Course Objectives

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        Do You Live in a Constant State of Stress?

                 Linksy, Arnold, Straus, Murray, Colby, John, "Stressful Events, Stressful Conditions  and Alcohol Problems in the United States:
                A Partial  Test of Bale's Theory, Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Vol. 46, No. 1., 1985 

The course is intended to assist students to increase their awareness of stress. The course provides a broad physical, social, and psychological understanding of the human stress response.  The focus is on presenting a broad background of stress research and on providing a practical application of relaxation techniques.

This stress management course may appear as a cursory review of current views of stress and a variety of stress management intervention techniques. While the course is intended for the beginning college student, the curious, as well as the professional, may find the material helpful. In an age when "stress" has become a catch-all-category including everything from a psycho-physiological laboratory to a term that describes the malaise of a given population, it is no wonder that a beginning stress management online course presents some formidable challenges.[1]

First of all, the term "stress" continues to plague the research and professionals with the lack of any agreed upon an operational definition. On one end of continuum, the word "stress" often refers to an environmental condition, which incurs damage upon almost everyone, such as war, or famine, or lies at the other end of the continuum, and refers to a person's ability to cope, i. e., to manage internal demands, or conflicts. Somewhere in the middle of the continuum, the word "stress" refers to an individual's appraisal of a noxious environmental situation or to some sort of a complex interrelationship between an individual's learning to adapt to the environmental demand.[2]

Secondly, the pop psychological term "stress management" likely connotes a skepticism that may enhance the illusion that there lies a mix of fixes, or techniques, or that "stress management" can not be taught by the best professionals to anyone in the best of laboratory settings with total success.  Despite these difficulties,, I think there is considerable merit in meeting this challenge. It is common knowledge that regardless of ambiguity in definition "stress", it plays a major role in accidents, illness, and death. Stress and anxiety go hand in hand and are associated with impaired cognitive functions, psychosomatic disorders, psychiatric disorders, and increased use of drugs.[3]

Finally, in spite of the lack of operational definition and ambiguity in use of the word" stress," there is considerable research that there are stress reduction techniques which have shown to have specific effects inclusive to any, and all, of the conflicting definitions of the term "stress".[4]


Students will communicate with the instructor via email and other communication as needed. Each student will complete individual assignments, journals, and a final. Student success will be measured by completion of aforementioned materials.

General Objectives

The online student will identify the various factors that comprise the word "stress" including environmental conditions, appraisal of environmental situations, the interplay in the relationship between the individual and the environmental demands, and in identifying various coping strategies. The student will be introduced to the understanding and application of stress reduction techniques including basic information regarding, biofeedback, progressive relaxation, autogenic training, imagery, and meditation.

Learning Outcomes : Completion of the Course the student will be able to:

1. recognize the impact of stress on modern life,
2. understand the body's biochemical reactions to stressors
Identify common stress,
3. know the impact of stress,
4. identify the related diseases
5. measure and monitor his or her own stress level, and
5. review various strategies to help cope with stressors more effectively.

    1. Robert Woolfolk and Paul Lehrer, Principles and Practice of Stress Management, New York Guilford Press, 1983, p.1  
    2. Gary Cooper, Stress Research for the Eighties, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1993, p.81
    3.  Goldberger and Breznitz, Handbook of Stress, London: The Free Press, 1983
    4.  Op. Cit., Robert Woolfolk and Paul Lehrer

Copyright 1998  Robert Brehm All rights reserved.