Effortful and Involuntary Responses to Stress

Implications for Coping with Chronic Stress
  • Bruce E. Compas
  • Jennifer Connor
  • Dana Osowiecki
  • Amy Welch
Part of the The Springer Series on Stress and Coping book series (SSSO)


When Elaine received her diagnosis of breast cancer, she was faced with stress in virtually all aspects of her life. The diagnosis itself was unexpected and acutely stressful—her surgeon found and removed a 2 centimeter tumor and four positive lymph nodes. Yet the diagnosis was only the beginning of a long and frightening process. Her surgery was difficult and left her with the loss of her breast, feeling self-conscious and concerned about her appearance and her sexuality. In the ensuing months she faced several cycles of chemotherapy that left her fatigued, somewhat nauseous, and embarrassed about the loss of her hair. She felt unable to fulfill her responsibilities to her family or her job, because all of her daily routines at home and at work were disrupted. Her husband had withdrawn from her, apparently unwilling or unable to talk about her illness. She was worried about her oldest daughter, who was assuming far too many responsibilities for a 14-year-old girl by trying to care for Elaine, her siblings, and her father. And when she finally laid down at night, a time when she hoped to escape all of the stresses of her disease, Elaine was hounded by uncontrollable thoughts and images of her cancer, the aversive treatment procedures, and fears about her own and her family’s future.


Chronic Stress Negative Thought Effortful Control Coping Response Intrusive Thought 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce E. Compas
    • 1
  • Jennifer Connor
    • 1
  • Dana Osowiecki
    • 1
  • Amy Welch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA

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