Psychology Retooling Institute and Seminar for the Mid-Atlantic I



Index prism I & II

Jim Bell
Howard Community College

Ron Boykin
Northern Virginia Community College

Diane Daniel
Montgomery College

 I.Overview       II.Learning Objectives    III. Content Guidelines
IV. Sample Activities and Assignments     V. Resources and References    VI. Contact Us


This module has been designed to help students understand the complex relationships among environmental variables, psychological processes and physical well-being. It also aims to provide students with a greater range of coping skills.

II.Learning Objectives

Reading Assignment: Lahey, 6th edition; Chapter 12

1. Describe the goals of health psychology and distinguish between stress & stressors (as explained in class) (p. 434)

2. Distinguish among the following types of conflict: approach- approach, avoidance-avoidance, approach-avoidance and multiple approach-avoidance (pp. 434-436)

3. Discuss the relationship between life events and stress (pp. 437-439)

4. Describe biological reactions that take place during stress, including the General Adaptation Syndrome (pp. 440-441)

5. Explain the interaction between stress and the immune system (pp. 442-443)

6. Describe four major factors that influence a person's reactions to stress (pp. 444-446)

7. Describe cognitive factors in stress reactions and distinguish between sensitizers and repressors  (pp. 446-447)

8. Identify the characteristics of the Type A personality and explain the relationship between Type A personality and heart disease (pp. 447-448)

9. Describe three effective methods of coping with stress  (pp. 450-451)

10. Describe three ineffective strategies of coping with stress (pp. 451-452)

11. Explain what defense mechanisms defend against and distinguish among the major defense mechanisms  (p. 452)

12. Describe the healthy life style choices that are associated with reduced stress (pp. 453-457)

 13. Summarize the role health psychology can play in the prevention and treatment of AIDS (pp. 460-462)

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III. Content Guidelines:

Preparation for this instructional unit

Distribute learning objectives for text assignment

Some suggested homework assignments before class

1) Have students read the chapter and write out answers for all objectives before class

2) Small group (4 students) assignment:

Just before class begins Bonus Points Mini-quiz At the beginning of class students are given the opportunity to earn 2 or 3 bonus points as a reward for having done the assignment.   Distribute note cards and have students answer a simple (and easy to grade!) question based directly on the homework assignment as stated above.   Example: Name the 3 stages of the General Adaptation Syndrome. Outline of Lecture/Discussion

I. Definitions
    A. Stress - a psychobiological state
    B. Stressors - causal agents

(Show video segment - Managing Stress - 1st 5 min only)

(Begin constructing a concept map ...Constructing the map should be an interactive process)

II. Stress
    A. "Fight-or-flight response"
    B. General Adaptation Syndrome
    C. Stress and illness (make additions to concept map)
        1. Medical illnesses
        2. Psychological illnesses
    D. Think-Pair-Share
        (What are disadvantages and advantages of stress?)

III. Stressors (make additions to concept map)

    A. Life Changes
        (Distribute & discuss Student Stress Scale - Use Holmes and Rahe "Social Readjustment Rating Scale)
    B. Hassles
    C. Conflicts
        1. Approach-approach
        2. Avoidance-avoidance
        3. Approach-avoidance
        4. Multiple approach-avoidance

IV. Moderator Variables - factor influencing stress levels           (make additions to concept map)
    A. Interpretation
        Think-Pair-Share  (Demonstrate through example, how one's interpretation of an event can affect stress level)
    B. Resources
        1. Material resources
        2. Social supports
    C. Personality
        1. Sensitizer & Repressors
        2. Type A & Type B
            Hostility Questionnaire
    D. Predictability & Control
    E. Prior experience

V. Coping (make additions to concept map)
    A. Effective Coping Strategies
        1. Removing or reducing stressors
            a. "Attack" the problem
            b. Leave
            c. Compromise
        2. Cognitive coping
            a. Reappraisal
            b. Social Comparison
            c. Humor
        3. Managing bodily responses
            a. Exercise
            b. Diet and sleep
            c. Hypnosis, meditation, prayer
    B. Ineffective Coping Strategies
        1. Withdrawal through drugs or apathy
        2. Aggression
        3. Defense Mechanisms
                (Small groups complete worksheet  2)

VI. Wrap-up Activity
    A. Think-Pair-Share

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IV. Sample Activities and Assignments:

 1) Designing a Controlled Experiment:

Imagine that you are a psychologist who is very interested in helping people deal with the stress in their lives. Select a stressor that you believe is common in the lives of many Americans today. What do you think might be an effective coping strategy for dealing with the resulting stress?  Describe, in detail, a controlled experiment to test your hypothesis. In your description, be sure to:

2. Application of Concepts

Think about a time during the past year that you experienced a lot of stress. With this in mind, respond to the following:

3. Create a Crossword Puzzle Create your own crossword puzzle using terms and concepts you have learned from this unit on Stress, Health, and Coping. You sill need to write the clues AND fill in the squares. Avoid long textbook definitions for you clues. In order to get full credit for this assignment, you should have at least 10 "across" words and 10 "down" words. 4. View the Video Ordinary People (1980) 5. Diary Assignment 6. Time Management Use the library or the Internet to find at least four sources which deal with time management. Answer this question: In what ways can I better manage my time to reduce my stress?
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Index prism I & II

V. Resources and References

Lahey, B. Psychology: an Introduction, 6th ed. McGraw- Hill, 1998.

Video Segment
Managing Stress, 1989. CRM Films, 2215 Farraday Ave., Carlsbad, CA 92008.

Hostility Questionnaire
Redford, W. & Redford, V. Anger Kills: seventeen strategies for controlling the hostility that can harm your health, Random House, N.Y., 1993.

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VI. Contact Us:

Jim Bell, Ph.D
Howard Community College
10901 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, MD 21044

Ronald Boykin, Ph.D.
Social Sciences and Public Services
Northern Virginia Community College
3001 N. Beauregard Street
Alexandria, VA 22311

Diane Daniel, PhD.
Psychology Department
Montgomery College
20200 Observation Drive
Germantown, MD 20876

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Worksheet 2



Identify the defense mechanism being used in each of the following statements or situations:

1. After a very stressful day at work, Sarina arrives home and immediately begins yelling at her two children for not cleaning their rooms. 2. After Doloris rejected him, Philip told his friends that he didn't think she was very attractive or interesting, and that he really wasn't all that crazy about her. 3. Sixteen-year-old Theodore had started using drugs, and the changes in his behavior made it pretty obvious, but his parents didn't believe the school principal when she called to talk with them about the problem.

4. Norman behaves like a stereotypical "he man," but he is actually anxious and insecure about his gender identity.

5. George's new supervisor is very difficult to work for. Recently George has begun stopping off at the gym after work.

6. Frank feels that his younger son, Ralph, is unattractive and not very smart. Frank accuses his wife of picking on Ralph and favoring their other son.

7. Many people who were interned in concentration camps were unable to recall events that happened in the camp during their internment.
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