Self esteem is different from self concept. Self concept refers to the entirety of cognitive
beliefs that people have about themselves including entities like name, race, likes, dislikes,
beliefs, values and the appearance description. On the contrary, self esteem is the emotional
response that people experience as they ponder on and evaluate different things about
While talking about gender differences, mostly working women are more esteemed than
working men (Bala &Lakshami, 1992). While it may be measured multidimensionally
(Bracken, Bunch, Keith, & Keith, 2000; Fleming & Courtney, 1984), the view of self-esteem as
a unidimensional, global sense of self-worth (Rosenberg, 1965) is supported by second-order
factor analyses (Fleming & Courtney, 1984) and by studies utilizing the Rosenberg Self-Esteem
Scale among American adults and adolescents (Corwyn, 2000). Both level and stability of self-
esteem are important (Stratton, 1999), but level is the best predictor of affect and motivation
Self-esteem is an attribute claimed to be a strong armor against stressful circumstances
(Lazarus & Folkman, 1984; Pearlin & Schooler, 1978). High self-esteem refers to the positive
attitude towards oneself. He defined it
as ‘‘the level of global regard that one has for the self as
a person’’ (Harter, 1993, p. 88
). A recently published review proposes that positive self-esteem
is a vital element of psychological health, related to the positive affect acting as an ability that
determine the consequences of torment incidents (Kling, Hyde, Showers, & Buswell, 1999).
High self-esteem is also associated with functional coping techniques. Carver et al. (1989)
described positive correlations between self-esteem and active coping or planning, while
negative correlations for avoidance coping. Literature indicates that high self-esteem is a
primary contributor to health and contentment (Dubois & Flay, 2004). Self-esteem leads to
affect (Tesser, 2000; Torrey, Mueser, McHugo, & Drake, 2000). Persons with high self-esteem
also experience less negative affect than the ones with low self-esteem (Moreland & Sweeney,
Self-efficacy, greatly related with self concept, is concerned with judgment about
personal worth and personal capabilities. Self efficacy, expressed
as ‘beliefs in one’
capabilities to organize or execute courses of action required to produce given
1997, p. 3). It leads to initiation of action with full efforts and persistent
pursuit of the desired goals despite of the obstacles, and eventual accomplishment of the
ambition. Bandura described that self-efficacy beliefs effect the ability to endure adverse
circumstances. It is a crucial factor of response of the people to stress.
Positive psychology claims that happiness, defined as positive emotions, is a fundamental
goal of life (Csikszentmihalyi, 1999). There are three types of traditional theories of happiness.
First, Hedonism, it holds that happiness is a matter of raw subjective feeling. Second, Desire
theories hold that happiness is a matter of getting what you want. Third, Objective List theory
lodges happiness outside of feeling and onto a list of "truly valuable" things in the real world.
Happiness is a part of moral vision that sits squarely in the midst of Western socio-historical
culture. The cross cultural studies of happiness, in Western term of individual satisfaction
(Biswas-Diener & Diener, 2001) can seriously distort the experience of Non-western people.
In collective cultures emotional satisfaction experienced by people is that of different kind. It is
derived not from internal positive emotions, but from living in accordance with a social order
and expectations. Apparently the happiness in non-western cultures like Pakistan seems
different but it is the same emotional satisfaction, gained in a different way. In Pakistani culture,
it can be gained by serving others,
, giving charity, expecting better in future and
enhancing spirituality by tolerating others.
Davison (2001) expressed that happiness is a vivid and sustainable feeling; it is a physical
state of the brain that can be inculcated deliberately. As researchers have realized that a happy
mind has a powerful impact on the rest of the body. Various studies have ( kubzansky, Sparrow,
Vokonas& Kawachi, 2001) shown that happiness, vivacity, optimism and contentment limit the
intensity of cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, diabetes, hypertension, cold and upper
Researchers have examined stress in three ways (Baum, 1990). One approach focuses on
physically and psychologically challenging events or circumstances called stressors. Another
approach centers on the psychological and physiological responses to stressors, which are called
strains. The third approach treats stress as a process involving continuous interactions and
adjustments, called transactions between the person and environment (Lazarus & Folkman,
1984). There are gender differences in stress.
1.4.1 Stress as a Response.
(1956) work focused on describing a physiological
response pattern known as (1974) general adaptation syndrome (GAS). The following are
Selye’s response based theory of stress
. Firstly, the stress response (GAS) was a
defensive response that did not depend on the nature of the stressors. Moreover the GAS, as a
defense reaction, progressed in three well defined stages (alarm, resistance, exhaustion).
Thirdly, if the GAS was severe and prolonged, disease could result. In Selye
stage theory, the affect of long term, intense stress advance through: the alarm reaction with
very high arousal, the stage of resistance in which arousal declines somewhat but remains above
ormal as the body tries to adapt, and the stage of exhaustion when the body’s defenses
weakens. The alarm reaction phase of GAS is triggered when there is a noxious stimulus. In the
stage of resistance, physiological forces are mobilized to resist damage from the noxious
stimuli. Often, the stage of resistance leads to adaptation or improvement or disappearance of
symptoms and does not progress to the third stage of exhaustion. The stage of resistance can
also lead to disease of adaptation, such as hypertension, arthritis and cancer. According to him
adaptive energy is limited by an individual genetics. He believed that we all have limits as to
how much stress we can tolerate before the regulatory systems in the body which preserve
homeostasis break down. Selye proposed that cognitive variables such as perception played no
role in contributing to the initiation of the GAS. In 1983, he said that (eustress) both positively
and negatively toned experience could be contributed to or moderated by cognitive factors.
Although selye did not specifically address the concept of coping in his work, his notion of
defense and adaptation are conceptually similar to that of coping. Stress is interpreted as
- that is productive arousal and vital energy (Selye, 1974).
1.4.2 Stress as a Stimulus.
Holmes and Rahe (1967) proposed a stimulus-based theory of
stress. The body does not know the difference between good or bad stress. However, with new
psychoneuro immunological data available, there is some physiological differences between
good and bad stress (e.g., the release of different neuropeptides), the definition of stress has
been expanded: stress is the inability to cope with a perceived threat to one
’s mental, physical,
emotional and spiritual well being. There are three kinds of stress; eustress, neustress and
distress. First is positive, a good stress, second is neither good nor bad and the third is bad
stress. There are two types of distress: acute stress, which is quiet intense and chronic stress,
which seems to linger for prolonged period of time. Sources of stress and its effects are
multiple. It may relate with every domain of a person’s life such as work, h
ome, family, money,
environment and interpersonal relations. Following is the major stress producing theory of
stress, which treats life changes as the stressors to which a person responds. The central
proposition of this theory is that too many changes increase one’
s vulnerability to illness. The
theory was based on the premise that (a) life changes are normative and each life change results
in the same readjustment demands for all persons (b) change is stressful regardless of the
desirability of the event to a person (c) there is a common threshold of readjustment demands
beyond which illness results.
During the 1970’s, hundreds of studies were conducted on the
ability of the life event scores to predict illness. Therefore, unlike the response-based model,
stress is the independent variable in research.
1.4.3 Stress as a Transaction.
Lazarus was a social personality psychologist who developed
a transactional model of stress (Lazarus1966, Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). In his research on the
effects of stress on skilled performance, Lazarus explored the individual differences in
psychological stress. During the research, it seemed evident that arousal and influence of stress
depend on how different individuals evaluate and cope with the situation regarding personal
resources. Lazarus (1966) expressed that appraisal was the center piece of stress and coping.
Two main sets of variables, environmental and personality are central in the perception of
stress. Some environmental circumstances impose huge
demand on a person’s resources, where
as others provide a considerable space for available capabilities and endurance. He proposed
stress, as a concept, which has an analytical value and is not a single variable as it envelops
cognitive, effective and coping variables. Stress does not
exist in the “event” but
is an outcome
of a transaction between a person and his environment. Lazarus (1966) and Folkman (1984)
declared that the primary mediator of person environment transaction was the judgment of
stress. Lazarus (1991) explains that an emotional meaning of a person
relationship is framed by the process of appraisal. The number of automatic decisions
concerning a particular situation determines the relevancy of that situation to one’s ambitions,
beliefs or morals.
There are three type of appraisal classified as primary, secondary and reappraisal.
Primary appraisal is a judgment about how the person apprehends a particular situation. A
person judges the possible influence of demands and resources on psychological health. If the
demand of a situation outweighs available resources, then the person may determine that the
situation represents a potential for harm or considers that actual harm has already occurred or on
the contrary he may perceive the situation as somewhat challenging.
The intuition of threat triggers secondary appraisal which comprises of determination of
coping options available to deal with threat. Reappraisal is the process which involves
continuous appraisal, alteration or redefining earlier primary or secondary evaluation as the
situation evolves. Eventually, previously perceived as threatening may now be considered a
challenge. There are several factors that effect the appraisal of threat which includes
positive affect, positive thinking, values, goals, capability of enduring stressful situations,
gravity of situation, social support, situational constrains and proximity. Emotion and coping
behavior is determined by the significant transaction which occurs in the appraisal process
(Lazarus1966; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). Transactions model, unlike response based and
stimulus based orientation to stress, involves coping efforts. So, it is not the stress that matters,
but the appraisal of the stress, which determines the gravity of the situation.
Personality disposition plays an important role in determining whether a person is more
prone to threat or has the confidence to face the dire circumstances employing self-efficacy
(Bandura, 1977, 1989, 1997).The more confident we are of our abilities to sustain the dangers
and obstacles, the more likely we are challenged rather than threatened. In transactional
approach, environmental circumstances and personality dispositions play a vital role in appraisal
of a particular situation as either a stress or a challenge.
Synchronizing with all three approaches, stress can be expressed as the state which
occurs when transactions lead the person to evaluate a discrepancy between the demands of a
stressor and the capabilities of his or her biological, psychological and social systems. This
divergence minimizes when a person thinks positively and appraises the stressor as manageable.
Strain occurs when stress exists and can involve psychological distress and physiological
reactions called reactivity that includes heightened blood pressure and heart rate.
Lazarus’s transactional model
is the basic foundation of the present research. The
principle of his theory is that stress is dependent on the thinking of individuals. If an individual
perceives the circumstances and cope with them positively, the appraisal of stress will be
different as compared to the negative thinkers.
In Pakistan, stress prevails in the majority of the population. External and internal issues
affect literate and illiterate both in a similar way. The competitive national and international
market, ever-increasing inflation and economy put a lot of financial pressure on the adults. In
addition, they bear a lot of social pressure regarding financial status, maintaining a respected
image and fulfill the moral obligations. Globalization, a major source of change, has widened
the gap between the older and the younger. Youngsters, busy in the world of computers and
internet have confined themselves in the rooms for hours and hours. By watching and adopting
the Western culture the Eastern collectivism has been gradually replaced by Western
individualism. This phenomenon is frustrating for elders. The huge difference between the
beliefs of youngsters and elders worsens the situation. The institutions of society are getting
week so the conduction of huge amount of research, conferences, seminars and workshops are
vital for the reduction of stress.
1.4.4 Work stress.
Work is important in terms of producing income, boasting up self-esteem, creating
opportunities for constructive activities and producing the goods and services needed by society.
Hence, it is highly valued in modern societies. However, with the increasing professional
responsibilities one tends to get pressurized. This gives rise to the anxiety, burnout, frustration
and depression which result in workplace stress.
Work is now-a-days a major source of stress for Pakistani people. Multinational
companies have occupied their employees for working 24/7 a day by providing handsome
salaries but it has raised their stressors and affected their health negatively. National institute of
Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH, 1999) defined Work stress as the negative physical and
psychological responses that occur when the requirement of the job do not match the abilities,
resources or needs of the workers. Some jobs are stressful by definition because they are
physically challenging (firefighting or criminal justice), involve matters of life and death
(emergency functions) or are psychologically demanding such as social work and teaching.
The occupational stressors can be categorized into four major groups which include the
working conditions, relationships at work, role conflict and ambiguity including ill-defined role
and organizational structure which includes communication policy and practice. Another stressor
is career development which is obstructed by the factors such as under utilization of skills or
inability to reach full potential and physically and emotionally challenging jobs (Parikh &
Tuatara, Bhattacharya, 2004). Other work stressors include long working hours, considerable
travel, corporate politics, competitive environment and job insecurity (Elverson & Billing,
1997).Workplace stress is usually the outcome of unmanageable workload, deadlines, feeling
undervalued, type of colleagues, lack of job satisfaction, having to work for long hours and
frustration with the working environment.
One of the most serious occupational health hazards is the work-related stress leading to
employee discontentment, less output, low attendance and transfer (Cummins, 1990; Spiel
Berger & Releaser, 1995). Eleven million workers claimed health-hazardous levels of work
stress in nationwide surveys (Saunter, Murphy, & Harrell, 1990, p. 1148). According to Spiel
Berger and Reheiser, (1995) 25% of the employees report various illnesses due to stress, 69%
report lessened output and 53% declared work as the highest among the stressors (pp. 51
Rosch (1991) expresses work stress as occupational liabilities in which the individual appraises
having a great deal of responsibility, yet little or no authority. Workload, interpersonal
relationship complications, role conflict and ambiguity, work versus home, lack of resources and
demands of the employer are the most significant stress determinants.
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested