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The Role Of Social Identification And Social Support In Psychophysiological Responses To Stress

GILLMAN, Jamie (2021) The Role Of Social Identification And Social Support In Psychophysiological Responses To Stress. Doctoral thesis, Staffordshire University.

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Abstract or description

An individuals’ psychophysiological response to stress is dependent on a transaction between the person and the environment. Within theories such as the Biopsychosocial Model (BPSM) and the Theory of Challenge and Threat States in Athletes (TCTSA), it is proposed that individuals respond to a motivated situation with either a challenge or threat state which are marked by differential cardiovascular reactivity (CVR). A challenge state is typically associated with adaptive emotions and behaviours, and superior performance outcomes, when compared with a threat state. Individualistic appraisals have provided the foundation for these theories, neglecting socially derived perceptions of group resources. The aim of this thesis was to explore the role of social factors, namely social support, and identification to others, on challenge and threat states. Within this thesis five studies are reported across four chapters. Chapter two provides cross-sectional evidence to demonstrate the influential role that social support and social identification can have on perceived stress, life satisfaction, intentions to quit, and overall job performance in workplace employees. Chapter three then offers cross-sectional evidence of relationships between social support and social identification and challenge and threat states, perceived stress, and life satisfaction across a range of group contexts. Chapter four provides experimental evidence of the associations between choice of social support and relational identification on changes to individuals’ resource appraisals (self-efficacy, perceived control, achievement goals) and anxiety on approach to a hypothetical speech task. Then, chapter five offers two experimental laboratory studies to examine the effects of social support and relational identification on CVR on approach to an acute stress task and found relationships between social support and resource appraisals. No differences were found for CVR between the support conditions (support from a friend or stranger), but sex differences emerged. Theoretical explanations and implications of the findings are provided in chapter six relating to the role of social support and social (and relational) identification in challenge and threat responses, and sex differences in social support and challenge and threat including physiological markers. This thesis makes an original and significant contribution to challenge and threat, social support, and social identity literatures by examining how these psychosocial factors can play a role in the human stress response.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty: School of Life Sciences and Education > Sport and Exercise
Depositing User: Library STORE team
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2021 15:36
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2021 15:36
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/7052

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