Individual differences in stress: personality types A, B and C and associated behaviours; hardiness, including, control, commitment and challenge.

Definition: Personality: The term ‘personality’ is difficult to define, but a typical definition sees an individual’s personality as their characteristic ways of behaving, thinking, feeling, reacting and perceiving the world. Personalities are often seen as relatively stable over time and based on this, psychologists have attempted to classify people into ‘personality types’. These personality types may then be used to see if certain personality types are more susceptible to becoming stressed and, as a result, more likely to develop stress-related illnesses.

Sources of Stress – Workplace stress, including the effects of work load and control.

Definition: Workplace Stress: Some aspect of our working environment (such as work overload or impending deadlines) that we experience as stressful, and which causes a stress reaction in our body. A number of factors have been identified as common causes of stress in the workplace. These include physical sources such as noise, level of danger, length of working hours and work overload as well as psychological factors such as amount of responsibility, perceived amount of control and relationships with colleagues.

Sources of stress: life changes and daily hassles.

Definition: Life changes: These are significant changes in a person’s life which disrupt their normal routines. They include both positive and negative events, such as, marriage, divorce, a new job, moving house, etc. A number of researchers argue that life changes are a major source of stress.

The role of stress in illness, including reference to immunosuppression and cardiovascular disorders.

Definition: Immune System: The body’s main way of defending itself against millions of antigens (i.e. bacteria, viruses, toxins and parasites) that would otherwise invade it. None of these things are able to affect the body when the immune system is working effectively. The moment the immune system stops functioning properly, the body becomes at risk of infection and illness.