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Cox and Mackay Model of Stress

 

Explanations > Stress > Cox and Mackay Model of Stress

Description | Discussion | So what?

 

Description

The model of stress described by Cox and Mackay (1978) works as follows:

  1. The situation starts with a demand for action of some kind.
  2. The person perceives (accurately or not) this demand.
  3. The person has capability to meet the demand.
  4. The person perceives (accurately or not) their capability.
  5. The person cognitively appraises the match between perceived demand and perceived capability.
  6. Any perceived imbalance in a lack of capability to meet the demand is felt as stress.
  7. The person experiences an emotional response to this.
  8. There is also a stress response.
  9. There is a felt physiological response.
  10. There is also a psychological stress response.
  11. The psychological response includes a behavioral response, which feeds back into the original demand and cognitive appraisal.
  12. The psychological response also includes a cognitive defense, which feeds back into the cognitive appraisal.

Discussion

This model is comprehensive in the multiple components considered, including:

  • Perception of both demand and capability
  • Emotional and stress response
  • Physiological and psychological response
  • Behavioral and cognitive response
  • Feedback of response into appraisal

Stress is notably defined as the gap between perceived demand and capability. Perception is a highly personal thing, which goes a long way towards explaining why different people experience stress differently.

So what?

When dealing with stress, note your perception and try to understand the difference between this and reality. Ask others to find their perception, which may be more accurate.

See also

Transaction Cost

 

Mackay C., Cox, T. Burrows, G. Lazzerini (1978). An inventory for the measurement of self-reported stress and arousal.  British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 17, 3, 283-4

 

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