COPING SKILLS – THE TRANSACTIONAL MODEL OF STRESS AND COPING

  • The Transactional Model of Stress and Coping is a framework for evaluating the processes of coping with stressful events. Stressful experiences are construed as person-environment transactions. These transactions depend on the impact of the external stressors. This is mediated by firstly the person’s appraisal of the stressors and secondly on the social and cultural resources at his or her disposal

  •  Lazarus & Folkman (1984) define stress as a particular relationship between the person and the environment that is appraised by the person as taxing or exceeding his or her resources and endangering his or her well-being. The key points in the definition are appraisal and transaction.
  • They propose that people use three types of appraisals when encountering a situation primary, secondary and reappraisal.
  • Primary appraisal has been viewed as having motivational significance and involves evaluating the importance of encounter for the self. If the individual perceives that the encounter is harmful or threatening then it gives rise to negative emotions such as anxiety, sadness or anger and the individual will engage in secondary appraisal to change the conditions that are stressful.
  • Secondary appraisal consists of reviewing available options for altering or managing the perceived stress. Attribution is an important part in the appraisal process. According to Lazarus (1991), three secondary appraisal decisions are likely, assigning the blame or credit to either oneself or onto another, assessing one’s coping potential and considering future expectations. Coping efforts have been strongly related to an individual’s cognitive appraisal of the situation. The choice of coping efforts is made based on the stakes at hand and options available. The choice of coping mechanism is always influenced by perceptions of personal control. Personal control refers to an individual’s belief about one’s ability to bring about change in the desired direction on the environment. Secondary appraisals are considered to be evaluative processes. Here the individual considers coping options that are available and expectancies regarding outcome, self efficacy with regard to performing the response and the consequences of using the response.
  • The third cognitive appraisal, that of reappraisal is a feedback process in which reaction and counter reaction are appraised by the individual and leads to reappraisal of a person environment relationship.Primary: an individual perceives that the encounter is harmful or threatening, rise to negative emotions

    Secondary: reviewing alternative options or managing the perceived stress.

    Reappraisal: is a feedback process in which reaction and counter reactions are appraised by the individual and lead to reappraisal of the person-environment relationship.

  • Coping refers to the constantly changing cognitive & behavioral efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands that are appraised as exceeding the resources of the person. Coping is a contextual & effortful process, which changes based on an evaluation of how successful the current coping is. The emphasis is on the ability to manage the situation rather than gaining mastery over it. Coping choice is affected by both primary and secondary appraisal.
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