Stressed to the Limit: Stress and Health

The Video and Mechanisms of Self-Defense

The video, Stressed to the Limit: Stress and Health, relates with mechanisms of self-defense such as acting out, compartmentalization, and reaction formation. In the video, the volunteer is under immense stress and is struggling to look and sound normal. She is struggling to convert the unwanted impulses and feelings into positivity in line with the unguided interview approach. Instead of acting normal, she is under pressure and stress to sound normal and incapable of expressing any negative impulses, despite being requested to act normally. Just as part of the mechanisms of self-defense, the respondent is misattributing her thoughts in unclear sequence due to the stress of struggling to stay normal in an intense environment by projecting a false sense of insight. Lastly, the volunteer is simply acting out to try and convince the interviewers that she can handle all the questions without any challenge. However, it is clear that she is under pressure and cannot arrange her thoughts in a clear manner. For each and every response, she is fumbling and cannot maintain a steady flow of thought patterns. Just as the case in self-defense, activation of a sense of being in control is often overridden by the reality of the stress hormones and the dynamics in the physical and psychological environments.

Interesting Aspects

The most interesting part of the experiment is the clear disconnect between the thought patterns of the volunteer and her impulses as she answers the unguided questions. She cannot maintain the normal flow of thoughts as requested before the panel. Despite the fact that the interview is simply experimental, her impulses react as though it is an actual interview in the real life. It is easy to detect the stress in her responses through the rising impulses and inability to balance her thought patterns sequentially.

Interesting Aspect and Peer Review Article

The interesting aspect of the experiment is the clear disconnect between the thought patterns of the volunteer and her impulses as she answers the unguided questions. The participant is subjected to inflicted insight and emotional stress. Thus, the extreme distress might have influenced her reaction in the stress experiment. As indicated by Attig (2004), exposing the participants to extreme emotional distress raises a lot of stress since their responses could be influenced by the inflicted insight, which is associated with raising involuntary impulse when subjected to a stressful environment. In particular, when the participants are not briefed on the nature of the experiment and what to expect in terms of emotions, it is easy for the volunteers to develop false personal and social competence through guided emotional intelligence that undermines individual’s self efficacy (Zolnierczyk, 2004). Guided emotional intelligence orientation module may remain active in developing false dependence of interest attached to an activity, creating a sense of self-confidence, and increasing the level of stress since the thought patterns are imbalanced. However, such experiments do not represent the conformity variable since they are conducted in controlled environment. The participant’s behavior conformed to that of the confederates who were in the majority group. As a result, the conformity attitude might not be the same if it is done in another environment in detecting the intensity of stress (Tully, 2004).


Attig, T. (2004). Disenfranchised grief revisited: Hope and love. OMEGA, 49(3), 197- 215.

Tully, A. (2004). Stress, sources of stress and ways of coping among psychiatric nursing students. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 11(1), 43-47.

Zolnierczyk, D. (2004). Perceived job stressors and mindfulness-based cognitive stress management intervention: The role of type A and reactivity. Polish Psychological Bulletin, 35(1), 25-33.