The University of Arizona

A Cognitive Model of Stress

Ruth Van Dyke

Abstract


Freely structured interviews conducted to discern the cognitive model of "stress" shared by a group of American graduate students are described. Interview data concern the perceived causes, effects, coping strategies, and inherency of stress. These data are organized according to categories and discrepancies inherent to the sample. Sets of propositional models are developed that illuminate some aspects of the cognitive model. Processes of externalization characterized the subjects' responses at every level and the concept of the individual in opposition to the social environment has figured prominently in this analysis. Although the model is composed of many parts, it may be reduced to a single principle: stress is a response to the perceived threat embodied in the appropriation by others of control over the self-image of the individual.

Keywords


Stress; Cognitive Model

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