Odisha State Board CHSE Odisha Class 12 Psychology Solutions Unit 2 Long Answer Questions Part-2.
CHSE Odisha 12th Class Psychology Unit 2 Long Answer Questions Part-2
Long Questions With Answers
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Stress?
The way we respond to stress varies depending upon our personality, early upbringing and life experiences. Everyone has their own pattern of stress response. So the warning signs may vary, as may their intensity. Some of us know our pattern of stress response and can gauge the depth of the problem by the nature and severity of our own symptoms or changes in behavior.
These symptoms of stress can be physical, emotional and behavioral. Any of the symptoms can indicate a degree of stress which, if left unresolved, might have serious implications, that are often unavoidable such as air pollution, crowding, noise, the heat of the summer, winter cold, etc. Another group of environmental stresses are catastrophic events or disasters such as fire, earthquake, floods, etc.
Discuss the Types of Stress.
The three major types of stress, viz. physical and. environmental, psychological, and social are listed. It is important to understand that all these types of stress are interrelated.
Physical and Environmental Stress :
Physical stresses are demands that change the state of our body. We feel strained when, we overexert ourselves physically, lack a nutritious diet, suffer an injury, or fail to get enough sleep. Environmental stresses are aspects of our surroundings.
Psychological Stress :
These are stresses that we generate ourselves in our minds. These are personal and unique to the person experiencing them and are internal sources of stress. We worry about problems, feel anxiety, or become depressed. These are, not only symptoms of stress, but they cause further stress for us. Some of the important sources of psychological stress are frustration, conflicts, internal and social pressures, etc.
Frustration results from the blocking of needs and motives by something “or someone that hinders us from achieving the desired goal. There could be a number of causes of frustration such as social discrimination, interpersonal hurt, low grades in school, etc.
Conflicts may occur between two or more incompatible needs or motives, e.g. whether to study dance or psychology. You may want to continue your studies or take up a job. There may be a conflict of values when you are pressurised to take any action that may be against the values held by you.
Internal pressures stem from beliefs based upon expectations from inside us to ourselves such as, ‘I must do everything perfectly. Such expectations can only lead to disappointment. Many of us drive ourselves ruthlessly towards achieving unrealistically high standards in achieving our goals.
Social pressures may be brought about from people who make excessive demands on us. This can cause even greater pressure when we have to work with them. Also, there are people with whom we face interpersonal difficulties, ‘a personality clash’ of sorts.
Social Stress :
These are induced externally and result from our interaction with other people. Social events like death or illness in the family, strained relationships, and trouble with neighbors are some Examples of social stresses. These social stresses vary widely from person to person. Attending parties may be stressful for a person who likes to spend quiet evenings at home while an outgoing person may find staying at home in the evenings stressful.
Write the Sources of Stress.
A wide range of events and conditions Can generate stress. Among the most important of these are major stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one or personal.
Changes, both big and small, sudden and gradual affect our life from the moment we are born. We learn to cope with small, everyday changes but major life events can be stressful because they disturb our routine and cause upheaval. If several of these life events that are planned (e.g. moving into a new house) or unpredicted (e.g. break-up of a long-term relationship) occur within a short period of time, we find it difficult to cope with them and will be more prone to the symptoms of stress.
A Measure of Stressful Life Events
|Life Events Mean Stress Score|
|Death of a close family member||66|
|Unexpected accident or trauma||53|
|Illness of a family member||52|
|Break-up with friend||47|
|Appearing for examinations||43|
|Change in eating habits||27|
The mean number of stressful life events experienced over a period of one year. Holmes and Rahe developed a life event measure of stress. A measure of stressful life events based on the above scale known as the Presumptive Stressful Life Events Scale has been developed for the Indian population by Singh, Kaur and Kaur. It is a self-rating questionnaire made up of fifty-one life changes, that a person may have experienced. Each of these life events is assigned a numerical value in terms of their severity.
For example, the death of one’s spouse is assigned 95, personal illness or injury 56, failure in examination 43, appearing for examination or interview 43, and change in sleeping habits 33, as the mean stress score. Both positive and negative events are taken, believing that both kinds of changes cause stress. The respondent’s stress score is the weighted sum of all the items/life change events in the past one year checked by her/him. Some sample items of without producing overt physical or mental illness is approximately two.
However, the correlations between life events and susceptibility to any particular illness is low, indicating a weak association between life events and stress. It has been argued as to whether life events have caused some stress-related illness or whether stress caused life events and illness. The impact of most life events varies from person to person.
Factors such as age at which the event was first experienced, frequency of occurrence, duration of the stressful event and social support must be studied in evaluating the relationship between stressful life events and the subsequent illness episode, injury, the annoying frequent hassles of everyday life and traumatic events that affect our lives.
These are the personal stresses we endure as individuals, due to the happenings in our daily life, such as noisy surroundings, commuting, quarrelsome neighbors, electricity and water shortage, traffic snarls and so on. Attending to various emergencies are daily hassles experienced by a housewife. There are some jobs in which daily hassles are very frequent. These daily hassles may sometimes have devastating consequences for the individual who is often the one coping alone with them as others may not even be aware of them as outsiders. The more stress people report as a result of daily hassles, the poorer is their psychological well-being.
Traumatic Events :
These include being involved in a variety of extreme events such as a fire, train or road accident, robbery, earthquake, tsunami, etc. The effects of these events may occur after some lapse of time and sometimes persist as symptoms of anxiety, flashbacks, dreams and intrusive thoughts, etc. Severe trauma can also strain relationships. Professional help will be needed to cope with them especially if they persist for many months after the event is over.
What is the Effects of Stress on Psychological Functioning and Health,
Many of the effects are physiological in nature, however, other changes also occur inside stressed individuals. There are four major effects of stress associated with the stressed state, viz. emotional, physiological, cognitive, and behavioral.
Emotional Effects :
Those who suffer from stress are far more likely to experience mood swings and show erratic behavior that may alienate them from family and friends. In some cases this can start a vicious circle of decreasing confidence, leading to more serious emotional problems. Some examples are feelings of anxiety and depression, increased physical tension, increased psychological tension and mood swings. Box 3.2 presents the phenomenon of ‘Examination Anxiety’.
Physiological Effects :
When the human body is placed under physical or psychological stress, it increases the production of certain hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones produce marked changes in heart rate, blood pressure levels, metabolism and physical activity. Although this physical reaction will help us to function more effectively when we are under pressure for short periods of time, it can be extremely damaging to the body in the long-term effects. Examples of physiological effects are release of epinephrine and norepinephrine, slowing down of the digestive system, expansion of air passages in the lungs, increased heart rate, and constriction of blood vessels.
Cognitive Effects :
If pressures due to stress continue, one may suffer from mental overload. This suffering from high level of stress can rapidly cause individuals to lose their ability to make sound decisions. Faulty decisions made at home, in career, or at the workplace may lead to arguments, failure, financial loss or even loss of job. Cognitive effects of stress are poor concentration and reduced short-term memory capacity.
Stress affects our behavior in the form of eating less nutritional food, increasing intake of stimulants such as caffeine, excessive consumption of cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs such as tranquilizers etc. Tranquilizers can be addictive and have side effects such as loss of concentration, poor coordination and dizziness. Some of the typical behavioral effects of stress seen are disrupted sleep patterns, increased absenteeism, and reduced work performance.
Stress and Health :
You must have often observed that many of your friends (maybe including yourself as well!) fall sick during examination time. They suffer from stomach upsets, body aches, nausea, diarrhea and fever etc. You must have also noticed that people, who are unhappy in their personal lives fall sick more often than those who are happy and enjoy life. Chronic daily stress can divert an individual’s attention from caring for herself or himself.
When stress is prolonged, it affects physical health and impairs psychological functioning.People experience exhaustion and attitudinal problems when the stress due to demands from the environment and constraints are too high and little support is available from family and friends. Physical exhaustion is seen in the signs of chronic fatigue, weakness and low energy. Mental exhaustion appears in the form of irritability, anxiety, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
This state of physical, emotional and psychological exhaustion is known as burnout. There is also convincing evidence to show that stress can produce changes in the immune system and increase the chances of someone becoming ill. Stress has been implicated in the development of cardiovascular disorders, high blood pressure, as well as psychosomatic disorders including ulcers, asthma, allergies and headaches. Researchers estimate that stress plays an important role in fifty to seventy percent of all physical illnesses. Studies also reveal that sixty percent of medical visits are primarily for stress-related symptoms.
General Adaptation Syndrome :
What happens to the body when stress is prolonged? Selye studied this issue by subjecting animals to a variety of stressors such as high temperature, X-rays, and insulin injections, in the laboratory over a long period of time. He also observed patients with various injuries and illnesses in hospitals. Selye noticed a similar pattern of bodily response in all of them. He called this pattern the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS). According to him, GAS involves three stages: alarm reaction, resistance and exhaustion.
Alarm reaction stage :
The presence of a noxious stimulus or stressor leads to the activation of the adrenal pituitary- cortex system. This triggers the release of hormones producing the stress response. Now the individual is ready for fight or flight.
Resistance stage :
If stress is prolonged, the resistance stage begins. The parasympathetic nervous system calls for more cautious use of the body’s resources. The organism makes efforts to cope with the threat, as through confrontation.
Continued exposure to the same stressor or additional stressors drains the body of its resources and leads to the third stage of exhaustion. The physiological systems involved in alarm reaction and resistance become ineffective and susceptibility to stress-related diseases such as high blood pressure becomes more likely. Selye’s model has been criticized for assigning a very limited role to psychological factors in stress. Researchers have reported that the psychological appraisal of events is important for the determination of stress. How people respond to stress is substantially influenced by their perceptions, personalities and biological constitutions.
Stress and the Immune System:
Stress ean cause illness by impairing the workings of the immune system. The immune system guards the body against attackers, both from within and outside.
Psychoneuroimmunology focuses on the links between the mind, the brain and the immune system. It studies the effects of stress on the immune system. How does the immune system work? The white blood cells (leucocytes) within the immune (antigens) such as viruses. It also leads to the production of antibodies. There are several kinds of white blood cells or leucocytes within the immune system, including T cells, B cells and natural killer cells. T cells destroy invaders, and T-helper cells increase immunological activity. It is these T-helper cells that are attacked by the Human Immuno Deficiency Virus (HIV), the virus causing Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). B cells produce antibodies.
Natural killer cells are involved in the fight against both viruses and tumors, Stress can affect natural killer cell cytotoxicity, which is of major importance in the defense against various infections and cancer. Reduced levels of natural, killer cell cytotoxicity have been found in people who are highly stressed, including students facing important examinations, bereaved persons, and those who are severely depressed. Studies reveal that immune functioning is better in individuals receiving social support. Also, changes in the immune system will have more effect on health among those whose immune systems are already weakened.
Figure 3.4 depicts this sequence comprising negative emotions, release of stress hormones which lead to the weakening of the immune system, thereby affecting mental and physical health. Psychological stress is accompanied by negative emotions and associated behaviors, including depression, hostility, anger and aggression. Negative emotional states are of particular concern to the study of the effects of stress on health. The incidence of psychological disorders, such as panic attacks and obsessive behavior increases with the build-up of long-term stress. Worries can reach such a level that they surface as a frightening, painful physical sensation, which can be mistaken for a heart attack.
People under prolonged stress are more prone to irrational fears, mood swings and phobias, and may experience fits of depression, anger and irritability. These negative emotions appear to be related to the function of the immune system. Our ability to interpret our world and to invest that interpretation with personal meaning and emotion have a powerful and direct effect on the body. Negative moods have been associated with poorer health outcomes. Feelings of hopelessness are related to the worsening of disease and increased risk of injury and death due to various causes.
Stress can lead, to unhealthy lifestyles or health-damaging behavior. Lifestyle is th,e overall pattern of decisions and behaviors that determine a person’s health and quality of life. Stressed individuals may be more likely to expose themselves to pathogens, which are agents causing physical illness. People who are stressed have poor nutritional habits, sleep less and are likely to engage in other health-risking behaviors like smoking and alcohol abuse. Such health-impairing behaviors develop gradually and are accompanied by pleasant experiences temporarily.
However, we tend to ignore their long-term damaging effects and underestimate the risk they pose to our lives. Studies have revealed that health-promoting behavior like a balanced diet, regular exercise, family support, etc. play an important role in good health. Adhering to a lifestyle that includes a balanced low-fat diet, regular exercise and continued activity along with positive thinking enhances health and longevity. The modem lifestyle of excesses in eating, drinking and the so called fast-paced good life has led to violation of basic principles of health in some of us, as to what we eat, think or do with our lives.
How to cope up with Stress?
In recent years the conviction has grown that it is how we cope with stress and not the stress one experiences that influence our psychological well-being, social functioning and health. Coping is a dynamic situation-specific reaction to stress. It is a set of concrete responses to stressful situations or events that are intended to resolve the problem and reduce stress. The way we cope with stress often depends on rigid deep-seated beliefs, based on experience, e.g. when caught in a traffic jam we feel angry because we believe that the traffic ‘should’ move faster.
To manage stress we often need to reassess the way we think and learn coping strategies. People who cope poorly with stress have an impaired immune response and diminished activity of natural killer cells. Individuals show consistent individual differences in the coping strategies they use to handle stressful situations. These can include both overt and covert activities.
The three coping strategies given by Endler and Parker are:
Task-oriented Strategy :
This involves obtaining information about the stressful situation and about alternative courses of action and their probable outcome; it also involves deciding priorities and acting so as to deal directly with the stressful situation. For example, schedule my time better, or think about how I have solved similar problems.
This can involve efforts to maintain hope and to control one’s emotions; it can also involve venting feelings of anger and frustration, or deciding that nothing can be done to change things. For example, tell myself that it is not really happening to me, or worry about what I am going to do.
This involves denying or minimizing the seriousness of the situation; it also involves conscious suppression of stressful thoughts and their replacement by self-protective thoughts. Examples of this are watching TV, phone up a friend, or try to be with other people. Lazarus and Folkman has conceptualized coping as a dynamic process rather than an individual trait. Coping refers to constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to master, reduce or tolerate the internal or external demands that are created by the stressful transaction.
Coping serves to allow the individual to manage or alter a problem and regulate the emotional response to that problem. According to them coping responses can be divided into two types of responses, problem-focused and emotion-focused. Problem-focused -strategies attack the problem itself, with behaviors designed to gain information, to alter the event, and to alter belief and commitments. They increase the person’s awareness, level of knowledge, and range of behavioral and cognitive coping options. They can act to reduce the threat value of the event.
For example “I made a plan of action and followed it”. Emotion-focused strategies call for psychological changes designed primarily to limit the degree of emotional disruption caused by an event, with minimal effort to alter the event itself. For example “I did some things to let it out of my system”. While both problem-focused and emotion-focused coping are necessary when facing stressful situations, research suggests that people generally tend to use the former more often than the latter.
Stress Management Techniques:
Stress is a silent killer. It is estimated to play a significant role in physical illness and disease. Hypertension, heart disease, ulcers, diabetes and even cancer are linked to stress. Due to lifestyle changes stress is on the increase. Therefore, schools, other institutions, offices and communities are concerned about knowing techniques to manage stress. Some of these techniques are.
Relaxation Techniques :
It is an active skill that reduces symptoms of stress and decreases the incidence of illnesses such as high blood pressure and heart disease. Usually, relaxation starts from the lower part of the body and progresses up to the facial muscles in such a way that the whole body is relaxed. Deep breathing is used along with muscle relaxation to calm the mind and relax the body.
Meditation Procedures :
The yogic method of meditation consists of a sequence of learned techniques for refocusing of attention that brings about an altered state of consciousness. It involves such a thorough concentration that the meditator becomes unaware, of any outside stimulation and reaches a different state of consciousness.
It is a procedure to monitor and reduce the physiological aspects of stress by providing feedback about current physiological activity and is often accompanied by relaxation training. Biofeedback training involves three stages: developing an awareness of the particular physiological response, e.g. heart rate, learning ways of controlling that physiological response in quiet conditions; and transferring that control into the conditions of everyday life.
It is an effective technique for dealing with stress. Creative visualization is a subjective experience that uses imagery and imagination. Before visualizing one must set oneself a realistic goal, as it helps build confidence. It is easier to visualize if one’s mind is quiet, body relaxed and eyes are closed. This reduces the risk of interference from unbidden thoughts and provides the creative energy needed for turning an imagined scene into reality.
Cognitive Behavioural Techniques :
These techniques aim to inoculate people against stress. Stress inoculation training is one effective method developed by Meichenbaum. The essence of this approach is to replace negative and irrational thoughts with positive and rational ones.
There are three main phases in this: assessment, stress reduction techniques, and application and follow-through. Assessment involves discussing the nature of the problem and seeing it from the viewpoint of the person/client. Stress reduction involves learning the techniques of reducing stress such as relaxation and self-instruction.
Exercise can provide an active outlet for the physiological arousal experienced in response to stress. Regular exercise improves the efficiency of the heart, enhances the function of the lungs, maintains good circulation, lowers blood pressure, reduces fat in the blood and improves the body’s immune system. Swimming, walking, running, cycling, skipping, etc. help to reduce stress. One must practice these exercises at least four times a week for 30 minutes at a time. Each session must have a warm-up, exercise and cool-down phases.
What is Stress-Resistant Personality?
Recent studies by Kobasa have shown that people with high levels of stress but low levels of illness share three characteristics, which are referred to as the personality traits of hardiness. It consists of ‘the three Cs i.e. commitment, control and challenge. Hardiness is a set of beliefs about oneself, the world, and how they interact. It takes shape as a Sense of personal commitment to what you are doing, a sense of control over your life and a feeling of challenge.
Stress-resistant personalities have control which is a sense of purpose and direction in life; commitment to work, family, hobbies and social life and challenge, that is, they see changes in life as normal and positive rather than as a threat. Everyone does not have these characteristics, many of us have to relearn specific life skills in areas such as rational thinking and assertiveness to equip ourselves better to cope with the demands of everyday life, etc.
Life Skills :
Life skills are abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. Our ability to cope depends on how well we are prepared to deal with and-counterbalance everyday demands and keep equilibrium in our lives. These life skills can be learned and even improved upon. Assertiveness, time management, rational thinking, improving relationships, self-care and overcoming unhelpful habits such as perfectionism, and procrastination, etc. are some life skills that will help to meet the challenges of life.
Assertiveness is a behavior or skill that helps to communicate, clearly and confidently, our feelings, needs, wants and thoughts. It is the ability to say no to a request, to state an opinion without being self-conscious, or to express emotions such as love, anger, etc. openly. If you are assertive, you feel confident and have high self-esteem and a solid sense of your own identity.
The way you spend your time determines the quality of your life. Learning how to plan time and delegate can help to relieve the pressure. The major way to reduce time stress is to change one’s perception of time. The central principle of time management is to spend your time doing the things that you value, or that help you to achieve your goals. It depends on being realistic about what you know and that you must do it within a certain time period, knowing what you want to do and organizing your life to achieve a balance between the two.
Rational Thinking :
Many stress-related problems occur as a result of distorted thinking. The way you think and the way you feel are closely connected. When we are stressed, we have an inbuilt selective bias to attend to negative thoughts and images from the past, which affect our perception of the present and the future. Some of the principles of rational thinking are: challenging your distorted thinking and irrational beliefs, driving out potentially intrusive negative anxiety-provoking thoughts and making positive statements.
The key to a sound lasting relationship is communication. This consists of three essential skills: listening to what the other person is saying, expressing how you feel and what you think and accepting the other person’s opinions and feelings, even if they are different from your own. It also requires us to avoid misplaced jealousy and sulking behavior.
If we keep ourselves healthy, fit and relaxed, we are better prepared physically and emotionally to tackle the stresses of everyday life. Our breathing patterns reflect our state of mind and emotions. When we are stressed or anxious, we tend towards rapid and shallow breathing from high in the chest, with frequent sighs. The most relaxed breathing is slow, stomach-centered breathing from the diaphragm, i.e. a dome-like muscle between the chest and the abdominal cavity. Environmental stresses like noise, pollution, space, light, color, etc. can all exert an influence on our mood. These have a noticeable effect on our ability to cope with stress and well-being.
Overcoming Unhelpful Habits:
Unhelpful habits such as perfectionism, avoidance, procrastination, etc. are strategies that help to cope in the short-term but which make one more vulnerable to stress. Perfectionists are persons who have to get everything just right. They have difficulty in varying standards according to factors such as time available, consequences of not being able to stop work, and the effort needed. They are more likely to feel tense and find it difficult to relax, are critical of self and others and may become inclined to avoid challenges.
Avoidance is to put the issue under the carpet and refuse to accept or face it. Procrastination means putting off what we know we need to do. We all are, guilty of saying “I will do it later”. People who procrastinate are deliberately avoiding confronting their fears of failure or rejection. Various factors have been identified which facilitate the development of positive health.
Health is a state of complete physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Positive health comprises the following constructs: “a healthy body high quality of personal relationships; a sense of purpose in life; self-regard, mastery of life’s tasks and resilience to stress, trauma, and change”. Box 3.3 presents the relationship between resilience and health. Specifically, factors that act as stress buffers and facilitate positive health are diet, exercise, positive attitude, positive thinking and social support.
A balanced diet can lift one’s mood, give more energy, feed muscles, improve circulation, prevent illness, strengthen the immune system and make one feel better to cope with stresses of life. The key to healthy living is to eat three main meals a day and eat a varied well-balanced diet. How much nutrition one needs depends on one’s activity level, genetic makeup, climate and health history. What people eat and how much do they weigh involve behavioral processes. Some people are able to maintain a healthy diet and weight while others become obese. When we are stressed, we seek ‘comfort foods that are high in fats, salt and sugar.
A large number of studies confirm a consistently positive relationship between physical fitness and health. Also, of all the measures an individual can take to improve health, exercise is the lifestyle change with the widest popular approval. Regular exercise plays an important role in managing weight and stress and is shown to have a positive effect on reducing tension, anxiety and depression.Physical exercises that are essential for good health are stretching exercises such as yogic asanas and aerobic exercises such as jogging, swimming, cycling, etc. Whereas stretching exercises have a calming effect, aerobic exercises increase the arousal level of the body. The health benefits of exercise work as a stress buffer. Studies suggest that fitness permits individuals to maintain general mental and physical well-being even in the face of negative life events.
Positive health and well-being can be realized by having a positive attitude. Some of the factors leading to a positive attitude are: having a fairly accurate perception of reality; a sense of purpose in life and responsibility; acceptance and tolerance for different viewpoints of others and taking credit for success and accepting blame for failure. Finally, being open to new ideas and having a sense of humor with the ability to laugh at oneself help us to remain centered Mid see things in a proper perspective.
The power of positive thinking has been increasingly recognized in reducing and coping with stress. Optimism, which is the inclination to expect favorable life outcomes, has been linked to psychological and physical well-being. People differ in the manner in which they cope. For example, optimists tend to assume that adversity can be handled successfully whereas pessimists anticipate disasters. Optimists use more problem-focused coping strategies, and seek advice and help from others. Pessimists ignore the problem or source of stress and use strategies such as giving up the goal with which stress is interfering or denying that stress exists.
Social support is defined as the existence and availability of people on whom we can rely upon, people who let us know that they care about, value and love us. Someone who believes that she/he belongs to a social network of communication and mutual obligation experiences social support. Perceived support, i.e. the quality of social support is positively related to health and well-being. In contrast, social network, i.e. the quantity of social support is unrelated to well-being because it is very time-consuming and demanding to maintain a large social network.
Studies have revealed that women exposed to life event stresses, who had a close friend, were less likely to be depressed and had lesser medical complications during pregnancy. Social support can help to provide protection against stress. People with high levels of social support from family and friends may experience less stress when they confront a stressful experience, and they may cope with it more successfully. Social support may be in the form of tangible support or assistance involving material aid, such as money, goods, services, etc.
For example, a child gives notes to her/his friend, since she/he was absent from school due to sickness. Family and friends also provide informational support about stressful events. For example, a student facing a stressful event such as a difficult board examination, if provided information by a friend who has faced a similar one, would not only be able to identify the exact procedures involved, but also it would facilitate in determining what resources and coping strategies could be useful to successfully pass the examination.
During times of stress, one may experience sadness, anxiety, and loss of self-esteem. Supportive friends and family provide emotional support by reassuring the individual that she/he is loved, valued, and cared for. Research has demonstrated that social support effectively reduces psychological distress such as depression or anxiety, during times of stress. There is growing evidence that social support is positively related to psychological well-being. Generally, social support leads to mental health benefits for both the giver and the receiver.
Effect of noise on Child health.
Children’s reading abilities, cognitive development, physiological indicators, and motivational tasks are affected by exposure to noise. The most common noises that children are exposed to are transportation (e.g. cars, airplanes), music and other people. Evans’ research reveals significant reading delays for children living near airports and exposed to airport noise. He and his colleagues found these delays in reading to occur alnoise levels far below those required to produce hearing damage or loss.
Chronic and acute noise exposure also affects cognitive development, particularly long-term memory, especially if the task is complex. Short-term memory appears to be less affected, but this is dependent upon volume of noise. One way that children adapt to chronic noise is by disregarding or ignoring auditory input. A consequence of this coping strategy is that children also tune out speech, which is a basic and required component of reading. As a result, not only are children’s reading abilities affected, but also their abilities at tasks that require speech perception.
Noise levels also indirectly influence children’s cognitive development via their effect on the adults and teachers who interact with children. Teachers in noisy schools are more fatigued, annoyed and less patient than teachers in quieter schools. Teachers in noisy schools also losC instruction time due to noise distractions and have a compromised teaching style. Children exposed to chronic loud noise also experience a rise in blood pressure, and stress hormones. And children as young as four are less motivated to perform on challenging language and pre-reading tasks under conditions of exposure to chronic noise.
Short notes :
Research demonstrates that crowding has an effect on interpersonal behaviors, mental health, motivation, cognitive development and biological measures. Family size has not been found to be a critical factor in crowding. Rather, Evans identifies density, or number of people per room, as the crucial variable for measuring effects of crowding on children’s development. Regarding child development, Evans has found that 10-12-year-old children are more likely to withdraw in overcrowded situations. Children may engage in withdrawal behavior as a means of coping with an overstimulating environment.
Evans’ research also reveals that a highly concentrated number of children in an activity area results in more distractions and less constructive play among preschool-aged children. Overcrowding also influences parenting behaviors. Parents in crowded homes are less responsive to young children. Evidence of parental unresponsiveness begins early— before a child is one year old and occurs at all income levels. Overcrowding also strains parent-child Relationships. Parents in overcrowded homes are more likely to engage in punitive parenting, which in turn, affects the level of children’s distress.
Evans’ research shows that strained parent-child relationships negatively influence social, emotional and biological measures (e.g. elevated blood pressure) in 10- to 12-year-old children. Children’s mental health status may be affected by overcrowding. Elementary school-aged children who live in more crowded homes display higher levels of psychological distress and they also have higher levels of behavior difficulties in school.Evans has found that overcrowding produces psychological distress among 3rd and 4th-grade students as reported by both the children and their teachers. These effects are intensified if children reside in large, multifamily structures. Effects were also intensified among a group of 8- to 10-year-olds if the family home was chaotic.
Chronic overcrowding influences children’s motivation to perform tasks. Independent of household income, children aged 6-12 show declines in motivational behavior and also demonstrate a level of learned helplessness—a belief that they have no control over their situation and therefore do not attempt to change it—although they have the power to do so. But there are gender differences: Evans found the link between overcrowding and learned helplessness among 10-to- 12-year-olds to exist for girls, but not for boys.
Evans’ studies find several effects of overcrowding on both objective and subjective measures of children’s cognitive development. Elementary school children living in more crowded homes score lower on standardized reading tests and they see themselves as less scholastically competent than their classmates. Parenting behaviors directly related to children’s cognitive and language development are also affected by density level.Evans found that parents in crowded homes speak less to their infants and rise fewer complicated words during the period from infancy up to age two and a half. Research demonstrates that the quality and sophistication of speech as well as the quantity of words spoken by parents to their children are significant factors in the amount and types of words children produce.
Biological measures implicate the effects of overcrowding on children’s physiology. In one study, Evans found gender differences in measures of blood pressure among 10-12- year-old children with males in higher residential crowding situations demonstrating elevations in blood pressure, but not females. However, higher overnight levels of the stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine were found in both 8- to 10-year-old male and female children living in high-density apartments. This finding was especially relevant when chaos and disorder was present in the family.
Housing and Quality of Neighborhood:
Housing quality and the neighborhoods in which houses are situated have also been investigated in relation to children’s socio-emotional development. For example, families living in high-rise housing, as opposed to single-family residences, have fewer relationships with neighbors, resulting in less social support. Studies on housing and the quality of neighborhoods have also examined the role of chaos in children’s environments finding an association between chaotic home environments and levels of psychological distress among middle school children.
Research has identified the physical characteristics of neighborhoods that significantly influence children’s development. These characteristics include residential instability, housing quality, noise, crowding, toxic exposure, quality of municipal services, retail services, recreational opportunities, including natural settings, street traffic, accessibility of transportation and the physical quality of both educational and health facilities. Perhaps not surprisingly, Evans’ research findings support the therapeutic effects of children’s exposure to natural settings.
Natural settings are preferred by children and allow them to exercise gross motor abilities as well as engage in social interactions. In addition, these settings also alleviate the adverse effects of children’s exposure to chronic stress. The research outlined above demonstrates both the direct and indirect effects of the physical environment on children’s development. Direct effects include cognitive, social, emotional and biological outcomes.Indirect effects include interactions with parents and teachers, which in turn, influence developmental outcomes such as learning and language development.
Although in several studies Evans demonstrates these effects for children at all income levels, low-income children experience excessive exposure to noise, overcrowding and unfavorable housing and neighborhood conditions.Exposure to these poor-quality physical conditions is linked to other psychological and social aspects of the environment, especially poverty. Using a building block analogy, low-income children have more blocks stacked one on top of the other than children of other income levels. Thus, children living in poverty experience multiple exposures, rather than a single exposure to risk.
What You Can Do to check the impact of the environment on human behavior?
Guard against additional, interior noise sources:
Individuals living in noisy environments often habituate or become accustomed to the noise level. Aim to reduce the existing noise instead of adding other sources of noise. Check the volume level on your child’s music devices (e g., iPod, Walkman; it is too loud if someone else can hear the music). If he listens to his favorite music too loudly, make proper volume adjustments. Also monitor the volume level on computers, televisions, and other electronic devices, keeping them as low as possible.
Engage your child:
Children ignore and tune out speech as a way of coping with environmental overstimulation. Take notice if your child is not paying attention or listening to your speech and if so, intervene. Take your child to a quiet outdoor nature spot or a quiet indoor location such as the local library) This is especially important during the preschool and early elementary school years (ages 3-6 years) when children are learning to read.
Tune in instead of tuning out:
Parents living under high noise exposure appear to withdraw, be less responsive and talk less to their children. The natural tendency is to disengage from speaking and reading to children so as not to compete with the noise. These coping strategies negatively affect children’s reading and cognitive abilities. Be alert to the occurrence of these behaviors and counter them by talking to your child, reading aloud to her, engaging her in discussions, and actively listening to what she has to say to you.
Modify your environment:
If your budget permits, consider purchasing extra noise attenuation devices for your child’s room for use during homework activities and sleeping. Earplugs are a low-cost alternative.
Consider your child’s school environment:
If you have a choice, send your child to a quiet, less chaotic school. This is particularly desirable if your home environment is also noisy. Be active in your community. The noisiest environmental conditions occur in low-income and ethnic minority communities. One way to counteract this is to be active and involved. Ask your representative why it is noisier, in these communities.
If a major source of noise in your community is road traffic, check with your local planning department. Note that traffic volume is closely aligned with traffic noise levels. The busiest streets are usually the noisiest.
Examination anxiety is a fairly common phenomenon that involves feelings of tension or uneasiness that occur before, during, or after an examination. Many people experience feelings of anxiety around, examinations and find it helpful in some ways, as it can be motivating and create the pressure that is needed to stay focused on one’s performance. Examination nerves, worry, or fear of failure are normal for even the most talented student. However, the stress of formal examination results in such high degrees of anxiety in some students that they are unable to perform at a level that matches the potential they have shown in less stressful classroom situations.
Examination stress has been characterized as “evaluative apprehension” or “evaluative stress” and produces debilitating behavioral, cognitive and physiological effects no different from those produced by any other stressor. High stress can interfere with the student’s preparation, concentration and performance. Examination stress can cause test anxiety which adversely affects test performance. Persons who are high in test anxiety tend to perceive evaluative situations as personally threatening; in test situations, they are often tense, apprehensive, nervous and emotionally aroused.Moreover, the negative self-centered cognitions which they experience distract their attention and interfere with concentration during examinations.
High-test anxious students respond to examination stress with intense emotional reactions, negative thoughts about themselves, feelings of inadequacy, helplessness and loss of status and esteem that impair their performance. Generally, the high-test anxious person instead of plunging into a task plunges inward, that is, either neglect or misinterprets informational cues that may be readily available to her/him, or experiences attentional blocks.While preparing for examinations, one must spend enough time for study, overviewing and weighing one’s strengths and weaknesses, discuss difficulties with teachers and classmates, plan a revision timetable, condensing notes, space out revision periods and most importantly on the examination day concentrate on staying palm.
What do you understand by the term ‘environment’? Explain the different perspectives to understand the human-environment relationship.
‘Environment’ refers to all that is around us. Literally, it means everything that surrounds us including the physical, Social world and cultural environment. In general, it includes all the forces outside the human beings to which they respond in Some way. There is more than one way of looking at the human-environment relationship.
A psychologist named Stokols (1990) describes three approaches that may be adopted to describe the human-environment relationship.
- The minimalist perspective assumes that the physical environment has minimal or negligible influence on human behavior, health and well-being. The physical environment and human beings exist as parallel components.
- The instrumental perspective suggests that the physical environment exists mainly for use by human beings for their comfort and well-being. Most of the human influences on the environment reflect the instrumental perspective.
- The spiritual perspective refers to the view of the environment as. something to be respected and valued rather than exploited. It implies that human beings recognize the interdependent relationship between themselves and the environment, i.e. human beings will exist and will be happy only as long as the environment is kept healthy and natural.
The traditional Indian view about the environment supports the spiritual perspective.
“Human beings affect and are affected by the environment”. Explain this statement with the help of examples.
Human beings exert their influence on the natural environment for fulfilling their physical needs and other purposes. The human-environment relationship can be appreciated fully by understanding that the two influence each other and depend on each other for their survival and maintenance. Some aspects of the environment influence human perception.
- Environmental influences on perception :
Some aspects of the environment influence human perception. For example, a tribal society of Africa lives in circular huts, that is, in houses without angular walls. They show less error in a geometric illusion (the Muller-Lyer illusion) than people from cities, who live in houses with angular walls.
- Environmental influences on emotions:
The environment affects our emotional reactions as well. Watching nature iri any form, whether it is a quietly flowing river, a smiling flower, or a tranquil mountain top, provides a kind of joy that cannot be matched by any other experience. Natural disasters, such as floods, droughts, landslides, and quakes on the earth or under the ocean, can affect people’s emotions to such an extent that they experience deep depression and sorrow, a sense of complete helplessness and lack of control over their lives.
- Ecological influences on occupation, living style, and attitudes :
The natural environment of a particular region determines whether people living in that region rely on agriculture (as in the plains), or on other occupations such as hunting and gathering (as in a forest, mountainous or desert regions), or on industries (as in areas that are not fertile enough for agriculture). In turn, occupation determines the lifestyle and attitudes of the residents of a particular geographical region.
What is noise? Discuss the effects of noise on human behavior.
Any sound that is annoying or irritating and felt to be unpleasant is said to be noise. From common experience, it is known that noise, especially for long periods of time, is uncomfortable and puts people in an unpleasant mood.
Effects of noise on human behavior:
- When the task being performed is a simple mental task, such as the addition of numbers, noise does not affect overall performance, whether it is loud or soft.
In such situations, people adapt, or ‘get used to noise.
- If the task being performed is very interesting, then, too, the presence of noise does not affect performance. This is because the nature of the task helps the individual to pay full attention to the task and ignore the noise. This may also be one kind of adaptation.
- When the noise comes at intervals, and in an unpredictable way, it is experienced as more disturbing than if the noise is continuously present.
- When the task being performed is difficult or requires full concentration, then intense, unpredictable and uncontrollable noise reduces the level of task performance.
- When tolerating or switching off the noise is within the control of the person, the number of errors in task performance decreases.
- In terms of emotional effects, noise above a certain level causes annoyance, and can also lead to sleep disturbance. These effects are also reduced if the noise is controllable, or is necessary as a part of the person’s occupation. However, continued exposure to uncontrollable and annoying noise can have harmful effects on mental health.
What are the salient features of crowding? Explain the major psychological consequences of crowding.
Crowding to a feeling of discomfort because there are too many people or things around us, giving us the experience of physical restriction and sometimes the lack of privacy. Crowding is the person’s reaction to the presence of a large number of persons within a particular area or space. When this number goes beyond a certain level, it causes stress to individuals caught in that situation. In this sense, crowding is another example of an environmental stressor.
The experience of crowding has the following features :
- Feeling of discomfort,
- Loss or decrease in privacy,
- Negative view of the space around the person, and
- The feeling of loss of control over social interaction.
- Crowding and high density may lead to abnormal behavior and aggression. This was shown many years ago in a study of rats. These animals were placed in an enclosure, initially in small numbers. As their population increased within this enclosed space, they started showing aggressive and unusual behavior, such as biting the tails of other rats. This aggressive behavior increased to such an extent that ultimately the animals died in large numbers, thus decreasing the population in the enclosure. Among human beings also, an increase in population has sometimes been found to be accompanied by an increase in violent crime.
- Crowding leads to lowered performance on difficult tasks that involve cognitive processes and has adverse effects on memory and the emotional state. These negative effects are seen to a smaller extent in people who are used to crowded surroundings.
- Children growing up in very crowded households show lower academic performance. They also show a weaker tendency to continue working on a task if they are unsuccessful at it, compared to children growing up in non-crowded households. They experience greater conflict with their parents and get less support from their family members.
Why is the concept of ‘personal space’ important for human beings? Justify your answer with the help of an example.
Personal space or the comfortable physical space one generally likes to maintain around oneself, is affected by a high-density environment. In a crowded context, there is a restriction on personal space and this can also be a cause of negative reactions to crowding.
For example: In social situations, human beings like to maintain a certain physical distance from die person with whom they are interacting. This is called interpersonal al physical distance and is a part of a broader concept called personal space, i.e. the physical space we like to have all around us. One reason for the negative reactions to crowding, as described earlier, is the decrease in personal space.