finances are tight because of the cost of care and resources Fred needs. Fred is increasingly more angry and confused. This chronic, relentless stress has cumulative effects on Betty’s immune function. Her ability to cope is stretched, and her own health issues, seemingly minor compared to Fred’s, are ignored. There are few opportunities for Betty to rest and return to a calm baseline. As a result, she becomes ill.

Distant stress, another type of stress that stems from previous trauma, can be unrelenting and influence immune function for years. For example, the long years of posttraumatic stress disorder’s (PTSD) wearing effects on the immune system does cumulative damage to health.

For this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources. Review the concepts of acute, chronic, and distant stress. Also, re-examine the “Pathways of Stress” graphic from Week 1. Then consider the characteristic and physiological differences of these three types of stress, how each impacts the immune system, and the populations most at risk or least susceptible to these types of stress and why. Finally, reflect on how stress management approaches might be different for specific examples of acute, chronic, and distant stress.



Discussion 2: How Do You Cope?

While on vacation at the beach, you might see the swelling waves as an excellent opportunity to test out your new surfing skills. However, your traveling mate might take those same aggressive waves as a cue to head for shore. Not everyone interprets a given stressor in the same way; nor will their responses always mirror each other when encountering the same stressor. There is plenty to learn about stress and coping from analyzing the way individuals manage stress. In fact, there are a number of assessments psychologists use to determine individuals’ coping styles, how they cope, and the frequency of their coping behaviors.

While theorists place a great deal of emphasis on the types of coping, coping traits should not be viewed as exclusively adaptive or maladaptive. Not all coping traits fit into problem-solving or emotion-focused coping as Lazarus and Folkman discuss. Generally, positive/functional coping mechanisms (e.g., planning) are linked to good self-esteem, higher functioning, and lower perceived stress. While less positive strategies (e.g., denial, self-blame) are associated with more distress and lower esteem.

How you manage stress in your life can modify the stress response and subsequent health consequences. Recall the Primary Appraisal and Coping chart from last week. Imagine your disruptive and argumentative mother-in-law has announced that she is coming for a two-week visit. Once you appraise the stress potential of this situation, how would you respond to the scenario:

You could solve the problem by calling her and asking her not to come.

You can change how you feel about her coming by deciding to focus on the positive aspects of her visit.

You could manage this stress by changing the physical response to it with the use of relaxation techniques.

You plan a business trip for the same two-week time frame your mother-in-law plans to visit.

These approaches to managing a stressor are termed problem-focused, emotion-focused, biology-focused, and avoidance approaches. While the mother-in-law example tends to fit the concept of stress globally, it in no way implies that a visit from your mother-in-law would be stressful.

For the Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources including “The Focus of Coping” handout and “The Assessment of Coping”handout. Take the COPE assessment. After completing the COPE assessment, consider the different ways in which you cope with stress.



Week 3 discussion

Stress, Illness, and Specific Populations

Do any of the following phrases sound familiar: “It’s nothing to worry yourself sick over,” “I was sick with worry,” or “Don’t stress yourself out”?

These are not just warnings or expressions about too much negative mental activity. What does it mean to worry to the point of sickness? What does it look like to stress yourself out? For you, it could be a bout with insomnia. For someone else, too much worry could result in an upset stomach. Yet for another, excessive stress for a long period of time could contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease.

The type of illness that results from too much stress depends on a variety of factors. Your age, gender, ethnic heritage, culture, and even geographical location all influence your response to developing stress-related illnesses. Some populations are more vulnerable to the effects of stress, just as some populations are more susceptible to certain diseases. Population-based health care focuses on assessing health needs, planning culturally sensitive prevention and intervention programs, and improving public health.

In this context, populations are groups of people defined by a common condition that perhaps need focused health education, prevention programs, or treatment. The following are some examples of populations:

Pregnant women

Military personnel returning from war

Those with low socioeconomic status

Those experiencing discrimination


Those with asthma

The elderly

Those experiencing significant loss

Illegal immigrants

Those with cardiovascular disease

Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse

Victims of crime

Those with serious mental illness

Whether it is poverty, grief, or discrimination, the variety of stressors that members of these populations might encounter does not vanish overnight. As a result, the persistence of stress can contribute to long-lasting illness or chronic disease, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and arthritis. Seventy percent of all deaths in the United States are due to chronic disease. Fifty percent of Americans have at least one chronic disease. Chronic diseases are the most common and expensive diseases facing the world and since most chronic diseases have modifiable risk factors, most are preventable. The most common modifiable risks are poor diet, lack of exercise, and tobacco, alcohol, or drug use.

For this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources including the Stress and Immune-Related Disease” section of the “ Stress, the Immune System, Chronic Illness, and Your Body” handout. Select an illness to use for this Discussion. Think about a population that is more susceptible to this illness and a population that is less susceptible to this illness.


Week 4 discussion

Stress and Depression

When doctors diagnose a patient’s mysterious pains, sudden sleep difficulties, changes in eating habits, inexplicable migraines or excessive fatigue as psychosomatic, it is easy to apply the layman’s translation of “It’s all in your head.” However, when it comes to these responses to stress, what may be “all in your head” might have a direct impact on what is going on in your body.

With such symptoms as those just described, it is clear that stress, immune function, and depression are linked. For example, those suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder report high levels of depression. Additionally, while you will not find a doctor ordering extensive lab tests to diagnose depression, high levels of cortisol and other stress hormones are found in the blood of the depressed. Also, survivors of early life stress, such as childhood abuse, experience changes in the neurobiology of the brain, making them more vulnerable to depression later in life. Even acute life stressors are known to provoke depression, especially in an environment of poor social support and frequent life crisis. Finally, chronic stress results in lowered immune function and increased incidence of depression. Not only do the relationships between the brain, stress, immune function, and depression exist, but they are bidirectional and complex.

For this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources as well as the “Stress, Depression, and the Immune Response” section of the “Stress, the Immune System, Chronic Illness, and Your Body” handout. Then reflect on the different ways stress, the stress response, and depression are connected. Finally, consider what part depression plays in the immune and inflammatory response systems.


Week 5 discussion

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Intervention

Imagine the survivors of a home invasion. Feelings of terror and helplessness that shake the very foundation of personal security are the result when strangers enter the home with the intent and will to do harm. Some survivors may resolve these immediate feelings of helplessness by acquiring a handgun, pepper spray, or watchdogs, or by taking self-defense courses. During, or for a short time immediately following the invasion, some people may experience the onset of acute stress disorder (ASD) exhibited in racing hearts, bouts of insomnia, and feelings of panic at the sound of footsteps approaching the front door. Others may be so traumatized that they never look at their home in the same way or feel as safe no matter how many locks are on the doors or how state-of-the-art their alarm system may be. When the latter individuals experience a delayed onset of physiological response to trauma that is persistent over the long term, their condition is described as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This tragic scenario is just one example of a traumatic event that could lead to severe but short-lived stress or a prolonged stress response that disrupts the lives of the survivors long after the event is over.

For this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources including the “Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder” handout. Reflect on the similarities and differences between ASD and PTSD. Then consider that you have been asked to prepare a pre-deployment PTSD prevention workshop for military health service workers. Consider intervention techniques you might recommend to prevent the development of PTSD in this population.




Week 6 discussion

Theories of Social Context

Think back to the first time you rode your bike without your parent’s steady hand to guide you along the path. Even if you never learned to ride a bike, you likely can imagine how it might feel to look behind you and discover the absence of that steady hand to keep you upright. At first you might wobble due to a sudden surge of uncertainty and fear in your chest. But as your confidence builds, your ride smoothes out, and a smile invades your face as you realize that you are riding your bike all by yourself.

Now imagine if you focused on that initial fear of riding the bike without help and as a result you fell and scraped your leg. Focusing on the fear rather than focusing on the fact that you were in the midst of successfully riding your bike might have caused you to fall. Being paralyzed by or focusing exclusively on the fear are examples of an ineffective response to stress that results in no reduction of the anxiety and no resolution to the situation.

With a scraped leg, your parent is now at your side comforting you and reminding you that your leg will heal and next time the outcome will be better. Social support like this is known to be an effective buffer against the impact of stress and enhances recovery from disease.

Humans develop and learn within a social context. Culture and social interactions are part of the environmental framework with which the organism continually interacts. Therefore, you might reactively know how to escape a dangerous encounter; however, coping with less harmful situations often is learned and influenced by those in your environment. There is strong evidence that context affects coping strategies. Consider how social context is fundamental to understanding stress and coping.

For this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources including the “Coping in a Social Context” handout. Consider how social context affects the development and effectiveness of coping mechanisms to manage stress. Think about whether social context has an impact on coping mechanisms for the population you selected in Week 3.



Week 7 discussion

The Effectiveness of Stress Management Skills

What helps you relieve stress and how effective is your method? There are a variety of reasons individuals select the stress management techniques they use. However, an effective stress management technique allows you lessen the physiological impact of the stress you are experiencing. In addition, it helps you to assess your situation, recognize your emotional response, and support your thought processes regarding a stressor. There are many stress management techniques and selecting ones that might be most effective depends on the individual, the stressor, and the stress response. If you enjoy the calm that comes from communing with nature, you might recognize its effectiveness in how the peaceful nature of the outdoors makes you feel less frantic. One stress management technique cannot serve everyone and all the stressors they face. Therefore, evaluating a variety of stress management techniques is important to reducing stress and its influence on the development of illness. Barriers to effective stress management include lack of adherence to the use of stress management techniques, inadequate or inappropriate support of family and friends, and an unwillingness to forgo unhealthy stress management practices.

For this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources. Select a stress management technique from your Week 5 Final Project assignment. Then consider how you might measure the effectiveness of the stress management technique. Reflect on the benefit stress sufferers might derive from using multiple stress management techniques. Finally, consider two barriers to effective stress management.


Week 8 discussion


How would you define hope? What does hope look like? Hope is difficult to describe and it is even harder to measure. Yet it is the foundation of your goals and in action it is exhibited in your desires. Hope has emotional elements in its sense of positive expectation even when the situation is uncertain, perhaps even dire. What gives those diagnosed with a terminal illness the strength to endure debilitating treatments such as chemotherapy or kidney dialysis? Maybe you know individuals who cope with diseases that have a grave impact on their quality of life. Yet they continue to pursue life to the fullest, often pushing the boundaries of their illness. Hope for an improved outcome offers to many the strength to face the most challenging of health crises. From the moment you wake up, the desire for a positive outcome exists in every action you take. That desire for a positive outcome and the belief in the possibility that a positive result will happen are characteristics of hope. Hope is why you might take on challenges and hope is why you might look forward to a better future. However, hope is often taken for granted until it is lost. How do you regain hope, and what is its impact on your health?

For this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources, including the handout titled “Hope: The History, Its Application, and How to Regain It.” Complete the Herth Hope Index. As you complete the index, reflect on what the potential answers to the assessment items might reveal about an individual’s ability to hope when experiencing challenging situations. Then research two articles on the effects of hope on a specific health issue of your choice. Also consider how a patient suffering from the health issue you chose might be able to generate or sustain hope in coping with the health issue. Finally, reflect on the impact hope might have on stress response and the immune response system.


Week 9 discussion

Humor and Sleep Hygiene’s Potential Benefits for Stress and Immunity

A clown is like an aspirin, only he works twice as fast.

– Groucho Marx

Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.

– Ovid

Have you ever noticed that no matter how difficult the situation, if you can find humor in it, it becomes more manageable? Even in moments of loss, people remember their loved ones by reminiscing about the funny things they did or said. Many circumstances are judged by how they make you feel. Even in the face of serious illness, an active sense of humor can lessen its effects and improve the likelihood of a more positive outcome. These examples suggest that humor appears to buffer against the effects of stress. The effects of a good sense of humor benefit the body in a variety of ways.

Participating in a good laugh is not the only activity you might overlook when it comes to managing stress. A restful sleep provides a wealth of benefits to the mind as well as the body. Think back to the last time you had to get up early and despite having too little sleep, you had to keep going. Consider how the lack of sleep affected your mood, appetite, energy level, performance, and your interactions with others. People often trivialize their need for sleep, despite the numerous benefits it provides to mood, concentration, and coping with stress. The focus on connections between sleep, stress, and health are particularly timely because sleep patterns are changing. Between the late 1950s and the early 1990s, the average reports of adult sleep dropped from 8 to 9 hours a night to 7 to 8 hours a night. Recent studies report increasing numbers of individuals sleeping less than 6 hours a night. The annual direct cost of dealing with sleep deprivation in the United States is estimated to be $16 billion a year. Indirect costs are estimated at $50 to $100 billion and include motor vehicle and other accidents, resultant litigation, property destruction, medical costs, loss of productivity, and death.

For this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources including the “Humor and Sleep Hygiene: Your Natural Allies Against Stress” handout. Students with a last name beginning with A–M, research articles on the effects of humor on stress and health and then respond to Discussion A. Students with a last name beginning with N–Z, research illnesses related to stress and poor sleep habits and then respond to Discussion B.




Week 10 discussion


Discussion 1: Western and Eastern Medical Practices

Most people would agree that no one knows your body better than you do. Before the first symptoms fully surface, you might sense a disruption in your body’s functioning. How would you respond to the onset of a headache? If you practice Western medicine, you might take a pain reliever for the headache and relax in a dark room. If you practice Eastern medicine, you might take a steamy bath to sooth your tense neck muscles and relieve congestion that might be contributing to your headache. Or you might seek a massage to relieve the stress that might be causing the headache. It fact, it is not uncommon for individuals to sample remedies from both medical practices in order to reap the results they seek. Regardless of the medical approach you prefer, there are a wide variety of stress reducing options to improve your health and fit your lifestyle.

For this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources including the “Varying Philosophies of Medical Care” handout. Research complementary and alternative stress management approaches in the Library and on the website for the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) ( Select a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) discussed at NCCAM. Consider how the CAM you selected might effectively reduce stress. Reflect on any contraindications that might exist with regard to its use.



Discussion 2: Nutritional Approach to Stress Management

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.

– Hippocrates

From the time you were old enough to use a fork, did your parents recite the nutritional purposes of various foods as you pushed them around on your plate? These dinnertime lessons were to show that food was not just for curing hunger pains. Carrots made your eyes sand spinach made your muscles stronger. Eat an apple every day and you could avoid a trip to the doctor. Yet, somehow as you aged, meals might have become more about what tasted good and less about what was good for you. However, food and the nutrients it can provide have more to do with fueling your body and its many systems and less to do with the preference of your taste buds. With the prevalence of pills and other medical interventions, it is easy to forget that mother nature offers a host of preventative medicines in the form of various natural foods and herbs. Consider how the management of stress can benefit from nature’s medicine.

For this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources including Appendices 12–15 of the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Also review the ”Nutrition, Stress, and Your Cells” handout and the “Stress and Its Impact on Nutrient Processing and Absorption” handout. Then, research nutritional approaches to stress management and select two that might be effective. Finally, consider any contraindications or cautions that might result in applying the approaches you selected.


Week 11 discussion

Discussion 1: Stress, Health, and Social Support

Do you ever wonder why many people generally feel better after talking through problems with a trusted friend or family member? Aside from the benefits of having more than one mind working to solve a problem, social support has been shown to buffer the adverse effects of stress. In addition to making you feel better, social support positively influences mortality and morbidity.

Belonging to a social network increases the feeling of self worth with a sense of belonging. The increased confidence it provides allows for better creative thinking and boosts motivation. In terms of behavior, social support encourages informed choices and positive change including healthy practices such as exercise and healthy eating.

With all this good news regarding social support, you might think that hugs can make everything better. However, there may be some negative correlation between depression and social support as well as anxiety and social support. An individual’s perception of social support and how it matches a given stressor play a part in that support’s effectiveness. This might help to explain why social support does not always prevent or resolve episodes of depression and anxiety.

For this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources. Then research literature in the Library on social support and its effect on the health condition. Consider how different populations may be at risk for reduced social support.



Discussion 2: Aligning Stress Management Techniques With Populations and Emerging Trends/Research in Stress Management

Often in the face of extreme stress or an external crisis, it is not uncommon to focus on being grateful for your health in an attempt to minimize the situation’s impact. However, as previous weeks of this course indicate, health is far more than just an absence of disease or injury. Rather, health includes a continuum of wellness influenced by many life characteristics.

Managing stress is as personal as the stressor itself. The populations health psychology professionals serve are changing, making the need for a variety of stress management techniques even more crucial to maintaining health. For example, people are living longer and require more chronic disease management. Also, there is an increase in the number of ethnic minority groups, those living with disabilities, and those living in poverty. As a result of merging cultures, health issues ripple across the globe.

Public policy, education, training, research, advocacy, and program development and application are all ways in which health psychology professionals can promote positive social change. As a future health psychology professional you should begin thinking about how you can apply topics within stress and coping to promote positive social change. Based on your interests you may choose to develop an education program on sleep hygiene or become an advocate for CAMs.

For this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources. Search the Library for a stress management technique you have not previously researched in this course. Consider possible barriers to the effectiveness of this technique. Then select a topic within the area of stress and coping and consider how you might apply this topic to positive social change.


Week 3 Project

Imagine if every stressor you encounter were to cause you to throw a punch or run and hide. Most people can recall encountering others whose response seemed a little extreme for the stressful moment at hand. Just like there are various manifestations of stress, there needs to be various strategies for managing stress. Stress management includes cognitive and behavioral interventions to teach adaptive coping strategies. Training may include relaxation exercises, assertiveness training, goal setting, sleep hygiene, time management, conflict management, or cognitive restructuring. Researchers have discovered that stress management interventions not only help you navigate a stressful situation but they also seem to balance the immune system disorders that are associated with stress. For example, relaxation techniques have shown to be effective in suppressing viral outbreaks. Guided imagery, for example, has been found to be effective in enhancing immune function for those with herpes. Also, stressed medical students who use relaxation techniques have better functioning immune systems during exam periods when compared to a control group. Stress management techniques enhance the effectiveness of immunizations and reduce the autoimmune response of asthma. Practicing stress management techniques leads to lowered levels of depression, negative mood, and morning cortisol levels.

While there are specific stress management techniques proven to be effective, this does not relieve health psychology professionals from finding the most suitable stress management strategies for their clients and the specific stressors from which they suffer. As mentioned in this week’s Discussion, there are a variety of cultural, biological, and environmental factors impacting how populations respond to stress. As a result, there has been a great deal of research conducted on stress management for specific populations. The outcome is a list of topics included in stress management educational sessions that differ by population. Training may include a variety of strategies such as productive versus nonproductive coping, time management, and goal setting. Since one strategy may not effectively relieve all types of stress response, participants in stress management workshops may be taught an array of different strategies from which to choose.

For this assignment, research a population for which you would like to create a stress management workshop. Then find four articles in the Library related to stress management techniques appropriate for the types of stress your population faces.

The Assignment (3–5 page APA-formatted essay)

Your Final Project in this course is to develop a stress management presentation/workshop for a population of your choice including a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, three handouts, an evaluation form, and a supporting evidence-based descriptive narrative. This week’s assignment serves as the foundation for the deliverables of your Final Project.

Select and describe a target population.

Explain common stressors and related health issues for this population.

Select and empirically support three stress management strategies.

Explain why these strategies are appropriate for the target population.

Support your Final Project assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You are to provide a reference list for all resources, including those in the Learning Resources for this course.

Submit your assignment by Day 7.



Week 5 project

Managing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

The ancient proverb “Time heals all wounds” does not appear to apply in every situation within the context of traumatic stress. With the emotional and physical damage prolonged traumatic stress can cause, it may not be enough to have lived through it. Whether you seek relief in the understanding of a friend, a family member, a member of the clergy or your own personal life philosophies, you are relying on your pre-existing resources in an attempt to come to terms with your experiences. When your circle of social support and resources lacks the comfort that can only come from someone with similar experiences, there are an abundance of online newsgroups, forums, and blogs that bring people with common experiences together. In addition, psychotherapy has proved to be a beneficial approach for the treatment of traumatic stress.

Up to this point, you have examined multiple stress management techniques. For this assignment, you apply stress management techniques to build on your Final Project. Review T.A. Lang’s Developing Patient Education Handouts resource as well as the “Sampling of Stress Management Techniques” handout. Conduct online research for additional examples of patient information brochures. Then consider the population you selected for your Week 3 Final Project assignment. Select three stressors common to this population. Review the Handout Guidelines and the literature you obtained in your search for stress management techniques and patient information brochures. Consider the information you might include on three different handouts that provide stress management techniques you might use for this population.

The Assignment (3 one-page handouts)

Create a different handout for each of the three stress management techniques you might use for the population you selected in Week 3.

Apply the Handout Guidelines to the creation of your handouts.

Support your Final Project assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You are to provide a separate reference list for all resources, including those in the Learning Resources for this course.

Submit your assignment by Day 7.


Week 7 project

Final Project: Stress Management Workshop Presentation

Imagine if a Phillips screwdriver was the only tool auto mechanics had available to fix all the automotive problems they might encounter. What if doctors only had one treatment to use in response to all the ailments their clients present to them? In short, some cars would be fixed and some patients would recover; however, many cars would become huge lawn ornaments and many patients would continue to suffer. The same is true for stress management. Without a variety of strategies to resolve all the different types of stressors individuals face, many would continue to suffer and possibly develop serious yet preventable illnesses. Since one stress management strategy does not fit all stressors or people experiencing stress, there are many approaches and strategies that can be incorporated into stress management training. It is wise to teach different methods, thus providing a sense of control and options for choice and type of situation.

For this assignment, review this week’s Learning Resources. Then search the Internet to educate yourself on the concepts behind developing a professional Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. Also, refer to the Writing Center with regard to APA formatting for PowerPoint presentations ( Finally, review a variety of online stress management presentations to determine what types of activities you would like to include and the best way to present those activities to your chosen population.

The Assignment (16–25 slides)

Create a PowerPoint presentation of the stress management techniques you developed in Week 5 for the population you selected in Week 3. In 16–25 slides, your PowerPoint presentation should:

Describe the relationship between stress and health

Explain the influence stress might have on the health of your chosen population

Describe the stress management techniques you selected for your Week 5 stress management handouts

Explain how to apply the stress management techniques you are presenting

Explain how and why these techniques work for your chosen population and the common stressors they face

Describe tips on how to successfully incorporate these techniques into the lives of your chosen population

Submit your PowerPoint presentation for Instructor feedback.

Support your Final Project assignment with a specific list of references (and cover page) for all resources used in preparation of the PowerPoint presentation, including those in the Learning Resources for this course. This will be submitted in a separate document from the PowerPoint.

Submit your assignment by Day 7.

Week 9 Project

Final Project: Workshop Evaluation

Having access to an array of potential stress management strategies in response to the variety of stressors your clients may encounter increases the likelihood of improving the coping response to stress. However, without a means by which to measure each strategy’s effectiveness for a particular stressor, blind treatment is what results.

When developing an evaluation of your stress management workshop, identify your intention for the workshop’s overall outcome. Then consider the outcome of your workshop using the following measures:

How might you define or determine whether the workshop was successful?

Consider asking what has changed. Has the program made a difference?

Are behavioral changes going to occur? What behavior shifts have already occurred?

How are the participants’ lives changed?

Do they feel confident with the tools they were given?

Can participants envision a previous stressful experience where the application of these tools would have benefited them?

How well was the information relayed? Was the environment comfortable?

Are there wider ripples of social effect due to the resulting policy changes or institutional practice?

For the assignment, you continue to build on your Final Project. Review the “Evaluation of the Guided Imagery Workshop” handout provided. Also, conduct an Internet search for additional examples of reputable workshop evaluations. Then, consider the various evaluation methods and select an evaluation method appropriate for your stress management workshop.

The Assignment (2–3 pages)

Using APA essay format, describe the type of evaluation method you might use to examine the effectiveness of your stress management workshop and justify your selection.

Develop your evaluation form and include it as an appendix to the above justification.

Include a list of references in APA format.

Submit the assignment for Instructor feedback.

Support your Final Project assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You are to provide a reference list for all resources, including those in the Learning Resources for this course.

Submit your assignment by Day 7.

Week 11 Project

Final Project: Stress Management Workshop, Evaluation, and Descriptive Narrative

Final Project Due (consisting of 10–15 total pages and 16–25 Microsoft PowerPoint slides)

Descriptive Narrative (5–7 pages):

Describe the population you selected in Week 3 as the intended audience for a stress management workshop.

Synthesize research related to stress management techniques.

Include the stressors common to that population.

Explain the stress management research techniques you selected for your population.

Describe the three original handouts you created on stress management techniques in Week 5.

Justify the strategy used for selecting these techniques for the specific population you selected.

Describe how your stress management presentation from Week 7 is applicable for future use within health psychology.

Explain how the stress management techniques you selected and the stress management workshop you created contribute to social change.

Stress Management Technique Handouts

Submit from Week 5, the three revised handouts of the stress management techniques specific to the population you selected in Week 3.

Stress Management Workshop PowerPoint Presentation

Submit the revised 16- to 25-slide PowerPoint stress management workshop presentation you created in Week 7.

Important Note: Please submit this portion of the Final Project to the Week 11 Project Part 2 link provided below. Do NOT submit it to the Turnitin link. PowerPoint files are not an accepted file format for Turnitin.

Workshop Evaluation

Submit the revised 2- to 3-page workshop evaluation that you created in Week 9 that measures the workshop’s effectiveness.

Support your Final Project with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You are to provide a reference list for all resources, including those in the Learning Resources for this course.

Use the Week 11 Project Part 1 Turnitin link below to submit the descriptive narrative, stress management technique handouts, and workshop evaluation in one Word document.Submit your Final Project by Day 4.

Week 4 Assignment

Application Assignment: Depression and Chronic and Autoimmune Diseases

Focusing on the brighter side of life, while not bad advice, does not account for the numerous biochemical malfunctions that prevent those with depression from doing just that. The impact of depression extends beyond disrupting work and personal relationships. It also can influence the development of a whole bounty of serious illnesses. Stress, depression, and the persistent immune response of inflammation can influence the development of chronic and autoimmune illnesses that permanently alter the direction of a person’s life. With stakes as high as these, the manner in which stress and depression manifests in the body to impact the immune system cannot be underestimated.

For this Application Assignment, review this week’s Learning Resources including the Chronic Disease and Autoimmune Disease sections of the “Stress, The Immune System, Chronic Illness, and Your Body” handout. Then select an illness that has a high co-occurrence with depression. Finally, consider teaching strategies that may reduce the effects of the stress related-illness.

The Assignment (3–5 page APA-formatted essay)

Describe the connection between depression and the illness you selected and explain the factors of the disease you selected that account for its high co-occurrence with depression.

Explain the role of stress hormones and inflammation in this depression related illness

Explain at least three teaching strategies that might reduce the effects of the stress related-illness you select.

Explain the methods you might use to encourage the adoption these strategies to reduce the effects of the stress related-illness.

Support your Application Assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You are to provide a reference list for all resources, including those in the Learning Resources for this course.

Submit your assignment by Day 7.

Also, you should begin planning the design and content for the three original stress management handouts due in Week 5.




Week 6 Assignment

Application Assignment: Problem-Focused and Emotion-Focused Coping

Understanding the difference between stressors that are within your control and those that are not contributes to the foundation of how to resolve or manage the stressor. Lazarus and Folkman, in the early 1980s, introduced problem-focused coping and emotion-focused coping. In the act of primary appraisal, Lazarus and Folkman’s model considers personal beliefs, commitments, goals, and past experiences as the criteria through which threatening events are filtered as perception of the stressor is developed. Imagine how these model characteristics might affect whether emotion-focused or problem-focused coping is used when dealing with a specific stressor.

For this Application Assignment review this week’s Learning Resources. Also in reviewing Chapter 17 of the Handbook of Stress Science course text, the “Focus on Coping” handout, and the introduction to Discussion Question 2 from Week 2, consider both effective and ineffective forms of coping styles. Then think about which coping styles are more common for the population you selected in Week 3. Finally, reflect on how you might address the ineffective forms of these coping styles.

The Assignment (3–5 page APA-formatted essay)

Describe one example each for effective problem-focused, emotion-focused, and biology-focused coping mechanisms and explain why each is effective.

Describe one example each for ineffective problem-focused, emotion-focused, and biology-focused coping mechanisms and explain why each is ineffective.

Explain two approaches you might use to address the most common ineffective coping mechanisms for the population you selected in Week 3.

Support your Application Assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You are to provide a reference list for all resources, including those in the Learning Resources for this course.

Submit your assignment by Day 7.

Also, you should begin planning your stress management Microsoft PowerPoint presentation due in Week 7.





Week 8 Assignment

Application Assignment: Being in the Moment With Mindfulness

When was the last time you took a bath or a shower without feeling pressured to get your day started? The next time you take a shower (or bath) practice being mindful. Stop for a moment and smell the shampoo. Feel the water on your skin and the changes in temperature. Taste the humidity rising from the water. Listen to the sound of the water. When thoughts about the day wander into your mind, gently set them aside and go back to focusing on each of the senses. With practice you can experience the mundane in more vivid and exciting ways.

Unfortunately, as people get busy living, the mundane passes away without acknowledgement and they fail to remember each day in its entirety. Instead, they remember moments of a day. Memories are built from moments when you were paying attention to what your senses were bringing into consciousness. To tune in and be mindful, stop and pay attention to what the five senses are bringing in and processing. What do you hear at this moment? The hum of your monitor, perhaps some soft music creating a peaceful environment? What do you see, smell, taste, and feel?

Maybe you know people who are aware of every aspect in their environment. They notice the broken pattern in an improperly installed tile floor. Maybe they notice every crack in the sidewalk or pick up on the melody that birds sing. While this tendency toward mindfulness may seem like a characteristic of their personality, mindfulness is not a personality trait. It is, rather, a set of skills and processes individuals may use to enhance coping. Mindfulness begins as daily meditation, but the practice is intended to become a way of life with awareness encouraged in every moment. Mindfulness allows moments of self-awareness and personal growth. Herbert Benson (1976) described mindfulness meditation as mental control to induce the relaxation response and reduce cognitive vulnerability to stress and emotional distress. Stress management techniques frequently employ mindfulness approaches.

For this Application Assignment, review this week’s Learning Resources. Then select a daily activity and apply the concept of mindfulness to the performance of the activity. Note any differences in stress level while performing the activity with mindfulness and how you felt while performing it in comparison to past instances of completing the activity.

The Assignment (3–5 page APA-formatted essay)

Describe the daily activity you selected and explain your experience with applying the concept of mindfulness to the performance of this activity

Explain whether applying mindfulness to your daily activity did or did not have an effect on your response to stress.

Explain how you felt in terms of stress response while performing this activity with mindfulness compared to past instances of completing the activity without the influence of mindfulness.

Describe any barriers to mindfulness you may have experienced and explain one way you might overcome one of the barriers.

Explain how performing the activity with mindfulness might influence how you will perform the activity in the future.

Support your Application Assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You are to provide a reference list for all resources, including those in the Learning Resources for this course.

Submit your assignment by Day 7.

Also, you should begin planning and research the content for your workshop evaluation assignment due in Week 9.



Benson, H., & Klipper, M. Z. (1976). The relaxation response. New York, NY: HarperTorch.

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