Theoretical Extensions

Transactional Model of Stress and Coping

Dispositional Coping Styles

Definition: Generalized ways of behaving that can affect a person's emotional or functional reaction to a stressor.
Information Seeking Optimism
Definition: Attentional styles that are vigilant (monitoring) versus those that involve avoidance (blunting). Definition: Tendency to have generalized positive expectancies for outcomes
Application: Monitoring may increase distress and arousal; it may also increase active coping. Blunting may mute excessive worry, but may reduce adherence. Application: optimists may experience fewer symptoms and/or faster recovery from illness

Social Support

Definition: Number and availability of confidants; feelings of interconnectedness.

Application: Can influence adaptation to stressful events, health behaviors and outcomes by acting as a "stress-buffer."

Positive Psychology & Benefit Finding

Definition: Examines how people develop and sustain characteristics such as hope, wisdom, future mindedness, courage, spirituality, and perseverance in the face of significant stress. Benefit finding refers to the identification of positive life changes that have resulted from major stressors.

Application: Endorsing a strong purpose in life, and exhibiting healthful adaptation to internal and environmental stressors, leads to better emotional well-being.

Stress, Coping and Psychoneuroimmunology

Definition: Physiological manifestations of stress. Ongoing exposure to elevated levels of catecholamines, cortisol, and other stress hormones likely contribute to the immune dysregulation associated with chronic stress.

Application: Appraisals and coping should be related to immune function and health.

Public Health Perspectives

Health and illness are products of both individual-level risk and protective factors and contextual factors.

Example: "John Henryism"
Strong behavioral predisposition to cope with psychosocial and environmental stressors. When coupled with severe constraints (low education, low SES, and persistent racism), persistent and highly active coping results in adverse health effects to individuals.