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9) Pyschological Methods of Stress Management – CBT

Cogntivie Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a therapy used to help manage stress. There are two main approaches involved in CBT:

Cognitive Therapy – tries to change maladaptive thoughts and beliefs, which can be a source of stress

Behavioral Therapy – try to change the behaviour, which can be a source of stress

Stress Inoculation Training (SIT)

This is a therapy designed by Meichenbaum which aims to reduce stress. He said it would be almost impossible to change the cause of stress, but we can change the way we think about them. So he said people can be trained to “inoculate” themselves against stress.

There are 3 phases of SIT:

1) Conceptualization – People are thought to think differently about stressors. For example, after inoculation the person would think of the problem as a “challenge” rather than something they can’t overcome

2) Skills acquisition – Coping skills are taught and used in real life

3) Application – Learning these skills are applied to situations which gradually increase in stressfulness.



+ Sheey and Horan – They found that SIT can reduce anxiety and stress, and it can improve academic performance amongst the students they tested

Preparation for futures stressors – SIT gives the person the skills to deal with stress in the future, so it isn’t just a short-term solution 


– Time consuming – SIT has been criticised as being to time-consuming, however Meichembaum has also shown that SIT can be effective in short bursts

– Requires high motivation – As SIT is a long, hard process it requires strong motivation and willpower to complete

– Unnecessarily Complex – It is argued that SIT would be just as effective if some of its elements were removed, meaning that at the moment it is unnecessarily complicated

Hardiness Training

This technique was put forward by Kobasa and Maddi. They found that by increasing Hardiness you could reduce stress. Their Hardiness training involves:

Focusing – You are taught to recognise what causes you stress and the signs of stress

Relieveing stress encounters – You are given an insight into current coping strategies by reenacting times in the past you have been stressed how them taught how to resolve them

Self-improvement – You are given techniques and ideas of how to improve the way you deal with stress, for example seeing a stressful, difficult situation as a challenge you are in control of, rather than it controlling you



+ It works – Hardiness training has been shown to be effective across many cultures and populations

+ Real World application – Hardiness training has been used to help Olympic swimmers so they don’t have to worry about stress and can instead just focus on training.


– Overcoming bad habits – One of the main ways in which Hardiness training fights stress is by changing the way you think and act. But you may already have strong habits surrounding this, i.e always thinking pessimistically, so Hardiness doesn’t work unless you overcome these.

– Time consuming – It takes a long time to complete Hardiness training, so it cannot be seen as a short-term fix



About Sam Cook

A blog set up to help A Level students revise Sociology


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