Community as personal and contextual. Personal distal

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Community Psychology Portfolio: Coping and Support

Stress is the idea of mental or emotional strain that results from
a set of difficult circumstances. Stressful can be considered a circumstance
that over powers one’s ability to maintain certain goals, and or that circumstance
diminishes the goal all together (Hoboll, 1998).  Stress is a state where our goals are
threatened and or lost, and one cannot create the conditions to obtain said
goal. For example if one loses their job, this is stressful as being employed
to provide was the goal and it is now unobtainable. We value the conditions
that allow us to be successful as a species to ensure our survival and stress reinforces
our value of such conditions (Hobfoll, 1998). In our modern world, cultures
have created a context for stress and the ways in which one can cope. Community
psychology plays a role in helping to prevent stress and to manage it.

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            Stress can trigger stress responses or
reactions in the form of cognitive appraisals, emotions, psychological
symptoms, and physiological symptoms. Causal pathways are complex however, and
involve cycles among multiple processes (Dalton et al, 2005). Stress can be the
result of many different factors, one being the environment, whether that is
the physical or psychosocial environment. The physical environment includes
living location while the psychosocial environment deals with someone’s social integration
in the community as well as culture and socio economic status (Cohen et al.,
1986). Stress can also be the result of a major life event that triggers a
response, for example if someone loses a loved one unexpectedly this would
create a stress response. There are factors that also attribute to stress, such
as risk factors. There can be multiple risk factors that occur simultaneously as
they can be compiled and are not limited (Nelson and Prilleltensky, 2010). However,
there are protective factors (i.e. self-esteem), which is one’s ability to cope
due to their given resources that also play into the amount of stress someone
experiences (Nelson and Prilleltensky, 2010). Some risk factors include distal
factors, predisposing processes that directly and indirectly shape stressors,
resources, coping processes and outcomes (Dalton et al., 2005). These include
risk and protective factors but are categorized as personal and contextual.
Personal distal factors are fundamental to the person such as genetics,
personal temperament etc. or contextual factors, which include the ongoing environment
conditions such as sense of social support, economic conditions, etc. (Dalton
et al., 2005). Proximal stressors also play a role and are considered significantly
related to stress; this is when there is an actual loss or threat to assets
triggering stress (Dalton et al., 2005). These include precipitating stressors
that include life events, daily hassles and disasters and with multiple of
these stressors it can create a downwards spiral (Dalton et al., 2005).

An issue when dealing with stress is ways in which to manage it so
it does not interrupt one’s daily life. Community psychologists have
contributed to this solution by using knowledge gained from research about mediating
and moderating factors to design preventive interventions to help reduce the
negative impacts that stress can cause (Nelson and Prilleltensky, 2010). Moderating
factors affect the direction and strength of the relationship between a
stressor and the response, while mediating factors describe the extent to which
the life event accounts for the response to the stressor. Psychologists take a
number of approaches to help with primary prevention of stress (promote
health), and secondary prevention (manage stress) (Griffiths & Rimmer,
2017).  People utilize multiple resources
when coping with stress such as materials (money and food), social-emotional
competencies (self-regulation and empathy), and social/ spiritual resources
(youth groups, mutual help groups) (Dalton et al., 2005). Coping is circumstantial
and the paramount approach depends on the person and situation. Three main
methods of coping are problem focused, meaning focused and emotion focused.
Problem focused means one addresses the problem directly, meaning focused entails
finding meaning in the stressor by reshaping it, and emotion focused involves dealing
with the emotions caused by stress, rather than he stressor itself (Dalton et
al., 2005). With these methods of coping, if there are some aspects that can
impact coping out comes to be positive, health professionals can design
interventions to help facilitate those specific outcomes (Griffiths &
Rimmer, 2017). They can create multi-disciplinary interventions that incorporate
social, environment, mind and body (Griffiths & Rimmer, 2017).  One form of a multi-disciplinary intervention would
include information and education that can allow for the promotion of wellbeing,
involvement in sports leading to an established personal competence, as well as
spirituality and religion enabling coping methods such as prayer and
meditation, and the social environment can provide support (Duffy & Wong,

Community psychologists have looked into social support for those who
undergo stress as well. It is known to reduce psychological distress during
times of stress, have health benefits, speed up recovery from illness, as well
as other positive benefits (Gallagher et al, 2008). Social support can come from social networks,
where one could have high-density social networks or low-density social
networks. High-density networks involve many ties where people are more
interconnected (Hirsh et al., 1990). Low-density network involves fewer members
who are closely connected (Hirsh et al., 1990). These social networks include
mutual help groups, which community psychologist establish. These are voluntary associations of people who share a life
situation/status that produce challenges for coping (Griffiths, 2017). There is
also generalized support for those who need support over time and specific support
for those dealing with a specific stressor (Griffiths, 2017).

Stress is something that effects several demographics of people
every day, but is manageable through coping skills. Community psychologists
look at ways to prevent stress as well as mange stress through coping mechanisms.
They are aware of the negative effects but believe in the positive coping
outcomes of wellness, resilience, and social empowerment. Stress can sometimes
be the situation that allows someone the ability to grow and develop. 


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