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Stress Case Study: Jennifer (an administrative assistant) and Michael (an airline pilot)

Case Study #1

Jennifer is a 29-year-old administrative assistant married to Antonio, an Italian engineer, whom Jennifer met four years earlier while on a business trip for her marketing company. The couple now lives in Nebraska, where Antonio works for the county's transportation department and Jennifer commutes an hour each way to her marketing office. They have been trying to start a family for over a year. Eight months ago, Jennifer miscarried in her second month of pregnancy. Antonio's parents love Jennifer and often ask her if she is expecting again, hoping to encourage her to focus on her next baby. Jennifer's mother passed away two years ago and her father's health is rapidly deteriorating. Jennifer faces the probability of placing her father in a skilled nursing care facility within the next few months, against his wishes. At work, Jennifer runs a tight ship. She is organized and prepares lists to assure that everything is done according to schedule. Everyone counts on Jennifer and she takes pride in never letting people down. Jennifer has visited her physician numerous times in the last six months, complaining of headaches, backaches, and indigestion. Jennifer insists that she is happy and is not feeling stressed, yet she finds herself making more mistakes at work, unable to keep up with housework, and feeling tired and overwhelmed; she has begun to question her effectiveness as an employee, wife, daughter, and potential mother. Her pains seem to be increasing, but her doctor cannot find a physical cause for her discomfort.

Case Study #2

Michael is a 40-year-old airline pilot who has recently begun to experience chest pains. The chest pains began when Michael signed his final divorce papers, ending his 15-year marriage. He fought for joint custody of his two children, ages 12 and 10, but although he wants to be with them more frequently, he only sees them every two weeks. This schedule is, in great part, a result of his employer's announcement that budget constraints would result in layoffs. Michael worries that without his job he will be unable to support his children and lose the new townhouse that he purchased. Michael's chest pains are becoming more frequent and he fears that he may be dying.

Complete the following questions in 150 to 200 words each. Be as detailed as possible.

1. What are the causes of stress in Michael's or Jennifer's life? How is stress affecting Michael's or Jennifer's health?

2. How are these stressors impacting Michael's or Jennifer's self-concept and self-esteem?

3. How might Michael's or Jennifer's situation illustrate adjustment? How might this situation become an opportunity for personal growth?

4. What defensive coping methods is Michael or Jennifer using? What active coping methods might be healthier for Michael or Jennifer to use? Explain why you would recommend these methods.

5. Select one theory of personality and use this theory to tell Michael or Jennifer how this theory explains his or her situation.

6. In what stage of development is Michael or Jennifer and what factors about this stage might be impacting his or her perspective of this situation?

7. What relationship factors or considerations might be influencing Michael's or Jennifer's problems?

Solution Preview

Let's go with Jennifer.

Case Study #1

Jennifer is a 29-year-old administrative assistant married to Antonio, an Italian engineer, whom Jennifer met four years earlier while on a business trip for her marketing company. The couple now lives in Nebraska, where Antonio works for the county's transportation department and Jennifer commutes an hour each way to her marketing office. They have been trying to start a family for over a year. Eight months ago, Jennifer miscarried in her second month of pregnancy. Antonio's parents love Jennifer and often ask her if she is expecting again, hoping to encourage her to focus on her next baby. Jennifer's mother passed away two years ago and her father's health is rapidly deteriorating. Jennifer faces the probability of placing her father in a skilled nursing care facility within the next few months, against his wishes. At work, Jennifer runs a tight ship. She is organized and prepares lists to assure that everything is done according to schedule. Everyone counts on Jennifer and she takes pride in never letting people down. Jennifer has visited her physician numerous times in the last six months, complaining of headaches, backaches, and indigestion. Jennifer insists that she is happy and is not feeling stressed, yet she finds herself making more mistakes at work, unable to keep up with housework, and feeling tired and overwhelmed; she has begun to question her effectiveness as an employee, wife, daughter, and potential mother. Her pains seem to be increasing, but her doctor cannot find a physical cause for her discomfort.

Complete the following questions in 150 to 200 words each. Be as detailed as possible.

1. What are the causes of stress in Michael's or Jennifer's life? How is stress affecting Michael's or Jennifer's health?

Jennifer has had many life stressors in a short period of time that are causing her stress to the degree that it is impacting all areas of her life. Jennifer commutes an hour each way to her marketing office. Jennifer and her husband, Antonia, have also been trying to start a family for over a year, with no luck. To ass to this, it has only been eight month since Jennifer miscarried in her second month of pregnancy. Antonio's parents are adding to Jennifer's stress, and though they love Jennifer her, they are a constant reminder of Jennifer's misarrange and inability to conceive; they often ask her if she is expecting again, hoping to encourage her to focus on her next baby. The passing of her mother happened two years ago, and has also has the stress related with caring for an aging parent, her father, whose health is rapidly deteriorating. Jennifer faces the probability of placing her father in a skilled nursing care facility within the next few months, against his wishes.

2. How are these stressors impacting Michael's or Jennifer's ...

Solution Summary

In reference to the case study on stress, this solution addresses the related questions e.g., causes of stress, how stress impacted self-esteem and self-concept, etc. This solution is 1693 words.

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