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Stress – The Impacts of Stress

3. Differences in the Stress Response

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In this lecture, we explore individual differences in people’s responses to stressful events, focusing in particular on: (i) Kobasa’s 1979 concept of hardiness, split into three key attitudes: commitment, control, and challenge; (ii) one way of understanding hardiness being a sensitiveness to the changeability of events, leading to finding potential change or disruption less threatening and stressful; (iii) another key factor in the success of hardy people at dealing with stress being linked to their active coping strategies, utilising task-focused coping rather than disengagement or avoidant strategies; (iv) the ‘pop psychology’ phenomenon of Type A and B personalities (as well as the lesser researched Type C), focusing on conceptualising these as a continuum rather than explicit ‘types’ and understanding the impact of each on health; (v) Shelley Taylor’s ‘tend and befriend’ hypothesis, suggesting a different reaction from ‘fight or flight’ in women.


In this course, Dr Livia Tomova (University of Cambridge) explores the topic of stress. In the first lecture, we think about the physiological stress response, detailing the key hormones, organs and neurotransmitters involved in these complicated biological processes. In the second lecture, we look at sources of stress and the methods researchers have used to measure someone’s stress level or response. In the third lecture, we expand on this by outlining individual differences in people’s responses to stressful situations, focusing on the concepts of hardiness and personality types. Next, we describe four key methods for coping with stress: drug therapies, cognitive behavioural therapies, biofeedback, and social support. In the fifth and final lecture, we explore how stress can impact cognition, specifically memory processes.

Research project looking for 16-19-year-old males:


Dr Livia Tomova is a research associate in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, with an interest in how stress, loneliness and social isolation affect the brain and mind. Dr Tomova’s current research focuses on biological markers indicating vulnerability to the effects of isolation and loneliness in adolescents and young adults. Some of Dr Tomova’s recent publications include 'The effects of social deprivation on adolescent development and mental health' (2020) and 'Acute stress alters neural patterns of value representation for others' (2020).

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APA style

Tomova, L. (2021, December 03). Stress – The Impacts of Stress - Differences in the Stress Response [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Tomova, L. "Stress – The Impacts of Stress – Differences in the Stress Response." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 03 Dec 2021,

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