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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: September 2009

3 - Measuring emotional and behavioral response

Summary

Introduction

This chapter aims to review measures of the emotional and behavioral responses to stressors. As reviewed in Chapter 1, there are multiple cognitive responses to a stressor starting with the appraisal of a stressor. After a person appraises a stressor or evaluates it as a threat, s/he will experience a stress response, often including an emotional and behavioral response. For example, an individual is exposed to the stressor of caring for a relative with dementia, s/he may feel burdened, anxious and sad. This same person may engage in various coping behaviors such as smoking or seeking solace at a place of worship. The way that an individual responds to a stressor (from the appraisal through the stress response) depends on various factors (e.g. personality, coping resources) which may mediate or moderate the way in which an individual appraises and then responds to a stressor. For example, this same caregiver, may have a large supportive family which minimizes the appraisal of threat or the emotional response in comparison to an individual without such support. The reader should refer to Chapters 1 and 2 for the definition of the concepts of mediators, moderators, appraisal and behavioral and emotional responses as this chapter will focus on the measurement approaches and will briefly review published measures of such concepts and different measurement approaches. One should note, as discussed in Chapters 1 and 2, that often these cognitive processes are lumped together in a single measure of “perceived stress.”

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