Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Role of Social Support in Combating Psychological Distress among Senior Secondary School Students

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Role of Social Support in Combating Psychological Distress among Senior Secondary School Students

Article excerpt

Psychological distress

Psychological distress is a non-specific negative state which affects both directly and indirectly on mental and physical health of the person. It is a type of negative feelings which are associated with both depression and anxiety (Bruce, Dohrenwend et al., 1980). Psychological distress has been charac-terized by the following attributes such as a perceived inability to cope effectively, change in emotion, discomfort, difficulty in communication (Ridner, 2004). As a result many individuals develop symptoms of different types of mental disorders such as anxiety, tension, irritability, depression etc and physical symptoms such as headache, insomnia, etc. It is observed that psychological distress is common mental health problem to general population and particularly among students group. Therefore, psychologists are more concerned about symptoms and severity of these problem caused by psychological distress and its affect on general human being which are the major problem of present modem society.

In modem era, on one side adolescents have many opportunities for growth and personality development from their schools, colleges home environment, and availability of advance scientific technologies, on the other hand they are facing a number of potentially stressful circumstances, including academic demands, parental pressure, financial difficulties, and a variety of social stressors. As a result, laige number of adolescents population suffer from for anxiety and depression (e.g., Allgower, Wardle, Steptoe, 2001 ; Bauer & Becker, 1998).

Psychological distress is defined "as a continuous experience of unhappiness, nervousness, irritability and problematic interpersonal relationships" (Chalfant et al., 1990).

Psychological distress refers to a range of negative feeling that lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and mood disorders. High psychological distress has been shown to be associated with increase rates of substance use and poor school performance (NSW Health, 2004).

Psychological distress is largely defined as a state of emotional suffering characterized by symptoms of depression (e.g., lost interest; sadness; hopelessness) and anxiety (e.g., restlessness; feeling tense) (Mirowsky & Ross, 2002). These symptoms may be tied in with somatic symptoms (e.g., insomnia; headaches; lack of energy) that are likely to vary across cultures (Kleinman, 1991). In particular, tenants of the stress-distress model posit that the defining features of psychological distress are the exposure to a stressful event that threatens the physical or mental health, the inability to cope effectively with this stressor and the emotional turmoil that results from this ineffective coping (Horwitz, 2007; Ridner, 2004).

There is a difference between day to day stress and distress. Every one experience stress, it is not only normal but within acceptable limits, play a positive role. Some level of stress is beneficial because it produces alertness and determination. Stress may produce physical and nervous tension but we are still able to cope. When stress become too great and last too long, we may start to experience distress, it is a state in which our coping abilities begin to breakdown. Distress means that stress has gone beyond acceptable limits, when we experience distress, we are out of balance . In this case our bodies and mind cry out for some kind of help. This call for help may take many forms such as moodiness, irritability, depression, anxiety, insomnia, or physical symptoms such as stomach upset or headache. In the case of great distress, a more serious imbalance may result. Distress may lead into a numbing of thought processes and unwillingness to act. Sense of meaninglessness may develop into thought of suicide. Nervousness and anxiety may intensify to the point of incapacitating fears such as agoraphobia (fear of being in open space) or obsessive habit (repeatedly washing one's hand or cleaning the sink do to exaggerated fear about dirt and germs). …

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