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Frustration

Frustration

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This lesson will examine the causes of frustration and look at the typical reactions to it.

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Tutorial

What's Covered

This lesson is going to review an emotional response and its role in stress by covering:

  1. Frustration
  2. Types of Reactions

1. Frustration

The body reacts to negative events and things within the environment in different kinds of ways.

ExampleStress is a reaction that a person's mind and body have to sudden changes within a person's environment. It causes a person to become excited and prepare for some kind of fight-or-flight response.

These reactions are normal and helpful in some kinds of ways, like if you need to get away from something dangerous. They can also be harmful particularly to a person's mind and behavior.

Frustration is a type of reaction. It is an emotional reaction that occurs when a person can't do something that he or she wants, or they can't reach his or her goal in some kind of way. In other words, the person is blocked in one way or another.

Term to Know

    • Frustration
    • An emotional reaction that occurs when a person cannot do what he or she wants or reach his or her goal.

There are different factors that affect the feelings of frustration that a person might have. The obstacles or the things in the way of a person can be:

  • External- something physical in your environment that stops you from getting

ExampleYour car has broken down

  • Social-When another person is your obstacle.

Examplea guard or a bouncer or somebody that refuses to let you into someplace.

  • Personal- when yourself is your obstacle.

Examplebeing physically unable to perform a task.

Other factors can increase feelings of frustration such as:

  • The strength of the barrier
  • The urgency of the goal
  • The importance of the goal
  • The frequency at which a particular barrier occurs

Frustration can lead to stress and anxiety within a person and can increase instances mental health-related issues. This can lead to physical issues as well because of the effect that stress can have on a person's body.


2. Types of Reactions

There are several typical reactions that a person can have to frustration. Some of them are positive such as:

  • Persistence- A person continues to work towards their goal, they work harder, or they increase their efforts to reach that goal.
  • Variance- A person can vary their attempts to reach that goal. The person is going to try something different or look for alternatives.

Some reactions to frustration can also be negative:

  • Aggression- is a response where a person attempts to harm someone or something else. While aggression can be helpful at times, like if an animal is threatening a person, in most situations aggression is unacceptable in our world. Aggression can be a more likely reaction for someone if they witness aggression as a reaction to frustration.

ExampleStudies have shown that when a person is faced with something that's frustrating, they are more likely to engage in aggressive behaviors if they are exposed to more movies or games that are violent.

  • Displaced aggressive reaction- a person might take out their frustration on something that's completely unrelated.

ExampleWhen you get really frustrated at something that happened at work, you might turn around and kick your chair.

  • Escape- moving away from an obstacle and the goal itself. A person abandons what is causing the frustration either psychologically or physically. A person can either withdraw mentally or literally walk away from the thing that's blocking them. This can be positive if the goal is impossible or if an obstacle is insurmountable, but it can be negative if you give up on or abandon something that's very important to you. Escape can also be negative if a person turns to things like drugs or alcohol as a way of escaping from frustrating situations.

Terms to Know

    • Aggression
    • A response to frustration where a person attempts to harm someone or something.
    • Displaced Aggression
    • A response where a person takes out frustration on something completely unrelated.
    • Escape
    • Moving away from the obstacle and the goal; abandoning what is causing frustration.

Scapegoating is a form of displaced aggression, and is when a person or a group of people that are not at all responsible for a situation are blamed for it and some kind of aggressive action is taken towards them.

Term to Know

    • Scapegoating
    • When a person or group of people that are not responsible for a situation are blamed.

Summary

Frustration is an emotional reaction when a person is unable to gain what they want or reach a goal. The types of obstacles that can cause frustration can be external, social, or personal. Frustration can lead to stress and anxiety which can cause physical effects as well. There are several types of reactions a person can have. Positive reactions include persistence and variance. Negative reactions can include aggression, displaced aggression (including scapegoating), and escape.

Source: This work is adapted from Sophia Author Erick Taggart

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Frustration

    An emotional reaction that occurs when a person cannot do what he or she wants or reach his or her goal.

  • Aggression

    A response to frustration where a person attempts to harm someone or something.

  • Displaced Aggression

    A response where a person takes out frustration on something completely unrelated.

  • Scapegoating

    When a person or group of people that are not responsible for a situation are blamed.

  • Escape

    Moving away from the obstacle and the goal; abandoning what is causing frustration.