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How People Evaluate Situations


Whenever we experience an event that might be stressful, we always go through a similar procedure. First we want to see if the event is threatening or challenging. We do this by using a process called primary appraisal. Primary appraisal includes:

  • deciding if the situation is threatening
  • evaluating resources
  • choosing what to do (deciding how to cope)

After we do something to limit the impact of the stressor, we check to see if our attempt worked; this process is called the secondary appraisal. We continue to appraise the situation until we feel its not stressful anymore.

As we experience a stressful event, the stress affects our body, our feelings, and sometimes, our health and our relationships with others.


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