Transactional Model of Stress and Coping


Stress is an event that every person deals with on a daily basis. In fact, humans aren’t the only species to deal with stress. The Transactional Model of Stress and Coping was originally developed by Richard S. Lazarus and Susan Folkman, two individuals who wanted to delve further into why stress is such a prevalent issue in many species’ lives. The theory is essentially, the transaction relating to stress is between the person and the environment. Depending on the amount of demands that a person is confronted with and the amount of resources that they have to deal with the demands, stress may either be in abundance or avoided entirely.

Primary Appraisal

The first step to the Transactional Model of Stress and Coping is Primary Appraisal. During this step, we analyze whether or not a particular situation is something that effects us personally. You will find that your mind will analyze whether the situation is significant enough to stress over and there are 3 potential outcomes:

1. It is an insignificant event.
2. The event is a desirable encounter.
3. The event is challenging, threatening, and/or harmful.

Secondary Appraisal

The second part to stress and coping is when you begin to figure out how you can deal with the situation to the best of your ability to ensure that you receive a positive outcome. This is when you will begin to determine whether you have enough coping resources to get through the event with a desirable outcome. As an example, if you encounter a stressful situation that you know you do not have the resources to cope with, you may find yourself unable to cope, thus stress occurs.

Problem-Based Coping

There are many ways that the human body copes, one of which is problem-based. This generally occurs when you have control over a particular situation and you know how to manage the problem to get a positive outcome. You may even find that during this phase of coping, you develop further skills to help you cope with other situations in the future.

Emotional-Based Coping

When you realize that you have little control over a situation, you won’t be able to find the source of the problem which is when you may rely on emotional-based coping. This is when you may begin to avoid particular situations, distance yourself from events, or even seek emotional support from others around you. A prime example of emotional-based coping is if you were to stay away from school because of a bully.

-Flow Psychology Editor