The contents of the book «The Psychology of Stress: Psychological Anthropology of stress»

Leonid Kitaev-Smyk

The Psychology of Stress: Psychological Anthropology of stress



1. Methodology of Stress Studies (Introduction)

1.1. Concept of stress according to Hans Selye – “General Adaptation Syndrome” (introduction)

1.1.1 Background and factors underlying the high popularity of stress studies

1.1.2. The fundamentals of H. Selye’s concept

1.1.3. Mobilization stages of adaptive reserves according to H. Selye

1.2. Development of stress concept

1.2.1. The many meanings of “stress”

1.2.2. Stress sub-syndromes

1.2.3. Changes in the balance and relative proportions of somatic, mental and social-psychological manifestations of stress and distress

1.2.4. Crisis levels of stress under extreme pressure, and gradual changes in the manifestation of stress

1.3. Methodology of stress studies

1.3.1. Ethical principles in stress studies

1.3.2. Organizational and methodical principles in stress studies

1.3.3. Extreme pressure and stressors

1.3.4. The “mystery” of certain stressors

1.3.5. “Life stress” and “death stress”

1.4. Summary

References to chapter 1


2. Emotional and behavioral sub-syndrome of stress

2.1. General emotional and behavioral patterns under stress

2.1.1. Emotions and behavior under short-term stress (first level of stress crisis, the alarm phase)

2.1.2. Active emotional and behavioral responses to short-term stress

2.1.3. Microstructure of emotional and behavioral reaction to short-term stress

2.1.4. Primary passive emotional and behavioral response to stress

2.1.5. Constructive emotional and behavioral response to stress

2.1.6. Constructive emotional and behavioral response during professional activity regulated by lethal risk

2.1.7. “Movement storm” or “fake death” of combat stress (first level of stress crisis)

2.1.8. Activity and passivity in the beginning of life

2.1.9. Emotions and reaction under prolonged stress (second level of stress crisis). Secondary stress passivity

2.1.10. Performance efficiency under stress

А. Performance efficiency under short-term stress
B. Physical performance under prolonged stress

2.1.11. Ranking of combat stress intensity

2.1.12. Emotional and behavioral (quasi-suicidal) response to the third level of stress crisis (combat stress of soldiers during bloody battles in Chechnya in January-April, 1994)

А. Stress-constructive individual aspects formed in combats
B. Soldiers with depressive stress reactions
C. Soldiers with heboid stress reactions
D. Soldiers with brutal stress reactions
E. Schizoid reactions under combat stress

2.1.13. Tragedy of involuntary victims. Zoo-anthropological interpretation of combat (quasi-suicidal) stress crisis of the third level

2.1.14. Con-temporal medical and psychological evaluation of psychological disorder in the war

2.1.15. Stress of dying. Stress crisis of the fourth level

А. “Easy” and “hard” death
B. Gender differences in dying
C. Can we anticipate death?
D. Descending the “staircase of death”
E. “Starvation death”

2.2. Emotional and behavioral differences under short-term stress

2.2.1. Classification of stress reactions

2.2.2. Behavioral responses under short-term stress (in weightlessness)

2.2.3. Stress reaction “What’s going on? What shall I do?”

2.2.4. Active coping (first group)

2.2.5. Passive coping (second group)

2.2.6. “Unbelievable catastrophe around me” – reason for passivity for some people and “disaster inside my body” – reason for passivity towards others

2.2.7. “Constructive” people, and people not involved in stress (third group)

2.2.8. Activity inversion under stress (forth group)

2.2.9. Origin of illusions of the “shock” stress

2.2.10. Sensory-motor reactions under short-term linear accelerations

2.3. Emotional and behavioral phenomenon under repeated stress

2.3.1. “Me – not me” syndrome

2.3.2. A need to “share happiness with others” and “shutting down”

2.3.3. “Superiority complex” and feeling of involvement in something great and true

2.3.4. Retrograde amnesia under stress

2.3.5. Behavior of professionals and non-professionals in weightlessness

2.3.6. Women in weightlessness

2.3.7. How to determine stress resistance of a group

2.3.8. Panic disorder (“panic attacks”) and “critical emotional shock mass”

2.4. Phenomenon of emotional “splitting” (“duplication”) under stress

2.4.1. Emotional “splitting” (“duplication”) in weightlessness

2.4.2. Phenomenon of “nihilism” of emotional expressions

2.4.3. “Overall emotional dualization” in weightlessness

2.4.4. Keeping a “brave face”

2.4.5. Inappropriate laughter

2.4.6. “Gioconda smile” and “Zirinovsky’s look”, or stress of a “splitted soul”

2.4.7. “Un-split” emotions of a leader

2.4.8. Criminal “splitting” of communicational joy

2.5. “No words for emotions” (alexithymia) after gravitation stress and “lethal discomfort” under kinetosis stress

2.5.1. Study of emotions and behavior in (a) weightlessness during training for the first orbital missions and (b) during continuous (for several weeks) spin while mission-training for Mars

2.5.2. Behavioral reactions under short-term stress (in weightlessness)

2.5.3. Alexithymia after weightlessness impact

2.5.4. About alexithymia – “no words for emotions”

2.5.5. More about alexithymia during space stressors simulation

2.5.6. Alexithymia and the balance of cerebral hemispheres

2.5.7. Behavioral reactions, alexithymia and “lethal discomfort” under exhausting kinetosis distress

2.5.8. Inter-hemispheric asymmetry of the brain and alternative stress disorders

2.6. Emotions and behavior under shock-type sound stress. Acoustic stress during shooting of “someone else’s” AK-47

2.6.1. Shock-type acoustic stress

2.6.2. Stress impact on soldiers of the shooting of “someone else’s” AK-47 during the “attack” in a bunker type area and while “taking cover” there

2.6.3. Stress impact of the shooting of “someone else’s” AK-47 on the immobile soldiers

2.6.4. Stress impact of the shooting of “someone else’s” AK-47 on the attackers

2.6.5. Zoo-anthropological meaning of “activity” and “passivity” under the “acoustic shock”

2.6.6. Delight under the acoustic stress – reversed terror

2.6.7. Impact of the strong sonic bang (acoustic shock)

2.6.8. Psychological aspects of the acoustic stress

2.6.9. Psycho-physiological aspects of the acoustic stress

2.6.10. Medico-psychological aspects of the acoustic stress

2.6.11. “Electrics” of the brain (physiological aspects) under the acoustic stress

2.6.12. Conclusion

2.7. Activity or passivity

2.7.1. Ancient Greek, Central Asian and Far Eastern scholars’ notions about activity and passivity

2.7.2. Sources of activity and passivity under stress

2.7.3. No one is doomed to activity or passivity under stress

2.7.4. The “value” of activity or passivity under stress


References to chapter 2


3. Vegetative sub-syndrome of stress

3.1. General pattern of changes in vegetative activity under stress

3.1.1. Stress crisis of the first level – vegetative systems of the body, which “serve” the mind

3.1.2. Protective activation of the physiological vegetative functions under the stress crisis of the second level

3.1.3. Overall and local physiological vegetative reactions to stress

3.1.4. Preventive and protective vegetative (physiological) reactions – precursors of physical (somatic) stress diseases

А. Reinforcement of the cardiovascular (hemo-circular) function
B. Stress and infarction of a young, healthy heart
C. Pathologic transformation of the regenerative function restoring body tissues
D. Reinforcement of the self-cleaning (excretory) function
E. Increase of the immune (antibiotic) activity directed at the elimination of the foreign bodies
F. Reinforcement of the blood stopping (anti-hemorrhagic) function
G. Poly-system of the stress protective disease-causing and injurious physical reactions

3.1.5. Selective (sorting out) impact of the injurious local stress reactions

3.1.6. Why do Type A people die under stress more often than Type B?

3.1.7. Cultural continental, ethnic and gender differences in death-rate from “stress diseases”

3.1.8. Oncological diseases of “sexual stress”. Stress crisis of the fourth level - dying


3.2.1. Vegetative reactions under multiple repetitions of short-term gravitation stress

А. Individual differences of the vegetative reactions under multiple impacts of the short-term zero-gravity modes. Methods of adaptation
B. Severe cases of kinetosis (“motion disease”) in short-term zero-gravity modes
C. Tolerance comparison of rocking on a swing and on zero-gravity “hills” (parabolas)

3.2.2. Vegetative reaction (kinetosis) under continuous prolonged gravi-inertial stress

А. Periodization of prolonged stress. Individual differences in vegetative reactions under prolonged gravi-inertial stress
B. “Rule of the seven beans”

3.2.3. Dynamics of “stress hormone” and “immune defence” production under prolonged stress

3.2.4. Impact of additional short-term stressors on the prolonged stress

А. Responsibility stressor
B. Light and acoustic stressors
C. Additional gravi-inertial stressors

3.2.5. Stressors under erotic verbal reactions (“dirty words”) and sexual invectives (“cursing”)

А. Erotic stressors. Psychophysiology of swearing
B. Swearing in space?
C. Hospital swearing
D. Obscene couplets after the combat

3.2.6. Music of V. Vysotsky, Beatles and distress

3.2.7. Colours as “emotional tissue” and distress

3.2.8. Digestive system under kinetosis

3.2.9. Appetite and distress





3.5.1 Relevance of kinetosis problem

3.5.2. Different understanding of kinetosis problem (“motion disease”)

А. “Sensory conflict” as the main reason for kinetosis

а) Conflict between visual afference (VA) and gravi-inertial afference (GA)
b) Conflict between cupular afference (CA) from the semicircular canals and macular afference (MA) from the otolithic receptors

B. Hierarchy of the information-conceptual conflicts causing kinetosis (“motion disease”)

а) Low-level conflicts
b) Middle-level conflicts
c) High-level conflicts

C. Complex development model of motion disease

а) Hemodynamic-respiratory concept of kinetosis
b) Neuroendocrinal homeostatic concept of kinetosis
c) “Neuromuscular” concept of kinetosis
d) A. Graybiel’s concept: “absurd reactions” as a reason for kinetosis
e) Illusive perception of extremally-changed environment as one of the reasons for kinetosis
f) Disorder of the labyrinth pair function as one of the reasons for kinetosis

3.5.3. From the history of kinetosis (“motion disease”) studies

А. Labyrinth concepts of kinetosis
B. “Hemo-circular” concept of kinetosis

3.5.4. Brief overview of kinetosis (“movement disorder”, “motion-steeping disease”) as a “disease-type condition” (quasidisease)

3.6. Three types of selection (“optimizing sorting out”) of the animal (and human) world and the “stress of ageing”

3.6.1. Types of “population selection”

3.6.2. Brief overview of “stress of ageing” as a “population selection of the second type”

3.6.3. About necessity for death of old age on planet Earth


References to chapter 3


4. Cognitive sub-syndrome of stress. Cognitive processes under stress. Mental (psychic) “stress disorders”

4.1. General pattern of changes in cognitive processes under intensification of stress

4.1.1. Thinking under short-term stress and in the beginning of long-term stress

А. “Bogging down” of the thinking processes under new stressors
B. Thinking activation under stress
C. Thinking passivity under stress and “eluding” solving of stressful problems
D. “Emotionless” intensification of thinking under stress
E. Are there any specific aspects of thinking under stress crisis of the first level?

4.1.2. Changes in thinking processes under the intensification of distress

А. Productive and counter-productive thinking under the intensification of stress
B. Non-constructive over-activity of thinking under distress
C. Non-constructive reduction of productive thinking under distress
D. Intellectual activity of the observer during the multi-day stress on board ground-based simulator of the interplanetary space-ship

4.1.3. Stress of the creative process. Inspirational stress

А. Pre-creativity stress
B. Creativity stress
C. Paroxysm of the creative insight
D. Moments of creativity under the lethal risk
E. Inspirational eu-stress
F. Tragedy of intellectual exhaustion
G. Typology of publicity that inspires creators
H. Talent and creativity stress
I. About eu-stress of ersatz-creativity (pseudo-creativity)

4.1.4. Dangerous changes in thinking under exhausting distress. “Psychic disorders of stress” – cognitive form of stress crisis of the third level

А. Psycho-reactive syndrome of agitation
B. Neurotic reaction of agitation
C. Hysterical reactive state
D. Prolonged psychoreactive syndromes
E. Paranoid forms of reactive psychosis
F. Psychoreactive syndrome of retardation
G. Hysterical depression
H. Reactive psychotic depression
I. Hypochondriac depression

4.1.5. Neurotic disorders

А. Nervous prostration
B. Obsessional neurosis
C. Hysteria
D. Psychasthenia
E. Neurotic personality development

4.1.6. Prevalence of psychic stress disorders

4.1.7. Suicidal psychic and somatic exhaustions under distress

А. Active death – acute febrile psychosis. Febrile schizophrenia
B. Passive death - lethargy
C. I.V. Stalin’s illness and lethal distress

4.2. Four types of “horror of death”

4.2.1. About fears and horrors

4.2.2. “Individual horror of death”

4.2.3. “Horror of prestige death”

4.2.4. “Horror of fear for loved ones”

4.2.5. “Horror of distress”

4.2.6. Distress as a way of population selection

4.2.7. Four “main types of fear” according to Fritz Riemann

4.2.8. Horror of one’s own madness

4.2.9. Approaches to the “horror of death” problem

4.2.10. Death trance of the Chechen female suicide bombers

а). Terrorism of female suicide bombers
b). Military reasons of civilians’ stress
c). “Chechen depression”
d). “Death trance”

4.2.11. About courage

А. Absolute fearlessness?
B. Etymological “classification” of courage
C. Individual “origin” of courage
D. Psychosocial “reasons” for courage
E. Courage and iconic attitude to death
F. Courage and male hysteria
G. Social stratification and courage
H. Courage from a perspective of different types of “horror of death” concept
I. Courage as cohesion force in risky situations

4.3. Perception under stress

4.3.1. Changes in visual perception under short-term gravitation stress. Sight reactions during parabolic flights

4.3.2. Perception under multi-day stress

4.3.3. Optical illusions under short-term gravi-inertial stress

4.3.4. Mutual expansion of consciousness and subconsciousness under unprecedented stressful state

4.3.5. Space orientation under gravi-inertial stressors simulating turbulent atmosphere impact while space ship is entering it

А. Individual differences in subjective perception of space and vertical direction based on gravity-sensing without visual control
B. Ability (and inability) to take into account the rolling during operator performance in the space ship simulator under the turbulent currents impact while entering dense atmosphere
C. Phenomenon of destruction of the conceptual space model during the long-term stay in dynamically changed space environment

4.3.6. Functional asymmetry under stress

4.4. Memory under stress

4.4.1. “Eruptions” of hidden emotional memory under stress and factionary “amputation” of memory about distress

1. “Rye cake”
2. “Gott mit uns”
3. “Forgotten passion”
4. “Corpse in the foil”
5. “In the course of investigative experiment”
6. “Sub-waking fear of fearless people”
7. “Forgotten person”
8. “Oblivion of intimacy”

4.4.2. Perceiving and memorizing information under short-term stress

4.4.3 Aspects of memory under prolonged stress

4.4.4. Micro-stress impact during the “forced” generation of “one’s own point of view” about reality

4.4.5. Emotive information and “forced” verbal responses

4.5. Posttraumatic stress disorders – because of the unsatisfied revenge or unsatisfied need for love?

4.5.1. Different understanding of posttraumatic stress disorder

4.5.2. Different ways of posttraumatic stress disorder

4.5.3. Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder

4.5.4. Combat posttraumatic stress

4.5.5. Latency (transition) period of posttraumatic stress disorder

4.5.6. Post-traumatic stress disorder during the burn disease

4.5.7. Post-traumatic stress disorders after mass psycho-traumatic experience in emergency situations

4.6. Sleep and stress


4.7.1. Typology of alcoholics. Stress differences in regard to “oneself” and “others”

А. “Leader” and “drunkard-brawler”
B. “Lost” and “quiet soaker”
C. “Stoic” and “boozer who doesn’t drink to death”
D. “Searcher” and “hot-shot convive”

1. What’s wrong with “the dry law”?
2. About alcoholic intoxication

4.7.2. Four blood groups – four distress groups?

а). Blood group 0
b). Blood group А
c). Blood group В
d). Blood group AB

4.7.3. Stress of those who are “always late” and “tensely-deliberate”

а).Type A
b). Type B
c). Types C

4.7.4. “Playing with death”

А. Participants in the “games” with their own death
B. Spectators of someone else’s death

4.7.5. Personalities predisposed to psychic stress diseases

А. Unhealthy desire to avoid stressful reality by means of changing one’s own mental state
B. Fundamentalism as psychopathologic stress state
C. Antisocial personality disorders
D. Temporary reactive quasi-debility under distress

4.8. Summary

References to chapter 4


5. Psycho-social sub-syndrome of stress. Communication under stress


5.1. General pattern of changes in communication under extreme conditions

5.1.1. Communication in the beginning of the moderate stress

А. “Orientating freezing” under sudden extreme conditions
B. “Personal expansion” (primary) – beginning of the active communication under stress
C. Primary passivity in communication under stress
D. Stress-enforced helping other group members who have suffered from extreme situation
E. Stabilization of roles and status of informal group-members emerged under stress
F. Wrong beginning of communication

5.1.2. Communication under long-suffering stress

А. Stress-constructive activation of communication that consolidates the group
B. Stressful hyperactivity of communication that disorganizes the group
C. Social-destructive “secondary” stress passivity of communication
D. Phenomenon of “cognitive nihilism”
E. Suicide as a way to “avoid” stressful monotony of communication

5.1.3. Relationship between people under exhausting heavy-suffering stress

А. Specificity of prison stress
B. Social-psychological activity that consolidates prison community
C. Social-psychological hyperactivity that destroys prison community
D. Stressful “extinction” of social-psychological relationships efficiency
E. How many stress-active and stress-passive prisoners were there in Russian jails at the end of the XX century?
F. Intensity of stress in the beginning of the long-term effect of the extreme factors and before there anticipated cancellation
G. Psycho-social phenomenon – “centaur of the prison distress”

5.1.4. Psycho-social distress that destroys community (“social death” of the group)

5.1.5. Impact of the freedom of the will and its absence on the emotional stability before death

5.1.6. Authority stress (rapture and terror of ruling)

А. Two periods in the life of animals and people
B. Rapture of ruling
C. Endless sexual orgasm of rulers
D. Horror of rulers

5.2. Personnel burn-out. Personality burn-out. Soul burn-out

5.2.1. Three forms and phases of “burn-out”

А. “Emotional flattening”
B. “Confrontation with clients”
C. “Value system loss”
D. “Burn-out” is contagious
E. Different ways of burning-out
F. False approaches to understanding of “burn-out”
G. “Personality burn-out” and personality distortion under posttraumatic stress disorder

5.2.2. Incurability of “soul burn-out”?

5.2.3. “Armoury” of a soul that’s not burning-out

5.2.4. Psychological personality distortion of the Internal Affairs Agencies employee

А. Complexity of the professional distortion syndrome of the Internal Affairs Agencies employee
B. Career length in the Internal Affairs Agencies and probability of an employee’s personality distortion
C. Hypertrophic sense of the right to use violence
D. Preventive measures and elimination of the professional personality distortion of the enforcement agencies employee

5.3. Stress and environment

5.3.1. Proxemic variables under stress

А. Personal area
B. Personified territory
C. Interpersonal territory
D. About “overcrowding”
E. Areas of individual (subjective) and public (family, tribal, state) space
F. Planet’s and space area. The first telebridge “Moscow – Space – California” in 1982. Carnival catharsis as an “area” of “breakaway” from routine. Culture of laughter and mass media

5.3.2. Stress under the sudden “invasion” into the personal space

А. Paroxysm of fear under the sudden “discredit” of personal space
B. Phenomenon of emotional duplication
C. The smarter the enemy, the bigger the fear. What’s worse – intellect or bloodiness of the enemy?
D. Two-faced sexuality. Balance between matriarchy and patriarchy

а). Bipolarity of sex
b). About “matriarchs”

5.3.3. “Interpersonal space” under chronic distress

А. The meaning of one’s own and someone else’s space grows under stress
B. Experiments in the ground-based simulator of the interplanetary space ship
C. Overcrowding distress and cohesion eu-stress
D. “Invasion” into the interpersonal space under chronic distress
E. “Compatibility” of the isolated group members


5.4.1. “Hostage syndrome”

5.4.2. “Concentration camp syndrome”

А. Shock at the intake
B. Typology of the death camp prisoners

а) Typical convict
b) “Accomplice”
c) “Persistent: stubborn humanists”
d) “Strong in spirit: stubborn delinquents”

C. Stress of the sexual deprivation in the places of compulsory confinement

5.4.3. Five indispensable and sufficient conditions for activation of the revolutionary stressful situation and five other conditions of its elimination

5.4.4. About “joy of the free society” syndrome and “power of spirituality”

5.5. Civilians and war-related stress

5.5.1. “Syndrome of civilians in the beginning of the civil war” (attack on the Russian parliament in 1993)

5.5.2. Stress of civilians during the bringing of “limited military contingent” on their territory (Chechnya, 1994-96)

а). Specifics of the Chechen ethnos
b). Can we use canonic concepts of psychoanalysis while studying mass war-related stress

5.5.3. Conversion disorders of children and women in Chechnya (Dec. 2005 – Jan. 2006). “Epidemy” of induced diseases or mass hysteria?

А. Chronology of conversion disease in Chechnya
B. Medieval mass conversion diseases
C. Female predisposition to hysteria
D. Difficulties in differential diagnosis of conversion diseases
E. Stages of conversion induced disorders
F. Brief overview of arresting conversion disorders

5.5.4. Mental transformations under prolonged mass stress

А. Mental alteration of Chechen mine-layers during the “mine war”
B. Eu-stress and distress adaptational-orgastic mental reactions while overcoming the horror of collective death during the combat

5.5.5. The role of mass media in the emergence of “post-terroristic syndrome”

5.6. Psychosocial impact of sexual vocabulary

5.6.1. Motives and ways to swearing

5.6.2 Emotional activation by means of swearing

5.6.3. Scabrous swearing as an ethnic communication phenomenon

5.6.4. Anti-stress impact of sexual invectives

5.6.5. Gender differences in sexual invectives

5.6.6. Swearing as a way to activate communication

5.6.7. Epochal-civilizational ”arousals” of swearing

5.6.8. Sacrality of swearing

5.7. Social-psychological studies of stress

5.8. Summary

References to chapter 5




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