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Starts at $9.98 per contact hour
Min. Hours $$/Hr
4 hours $8.98
8 hours $7.98
12 hours $6.98
20 hours $5.98
30 hours $4.98

Psychology of Stress

1.0 Contact Hours
Target Audience: Nurses, healthcare professionals, and interested individuals
Purpose/Goal: The outcome of this course is for the learner to describe stress and personality types; discuss stress appraisal, coping, and emotion; identify the elements of emotional intelligence; describe gender difference in exposure to stressors; and identify strategies for reducing psychological stress.
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Events, people, and circumstances fill our normal daily lives along with a certain amount of stress. Some of us experience psychological effects from this stress, while others seem to be unaffected or even thrive when challenged. Why do we react differently to stressors? Despite much research on the topic, the answer is not clearly understood, but key elements include personality, emotional intelligence, and gender.

Upon completion of the course, you will be able to do the following:

  • Describe the relationship between stress and personality types.
  • Discuss how appraisal, coping, and emotion affect the stress response.
  • Identify the elements of emotional intelligence and the relationship to psychological stress.
  • Describe gender differences in response to stressors.
  • Identify strategies for reducing psychological stress.

Psychological stress describes what people feel when they are under mental, physical, or emotional pressure, which can be caused by daily responsibilities and routine events, as well as by more shocking ones, such as trauma or illness. Any situation that challenges an individual’s ability to deal with it can be a source of stress. When that situation also produces emotional or behavioral reactions, it can cause psychological stress (Carver, 2011). Psychological stress can result in a variety of behavioral reactions such as overeating, undereating, angry outbursts, drug or alcohol abuse, tobacco use, or social withdrawal (Mayo Clinic, 2013).

Psychologist Richard Lazarus, arguably the most influential scholar and researcher on the subject of psychological stress (Lazarus, 1999; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) defines psychological stress as “a particular relationship between the person and the environment that is appraised by the person as taxing or exceeding his or her resources and endangering his or her well-being” (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984, p.19).

Events or stimuli that cause psychological stress are referred to as psychological stressors. In addition, personality traits, attitudes, beliefs, coping skills, and emotional states (including love, anger, fear, anxiety, sadness, hate, and hopelessness)—can trigger physiological reactions that affect blood chemistry, heart rate, and the activity of every cell and organ in the body (Seaward, 2012). Emotional reactions to stress can also cause psychological reactions that, in turn, cause further emotional and behavioral responses to stress, creating a cyclical pattern that can ultimately affect health and well-being.

Common psychological stressors include the following:

  • Excessive worrying
  • Loss of employment, a loved one, or an important relationship
  • Illness or injury
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Fear of failure or fear of not being as good as others
  • Fear of losing one’s health
  • Perfectionism
  • Experiencing a natural disaster, racism, bullying, or assault
  • Financial problems
  • Changes at work, such as promotion, restructuring, new management, taking on a new job
  • Moving to a new home
  • Taking care of someone who is ill or dying
  • Changing your family situation, such as getting married or divorced, having children, moving in with relatives or having someone come to live with you

Complete the course post exam (CE Test) with a score of 80% or greater. Complete all fields of the course evaluation form. Certificate of Completion is provided once the course post exam is passed per criteria above.

  • American Board of Managed Care Nursing
  • ANCC - American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • AOTA - American Occupational Therapy Association
  • ASWB - Association of Social Work Boards
  • California Board of Behavioral Sciences
  • California Board of Registered Nursing
  • California Department of Health, Aid, and Technician Certification Section
  • District of Columbia Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing - Certified Nursing Assistants
  • Florida Board of Respiratory Care
  • Florida Council of Dietetics and Nutrition
  • Florida Council of Licensed Midwifery
  • NAADAC - The National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors
  • NCBTMB -National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
  • Florida Board of Massage Therapists


Practice Level:


Content Focus:

Occupational Therapy Process

Course Expires:

October 05, 2019

  • Cyndie Koopsen, RN, BSN, MBA, HNB-BC, RN-BC, HWNC-BC
  • Caroline Young, MPH
Jurisdictional Requirements:

Continuing education (CE) licensing requirements vary by jurisdiction, are not well defined, and may change. These CE requirements may vary in terms of the number of hours required to the types of courses that must be taken. ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC recommends you contact your licensing board or accrediting organization for the latest continuing education requirements of your state or territory. Compliance with CE requirements is the responsibility of the individual health care provider. Health care providers must understand the CE requirements in their jurisdictions, and be sure they are up-to-date on any rule changes that affect their license. For further information, please see our Accreditation Information.

Accommodations for Disabilities:

Every effort will be made to accommodate your special needs. To request accommodations, please contact us.

Conflicts of Interest and Relevant Financial Relationships:

The authors/planning committee members have no conflicts of interests or relevant financial relationships to declare relevant to this activity.

Commercial Support:

No commercial support has been received for this activity.

Non-endorsement of products:

Accreditation refers to recognition of continuing nursing education only and does not imply ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC approval or endorsement of any commercial product.

Off-label Use of Products:

None of the authors intend to discuss off-label uses of drugs, mechanical devices, biologics, or diagnostics not approved by the FDA for use in the United States.