Application of Lazarus's cognitive transactional model of stress-appraisal-coping in an undergraduate mental health nursing programme in the Western Cape, South Africa
Martin, Penelope D.
Daniels, Felicity M.
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This article describes how the cognitive transactional model of stress-appraisal-coping can be applied in the sense making process for students working in the challenging mental health care environment. Primary and secondary literature was searched by means of computer-assisted data bases using key words. An overview of emotions, emotion functioning and regulation is alluded to, to give credence to the application of the transactional model of stress and coping as purported by Lazarus & Folkman. The model is cognitive because it is based on the assumption that students' thinking processes, memory and the meaning that those events have for the student experiencing them - will act to mediate in determining stress and coping resources. The definition of stress emphasises the subjective responses in the relationship between the student and the mental health care environment. Coping, on the other hand, refers to the cognitive and behavioural attempts made by students to manage the demands of the mental health care environment but are appraised as exceeding the resources they possess. The central assumption of this theory is that the interaction between an individual and the environment creates stress experienced by the individual. In order to contextualise the discussion theoretical perspectives on emotions are alluded to. A simplistic example is given to show how undergraduate mental health nursing students may appraise an encounter with a mentally ill person and the outcome of that appraisal within the students' sense making process.