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Health Promotion Problems: Model of Stress and Coping, Coursework Example

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Coursework

The model of stress and coping assists people who are dealing with traumatic events in order to promote both psychological and physical well being. When people go through frightening events, such as personal chronic illness or similar suffering of a family member or loved one, it is necessary to ensure that those affected maintain a positive state of mind in order to achieve a physical recovery. The transactional model of stress and coping allows the healthcare practitioner to evaluate the ability of a person to deal with these challenging experiences. This is done at two levels; primary appraisal and secondary appraisal. Primary appraisal is the person’s initial judgment about the traumatic event; they should describe the event as either being positive, stressful, challenging, irrelevant, or controllable. Secondary appraisal is the analysis of the situation pertaining to what the individual can actually do about his or her situation. This assists coping efforts that could lead to resolution of the problem in terms of the victim’s mental state.

The model of stress and coping is particularly useful when considering patients or family members who must deal with chronic illness on a daily basis. For example, it is well known that people who are diagnosed with cancer have a wide range of prognoses. Regardless of the stage or type of cancer that patients have, the patient and their family members must deal with many uncertainties. As a consequence, it is useful to apply the transactional model of stress and coping to patients or their loved ones. Three studies that use this model to address a health problem include “Stress and Coping Mechanisms among Breast Cancer Patients and Family Caregivers: A Review of Literature”, “Investigating the cognitive precursors of emotional response to cancer stress: re-testing Lazarus’s transactional model”, and “The role of spirituality in the psychological adjustment to cancer: a test of the transactional model of stress and coping”.

In “Stress and Coping Mechanisms among Breast Cancer Patients and Family Caregivers: A Review of Literature”, the authors aimed to obtain a complete understanding of the stress and coping techniques utilized by breast cancer patients and their caregivers (Mukwato et al, 2010). To do so, the authors conducted a complete literature review to identify all cases that would fit into this category. Several of these studies utilized the transactional model of stress and coping; this allowed the researchers to have a more complete understanding of the coping strategies their patients used. These strategies included seeking social support, relying on God to get them through, having a positive attitude, and acquiring information and education about their situation. In all four of these situations, the theory predicted change and/or assisted the patients in achieving a desired outcome to health promotion problems. Mukwato and colleagues believe that it is important to understand how these coping mechanisms relate to patient outcome; although they weren’t able to detect better health of patients who were able to cope, they believe that a patient needs to be in a positive mental state in order to more successfully fight a chronic illness. The group aims to complete studies in the future that will serve to elucidate the relationship between models of stress and coping and patient outcome for breast cancer patients in Zambia.

In “Investigating the cognitive precursors of emotional response to cancer stress: re-testing Lazarus’s transactional model”, the authors aimed to explore Lazarus’s transactional model of stress and coping extensively as related to cancer diagnosis (Hulbert-Williams, 2013). To do so, the authors created a 6 month long cohort study that approached cancer patients at the time of diagnosis with follow-ups at three and six months. This study is novel because it attempted to evaluate a broader range of patient emotions than had been previously attempted; however when these additional emotions were applied to Lazarus’s model, the researchers found a “weak correlation between change scores of theoretically associated components and some emotions correlated more strongly with cognitions contradicting theoretical expectations (Hulbert-Williams, 2013). Therefore, the group concluded that although the data generally supports the structure of Lazarus’s model, the model’s specifics may not apply when considering a larger range of human emotions in terms of coping ability. Therefore, they claim that while Lazarus’s model of coping is useful, there is a clear need for more research to develop a model that will accommodate the broader range of human emotions that truly reflects the stress of patients and caregivers.

In “The role of spirituality in the psychological adjustment to cancer: a test of the transactional model of stress and coping”, the authors aimed to determine whether the effect between religious spirituality and emotional well-being is moderated based on the patient’s or care giver’s degree of perceived life threat in terms of Lazarus’s model of stress and coping  (Laubmeier, 2004). To do so, patients with different kinds of cancer were asked to complete surveys about their spirituality, perceived life threat, quality of life, and amount of distress. This research group found that religious spirituality was related to decreased distress and quality of life independent of the patient’s perceived life threat. Therefore, the researchers concluded that spirituality is a useful coping mechanism according to Lazarus’s model. They believe that the existential part of a patient’s spirituality can help reduce symptoms of distress in cancer patients regardless of whether they personally believe their life is being threatened or not.

References

Glanz K, Rimer BK, Viswanth K. (2008). Health Behavior and Health Education Theory Research and Practice 4th edition. Wiley.

Hulbert-Williams, NJ. Morrison, V, Neal, RD. (2013). Investigating the cognitive precursors of emotional response to cancer stress: re-testing Lazarus’s transactional model. Br J Health Psychol. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23006059

Laubmeier KK, Zakowski SG, Bair JP. The role of spirituality in the psychological adjustment to cancer: a test of the transactional model of stress and coping. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15194519

Mukwato, KP, Mweemba P, Makukula MK, Makoleka MM. (2010). Stress and Coping Mechanisms among Breast Cancer Patients and Family Caregivers: A Review of Literature. Medical Journal of Zambia, 37(1).

Pender NJ, Murdaugh CL, Parsons MA. (2011). Health Promotion in Nursing Practice 6th edition.  Pearson.

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