GRE Subject Test: Psychology : Stress, Conflict, Coping

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Subject Test: Psychology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Stress, Conflict, Coping

Which of the following terms describes the response of an organism to stress?

Possible Answers:

Anxiety

Adjustment

Accommodation

Assimilation

Adaptation

Correct answer:

Adaptation

Explanation:

The response of an organism to stress is known as adaptation; this is the adjustment of an organism to a change in internal or external conditions or circumstances, i.e.stress.

Anxiety is an uneasy feeling of discomfort or dread, the source of which is often unknown to the individual. It is distress caused by fear. Adjustment is the action of bringing a body part into alignment with the others. This is also referred to as manipulation. Assimilation is the absorption of newly perceived information into the person's existing conscious structure. Accommodation is the adjustment of the lens of the eye to focus on images at various distances. 

Example Question #2 : Clinical & Abnormal

Which of the following best describes a diathesis?

Possible Answers:

A traumatic life event

A predisposition towards developing a certain mental disorder

A cluster of depressive symptoms

None of these

An early diagnosis of a mental illness

Correct answer:

A predisposition towards developing a certain mental disorder

Explanation:

A diathesis is a predisposition towards the development of a particular mental illness. It could be a genetic defect or an anatomical abnormality (ex. a biochemical disorder that leads to mental illness). According to the diathesis-stress model, individuals develop mental illnesses in response to a combination of stressful circumstances and genetic predispositions.

Example Question #2 : Stress, Conflict, Coping

The diathesis-stress model offers a theoretical explanation for which of the following diagnoses?

Possible Answers:

Major depressive disorder

Autism spectrum disorder

Broca's aphasia

Substance abuse

Correct answer:

Major depressive disorder

Explanation:

According to the diathesis-stress model, mental disorders are the result of a predisposition to mental illness and a stressful life event. In this theory, genetic abnormalities do not automatically result in mood disorders (e.g. like depression). They will only result in mental illnesses when combined with a traumatic life event, (e.g. the loss of a parent or abuse).

Example Question #3 : Stress, Conflict, Coping

Which of the following types of stress has beneficial consequences rather than harmful effects?

Possible Answers:

Distress

Hyperstress

Eustress

Hypostress

Correct answer:

Eustress

Explanation:

Eustress describes a stress we have "enjoyed” (e.g. getting into college or starting a new job). The experience is taxing; however, these are enjoyable tasks that advance our development. Note the prefix “eu” that is from the Greek meaning good, well, true, or genuine. It is used in words such as euthymia (a pleasant mood state), euthanasia (literally, good death), and Eucharist.

Example Question #4 : Stress, Conflict, Coping

Which of the following factors does not promote coping during stressful situations?

Possible Answers:

Faith or spiritual practice

Perceived lack of control

Support from peers

Altruism

Correct answer:

Perceived lack of control

Explanation:

Many researchers believe that individuals have characteristic means of coping, even across a variety of stressful situations. Some individuals rely on healthy habits like seeking social support, relaxation techniques, or religion, while others turn to unhealthy coping behaviors such as alcohol or other controlled substances. A high level of perceived control over one's life can help individuals deal with difficult events.

Example Question #5 : Stress, Conflict, Coping

Alan is working on an important computer project at work, when suddenly the building loses power, and Alan's computer shuts off. Alan goes home upset because he could not finish his project, and later that evening yells at his son for dropping a plate of food.

Alan is most closely demonstrating which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Frustration-sublimation reaction

Rationalization response

Frustration-aggression hypothesis

Fundamental attribution error

Correct answer:

Frustration-aggression hypothesis

Explanation:

First proposed by John Dollard and Neal E. Miller in 1939, the frustration-aggression hypothesis posits that frustration is the formation of aggression as a result of environmental circumstances frustrating our ability to complete perceived goals. Despite seventy years of research, the theory has little academic support, but it has served as the foundation for other, more successful theories.

Example Question #6 : Stress, Conflict, Coping

Which of the following is true regarding the frustration-aggression hypothesis?

Possible Answers:

Aggression and frustration tend occur at the same time

Aggression tends to occur first, then frustration happens later

Either frustration or aggression can come first, with the other happening later

Frustration tends to happen first, then aggression happens later

Correct answer:

Aggression and frustration tend occur at the same time

Explanation:

Under both the original frustration-aggression hypothesis and modern interpretations of it, the frustrating circumstance immediately triggers the aggressive feeling in the individual. The act of aggression, if any, may not occur until later, but if a condition does not immediately produce at least some aggressive response, then it is not likely to at a later time.

Example Question #8 : Clinical & Abnormal

People with which of the following characteristics are most likely to healthily cope with a traumatic event?

Possible Answers:

High socioeconomic status (SES)

Good physical health

Strong external support network

Experienced trauma of a similar nature in the past

Correct answer:

Strong external support network

Explanation:

Most modern theories of stress and coping psychology agree that across different factors (e.g. gender, race, trauma type, age, physical health and even personality inventory scores) one characteristic stands out because it possesses a strong correlation with successful coping strategies: a strong external support network.

Example Question #7 : Stress, Conflict, Coping

Charelle is considering becoming pregnant. She does not like the idea of losing her personal time to care for another person; however, she fears that if she does not act quickly, then she may undergo menopause and be unable to conceive.

This is an example of which of the following?

Possible Answers:

None of these

Approach-avoidance conflict

Approach-approach conflict

Avoidance-avoidance conflict

Correct answer:

Approach-avoidance conflict

Explanation:

The approach-avoidance model of conflict describes a situation in which a single goal or choice both appeals to and repulses the same person. Charelle's desire to have a child before menopause occurs is warring with her desire to remain in charge of her own free time. 

Example Question #10 : Clinical & Abnormal

Which of the following types of conflict is most likely to produce an unstable equilibrium?

Possible Answers:

Approach-avoidance conflict

None of these

Double approach-avoidance conflict

Approach-approach conflict

Correct answer:

Approach-approach conflict

Explanation:

Approach-approach conflicts tend to result in an unstable equilibrium. This type of conflict arises when a person has to choose between two desires with positive outcomes. They create unstable equilibriums because as soon as a person moves towards one goal, they move away from another. These choices may cause them regret or dissonance in the future because one "cannot have their cake and eat it too." In other words, when someone is presented with two potentially positive outcomes, they may wish they had chosen differently depending on future circumstances. 

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