HBHE670: The Stress Process

HBHE670: The Stress Process

Syllabus: HBHE670: The Stress Process, Winter 2011

Neal Krause, Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education

Course description: Students selectively examine literature on the definition, measurement, and epidemiology of stress.

In the coursepack: a timely assortment of nearly 60 articles, with topics ranging from “stressful life events and depressive symptoms” to “stress, age, and immune function” and “gender, household labor, and psychological distress.”

Desired outcome: This course should help students develop an overarching theoretical rationale that will provide them with an intuitive understanding of many of the findings that have emerged in epidemiologic research. Ideally, such insights will help students develop more effective interventions and make more informed public policy decisions and recommendations.

The professor says: “I start the class by saying, ‘What is stress? Raise your hand if you’ve never had a stressful experience in your life.’ No one does. I tell them since everybody’s experienced it, now we’re talking about you personally. This is a class that’s about your life. Start looking at yourself a little more analytically, and you’ll see that a lot of what we talk about are things that you do.”

Coping at UM SPH

“In the winter months, I exercise on my treadmill, watching fun movies. I catch up on good movies and get exercise.”
-Nancy Janz, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor, Health Behavior and Health Education

“Eating, watching TV, and to-do lists.”
-Sofia Gaudioso, Second-year Student, Health Behavior and Health Education

“I play ‘Words with Friends’ on Facebook.”
-J. Scott Roberts, Assistant Professor, Health Behavior and Health Education

“I used to do ballroom dancing, and now I’m thinking about joining a swing dance club.”
-Adam Pagnier, Barista, SPH Glass House Café

“I like to box, wrestle, watch YouTube videos, and spend time with my lady.”
-Justin Rodgers, Second-year Student, Epidemiology

“I take a walk. Depending on the day, I might take three or four. I think about the tough things while I’m moving.”
-Don Vereen, Senior Research Program Officer, UM Prevention Research Center

“I go to ballet class. It’s absorbing enough so that when I step into that classroom I’m not thinking about anything else.”
-Félice Lê, Doctoral Student, Epidemiology

“When I come out of a big meeting where I have spent myself, I go for chocolate.”
-Chanel DeGuzman, Director, Academic Diversity Initiatives

“I like to take my dog, Kira, for a walk around the neighborhood.”
-Al Franzblau, Associate Dean for Research

“I ask myself whether I have control over whatever is stressing me. Once I realize that the answer is no—as is usually the case—the stress just melts away. ”
-Leon Wyszewianski, Associate Professor, Health Management and Policy

“I play with my three-year old daughter, who somehow knows just the right techniques for easing my stress in a matter of minutes.”
-Rick Neitzel, Assistant Professor, Environmental Health Sciences

“I read depressing books about frustrated mathematicians/scientists and feel, oh, I am not the only one! It makes me feel better.”
-Bhramar Mukherjee, Associate Professor, Biostatistics