Affective isolation as a coping strategy for persons with low and high amounts of life stress
Previous research has investigated two diverse operational definitions of stress, experimentally induced, short-term stress and long-term, life stress. The purpose of this study was to intersect these two research methodologies and determine the effect of a laboratory-induced stress (failure feedback) on persons with differing levels of life stress. Women with high or low amounts of life stress were given failure feedback, no failure feedback, or a cognitive coping strategy (affective isolation) in addition to failure feedback. Failure feedback increased self-reported anger and anxiety immediately following feedback and also after a follow-up test and decreased expectations about performance for the second test. Affective isolation significantly reduced anger and anxiety but failed to affect expectations. Women with high amounts of life stress reported significantly less anxiety than women with low amounts of life stress in response to failure feedback. These results were interpreted within C. D. Spielberger's (in C. D. Spielberger & R. Diaz-Guerrero (Eds.), Cross-cultural anxiety, New York: Wiley, 1976) cognitive model. It was proposed that differing levels of previous life stress cause people to make varying judgments about the degree of threat in a short-term stressful situation. Persons with high amounts of life stress may not be aroused in response to short-term stress because they perceive the short-term stress as only a "drop in the bucket" compared to the other events which they have experienced. © 1982.
Kremer, JF; Spiridigliozzi, GA
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