Categories

Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

correlation’

Vulnerability to Stress #2

ART 2 Life events and stress For most people life can be very challenging at times. Everybody experiences major ‘life events’ or ‘life changes’ which can prove acutely stressful and bring about illness – eg: marriage, divorce, death of a close friend or family member, etc, etc. Even Christmas can be acutely stressful! And stress-related illness can contribute to further illness. The idea of ‘life events’ causing stress to the point of illness had begun in 1919 with the ‘life chart’ work of Adolph Meyer. His work became the foundation for the Schedule of Recent Events developed by N G Hawkins, R Davies & Thomas Holmes in 1957; this looked at the cumulative effect of life events in causing stress. (Amusingly Holmes’ interest in the relationship between stress and illness came from finding his mother-in-law’s visits so stressful that he developed a cold every time she came to stay!) In 1967 Thomas Holmes & Richard Rahe added the idea of the magnitude of different life events – measured in ‘life change units’ (LCUs) – to get a more precise understanding of the cumulative effect. They examined the medical records of over 5,000 medical patients as a way to determine whether stressful events might… Read More

Workplace Stress

Relaunched: 13 April 2020 The workplace is commonly acknowledged as one of the most stressful environments most of us have to deal with. Yet, ironically, stress is one of the most common causes of absenteeism from the workplace. According to a 2019 Business in the Community report, 61% of employees have experienced a mental health problem due to work and one in 3 have been formally diagnosed with a mental health issue. So what actors affect occupational stress  and how? Noise in the Environment Many workplaces, particularly in construction and manufacturing, are noisy – often to an unsafe level, requiring ear defenders. But even an open plan office can be noisy. David Glass, Jerome Singer & Lucy Friedman (1969) carried out an investigation in which participants had to carry out tasks under 5 conditions:- loud noises at random soft noises at random loud noises at fixed intervals soft noises at fixed intervals no noise What the researchers found was that the participants performed best under the no noise condition and worst for random loud noises – showing how disruptive unpredictable noise can be. Paul Bell et al (1990) have linked higher noise levels in factories to hypertension, headaches, stomach and intestinal disorders.… Read More

Vulnerability to Stress

Updated: 11 April 2020 Clearly some people become stressed more easily than others and some have the experience of stress – fight or flight  – more strongly than others. So what are the factors that influence these phenomena? A vMEMETIC approach One way of looking at this is to take a Maslowian viewpoint – ie: people have needs and having those needs unfulfilled causes stress. The vMEMES identified via the work of Clare W Graves are then the drivers to fulfil those needs. Of course, Graves held that motivational systems (vMEMES) emerge in symbiotic interaction with the life conditions in the environment – an internal response to external stressors and almost certainly the first emergence of a vMEME is an example of epigenetic modification. Graves’ position has been upheld completely by Chris Cowan (2004). However, Don Beck (2002a), with his concept of the prime directive, does imply that there is a maturational factor in the emergence of vMEMES. He has not said explicitly that vMEMES are programmed to emerge in sequence as someone develops through life, irrespective of the life conditions; but the implication that maturation matters is inescapable. The position Beck appears to be working towards is perhaps best represented… Read More

Stress & Illness

Updated: 27 January 2020 Stress can make you ill! Stress can even kill you! Hans Selye (1936) was arguably the first theorist to carry out scientific research linking illness to chronic stress. Selye noted that the rats in his experiments and hospital patients showed a similar pattern which he termed the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) because it represented the body’s attempts to cope in an adaptive way with stress. GAS has 3 stages – see graphic below. Stage 1 involves increased activity in both the SAM and the HPA systems. In the case of elongated stress, the Alarm reaction occurs 6-48 hours after the trigger of fight or flight and includes loss of muscle tone, drop in body temperature and decreases in size of the spleen and the liver. Stage 2 involves the body adapting to the demands of the environment, with activity in the HPA. As this stage proceeds, the parasympathetic system requires more careful use of the body’s resources to cope. The system is being taxed to its limits, with an increase in the size of the adrenal glands and a decrease in certain pituitary activity such as the production of growth hormones. If the stress is not too… Read More

Money, Islamophobia and the Surge in Right-Wing Extremism

The mosque shootings in New Zealand on 15 March may represent a significant step up in anti- Muslim right-wing terrorism. At the time of writing, while there has been no further incident of major large-scale violence against Muslims, there has been a significant increase in anti-Muslim rhetoric and minor assaults, both verbal and physical, In the UK alone, in the week following the massacre in Christchurch, The Guardian’s Vikram Dodd reports: “…95 incidents were reported… between 15 March, the day of the New Zealand atrocity, and midnight on 21 March. Of those, 85 incidents – 89% of the total – contained direct references to the New Zealand attacks and featured gestures such as mimicking firearms being fired at Muslims…. Verbal abuse directed at Muslims in London in separate incidents is alleged to have included shouts of ‘you need to be shot’, ‘you deserve it’ and ‘Muslims must die’. Incidents were reported in Scotland, where a mosque was attacked; in Stanwell, Surrey, where police declared the stabbing of a teenager to be a suspected far-right terror attack; and in Lancashire. Meanwhile in Birmingham, police continue to hunt for those behind sledgehammer attacks on five mosques.” After the Charlie Hedo shootings in 2015, Juan… Read More

Maintenance and Breakdown of Relationships #2

PART 2 Conflict resolution or breakdown…? Paul Amato & Stacy Rogers (1997) set out, in a longitudinal study (1980-1992), to examine the degree to which reports of marital problems were an accurate predictor of divorce. In 1980 telephone interviewers used random-digit dialling to locate a national sample of 2033 married persons aged 55 years and under. Of those contacted, 78% completed the full interview. The analysis was based on individuals for whom information on marital status existed at 2 or more points in time – ie: 86% of the original 1980 sample. It was found that wives were more likely to report their marital problems than husbands – this was not because husbands had fewer problems; but simply because they tended not to report them. Infidelity, wasting money, drinking or drug use, jealousy, moodiness and irritating habits were found to be the most common grounds cited for divorce. The researchers a high correlation between marital unhappiness and divorce actions. Amato & Rogers concluded that, in many case, it should be possible to predict divorce from reports of marital unhappiness. Of course, the study is vulnerable to criticisms of cultural bias and historical bias as it was conducted in an era when divorce was relatively practicable and relatively accepted… Read More

Maintenance and Breakdown of Relationships

Relaunched: 8 December 2018 George Levinger (1977) developed a 5-stage model of relationships, providing a complete overview from beginning to end. In many ways the first 3 stages parallel the Stimulus-Value-Role model of Bernard Murstein (1970). However, like Ichak Adizes (1999) who applied his Organisation LifeCycle concept to relationships, the last 2 stages imply a certain inevitability that a relationship will decline unless strategies are deployed to maintain the relationship and keep it in what Adizes calls ‘Prime’. The first intention of this piece is to consider how relationships can kept in Prime or brought back to it. It is usually relatively easy to keep a relationship going in the ‘first flushes’ of love when the partners idealise each other and there is lots of sexual activity. A year or so later when sexual activity has decreased – William H James‘ (1981) ‘honeymoon effect’ – and the partners are struggling to deal with the ‘daily grind of real life’, maintaining those idealised feelings about your partner and the relationship can be quite a task. Peter Pineo (1961) identified that, in many marriages, relationship satisfaction decreases almost linearly with length of time of the relationship. Ted Huston, Susan McHale & Ann Crouter (1986)… Read More

Romantic Relationships: Economic Theories

Relaunched: 27 November 2018 Simon Green et al (2016, p149-150) write: “The economic approach works on the assumption that people run relationships in a similar way to a joint bank account – keeping an eye on what they and their partner are putting into and getting out of the relationship. The theories share the view that people may choose to move on if someone else offers a better ‘deal’, in a similar way to a bank offering an incentive to join them. Economic theories help to explain how couples keep their relationship going and the decision to stay or go when relationships get into difficulties.” Social Exchange Theory Developed by John Thibaut & Harold Kelley (1959) from the work of George Homans (1958), this approach is based on the precept that people try to maximise the rewards from a relationship – eg: attention, affection – while minimising the costs – eg: time and effort, dealing with the other person’s emotional problems. The underlying assumptions is that people seek out and maintain those relationships in which the rewards exceed the costs. The minimum acceptable  for a relationship to form and be sustained is that rewards received should at least equal rewards given. The establishment of a… Read More

What is Romantic Love? #3

PART 3 Triangle of Love Following on from their work on the famous  Love Quiz, Phil Shaver & Cindy Hazan  (Phil Shaver, Cindy Hazan & Donna Bradshaw, 1988) proposed that love is composed of 3 behavioural systems:- attachment caregiving sexuality The 3 systems interact to produce the adult love style. According to Shaver, Hazan & Bradshaw, the attachment and caregiving systems are acquired in infancy. The latter is knowledge gained about how one cares for others, learned by modelling the behaviour of the primary attachment figure – effectively an internal working model of John Bowlby’s Continuity Hypothesis. The sexuality system is also learned in relation to early attachment – eg: insecure-avoidant individuals, with their PURPLE vMEME’s safety-in-belonging needs unfulfilled, are more likely to have the view that sex without love is pleasurable There is considerable correspondence with the work of Berscheid & Walster, as well as the Triangle of Love theory of Robert J Sternberg (1986). Shaver, Hazan & Bradshaw, for example, proposed that companionate love would include attachment and caregiving but not necessarily sexuality. Passionate or romantic love might involve only sexuality. Sternberg’s theory is, in his own words, a theory of ‘consummate love’, comprised of components or elements. The model is illustrated below… Sternberg explains the… Read More

What is Romantic Love? #2

PART 2 Women and genes If resources are one key element women want from a relationship, what about the other key element: ‘good genes’? The female’s drive to acquire ‘good genes’ in the making of her children is a critical driver in Sexual Selection (Darwin, 1871). Traits in the male which are seen as attractive to the female and thus will aid the male’s chances of mating and thus passing on his genes are considered ‘sexually selected’. The more men have these traits, the more they are considered desirable by women. After all, when the woman puts a minimum of 6 years into having a child, it’s important the children she produces are ‘attractive’ and thus have an increased likelihood of being able to pass on their genes in the competitive environment of human reproduction. According to Ronad A Fisher’s (1930) Sexy Sons Hypothesis (aka Runaway Process), traits which one generation of females find attractive are also likely to be attractive to the next generation – hence the universals of attractiveness discussed on the previous page.  Therefore, if her sons inherit the traits that attracted her, the mother’s genes are more likely to be passed on because the sons from such a mating… Read More