The effect of effort-distress dimensions in stress coping process on psychological and psychophysiological responses

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate psychological and psychophysiological responses under an effortful coping condition and an distress coping condition. Effortful coping condition was defined as a condition in which a subject reported high commitment to the task and engaged in active coping. Distress coping condition was defined as a condition in which a subject reported uncontrollability and engaged in passive coping. Subjects were 22 male undergraduate students and were divided into 2 groups: control group and experimental group. All of them underwent both effortful coping condition and distress coping condition. In effortful coping condition, Ss were engaged in 2 mental arithmetic task sessions (low effort task and high effort task). In the first session, Ss in both groups were requested to perform the low effort tasks under the same condition. In the second session, Ss in the experimental group were engaged in the high effort task session with rewards, and Ss in the control group were engaged in the low effort task session without rewards. In distress coping condition, Ss were engaged in 2 movie sessions (relaxation movie and aversire movie). In the first session, Ss in both groups were requested to watch the relaxation movie under the same condition. In the second session, Ss in the experimental group watched the aversive movie (eye surgery), and Ss in the control group watched the relaxation movie. Heart rate, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, skin conductance level and skin temperature were recorded, and effort distress scores, and psychological responses were measured. Heart rate, blood pressure, and skin temperature were significantly aroused in effortful coping condition, and Depression-Anxiety score and skin conductance level were significantly aroused in distress coping condition. The results of ANOVAs revealed that a significant interaction among group, condition, and session was found in systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and skin conductance level. These suggest that cardiovascular responses are associated with effort coping, and Depression-Anxiety and skin conductance level are associated with distress coping. Furthermore, the results of regression analyses revealed that the changes of diastolic blood pressure corresponded to the changes of effort score, and that the changes of skin conductance level corresponded to the changes of distress score. Finally, the specific relationship between effort-distress status in stress coping process and psychological-psychophysiological responses were discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-605
Number of pages9
JournalJapanese Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine
Volume38
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1998 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Distress
  • Effort
  • Stress coping process
  • Stress response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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