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Psychopathology – The Impacts of Stress

3. Differences in the Stress Response

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This third lecture explores individual differences in people’s responses to stressful events. The first explanation for these differences is introduced as Kobasa’s 1979 concept of hardiness. Hardiness is split into three key attitudes: commitment, control, and challenge. One way of understanding hardiness is highlighted as a sensitiveness to the changeability of events, leading to finding potential change or disruption less threatening and stressful. Another key factor in the success of hardy people at dealing with stress is linked to their active coping strategies, utilising task-focused coping rather than disengagement or avoidant strategies. The second part of this lecture introduces 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. The last part of this lecture introduces 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. The first lecture discusses the physiological stress response, detailing the key hormones, organs and neurotransmitters involved in these complicated biological processes. The second lecture looks at sources of stress and the methods researchers have used to measure someone’s stress level or response. The third lecture expands on this by outlining individual differences in people’s responses to stressful situations, focusing on the concepts of hardiness and personality types. The fourth lecture describes four key methods for coping with stress: drug therapies, cognitive behavioural therapies, biofeedback, and social support. The fifth and final lecture explores how stress can impact cognition, specifically memory processes.

Note: Dr Livia Tomova is currently looking for 16-19 year old males in the Cambridge area to take part in a research project looking at how being alone affects young people’s cognition. Click here for more information.


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. Her recent publications include investigations into how social isolation can evoke cravings in the brain akin to the hunger response, and how acute stress can alter value representation. Dr Tomova’s other research interests include whether social media can fulfil social needs.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

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

MLA style

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

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