The Transactional Theory Of Stress And Coping

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The Transactional Theory of Stress and Coping was developed by American psychologist Richard S. Lazarus. It is used to analyze the complex processes individuals undergo in coping with stressful life experiences. The core assumption of this theory is that coping is a process wherein adaptational outcomes are determined by how individuals appraise stressful experiences, the coping styles that are employed by the individual, and how dispositional and situational factors serve as mediating variables (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984; Lazarus, 1999).

In early traditional approaches, studies have primarily focused on examining the causal relationship between stress and coping. For example, animal experimentations conceptualized stress as a physiological drive that is triggered by negative environmental stimuli. As such, coping behaviors were seen as acts of controlling how we respond to these negative stimuli. On the other hand, psychoanalytic ego psychology presented a trait and style approach to coping. In this perspective, the traits and characteristics that individuals possess will determine how they react to particular types of stimuli. However, there are limitations to this approach. The major criticism was that the model looks at person-environment interactions as static phenomena. Therefore, the model is too linear or unidirectional in relationship that it does not consider the possibility that the individual also plays a role in changing the environment. (Lazarus &
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