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The Influence of Communication on Physiology and Health


Edited By James M. Honeycutt, Chris R. Sawyer and Shaughan Keaton

There is a significant amount of research that substantiates the connection between social support/relationships and the development, onset, and/or recovery of several physical diseases/illnesses. Research has shown, for example, that an unhappy marriage can increase the likelihood of becoming ill by 35% while stressful communication can lead to an increase in cardiovascular reactivity which in turn increases the risk of coronary heart disease and premature mortality.
This volume provides a comprehensive overview of the influences of communication on physiology and physical health status occurring in a variety of contexts, from families, interpersonal relationships, and public speaking to sport fandom, affection, fear, and the escalation of conflict. It offers a broad and up-to-date review of the relevant literature in this area of study.
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Chapter 8: Types of Stress and Their Effects on Mental Health, Verbal Aggression, and Assault


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Chapter 8

Types of Stress and Their Effects on Mental Health, Verbal Aggression, and Assault

Mark A. Hamilton and Alice E. Veksler

Anxiety disorders affect 18% of the population in the United States (Kessler, Chiu, Demler, & Walters, 2005), with the prevalence of clinical depression approximately half (9%) of that (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2013). The percentage of those experiencing at least mild anxiety or depression is a substantially larger portion of the population, with a high degree of comorbidity between the two conditions (Clark & Watson, 1991). Depression and anxiety can be triggered by stressors (Grant, Compas, Thurm, McMahon, & Gipson, 2004) such as problems at work, exposure to a natural disaster, aggression, and illness or death of a loved one. The physiological response to stress lingers long after exposure to the negative event (Esterling, Kiecolt-Glaser, Bodnar, & Glaser, 1994). The more involved a person is with a life event, the greater the potential for feelings of achievement with success but there is also the potential for feelings of stress with failure (Atkinson, 1964). ← 153 | 154 →

Meta-analytic evidence indicates that stressors have three qualities (Dickerson & Kemeny, 2004). These qualities parallel three dimensions of issue involvement identified through meta-analysis (Johnson & Eagly, 1989). First, traumatic life events should increase stress, making the person feel helpless against forces of the universe. The more difficult the outcome is to control, the greater the stress. Second,...

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