Sunday, December 22, 2013

Stress: Person-Environment Fit

In the last byte, we look at Cognitive Appraisal Approach towards understanding stress. In today's byte, we look at the Person-Environment fit Approach towards understanding stress.

It is not uncommon for us to see that people around us have various expectations from us. When we live up to their expectations, we feel happy about having lived up to the bar, but in other cases, it is not surprising that we feel sorry for not having been able to do it. In extreme cases, we feel a sort of strain - in extreme cases could result into depression!

This area of study of the relationship of how confusing and conflicting expectations for a person in a social role could create stress in him/her was conducted by Robert Kahn. This evolved as a part of social psychology in the attempt to understand stress.

The approach of studying the stress that gets created due to expectations which are confusing or conflicting between people was extended to include the person-environment. A good person-environment fit takes place when a person's skills and abilities match a clearly defined, consistent set of expectations. This results in no stress for the individual. But when the role expectations are confusing or conflicting or when the person's skills and abilities are not able to live up to the demands of the role, we find stress emerging up.

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