Title page for ETD etd-07272011-160603

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Joubert, Daniel Francois
Email joubertdf@tut.ac.za
URN etd-07272011-160603
Document Title Tend and befriend : a bio-behavioural construction of women's responses to stress
Degree Master of Arts
Department Psychology
Advisor Name Title
Ms I Ruane Supervisor
  • tend and befriend
  • self-tending
  • stress response approach
  • socialization
  • stress response
  • stress
  • gender
  • qualitative research
  • delaying pregnancy
  • power
  • social constructionism
Date 2011-04-11
Availability unrestricted
The Tend and Befriend stress response model suggests that women have, through natural selection, evolved a different stress response reaction to that of men. It thus offers a collective, gender stereotypical reality of women’s responses to stress. In this research the Tend and Befriend model is thus viewed as a dominant public discourse which informs or influences the private narratives or stories of women. It is this interaction between public (dominant) discourses and private narratives which are investigated through using the Tend and Befriend model as a discursive landscape. If gender or gender roles are flexible, there is a concern that individual women might be misrepresented and not given a voice by the dominant discourse which supports gender stereotypical models like the Tend and Befriend model.

This qualitative exploration was done by exploring the socially constructed stress responses of five professional women. To investigate this, as researcher I explored the narratives of these women in face-to-face individual interviews. The constructions explored include: How these women understand the way they respond to stress; how they view the Tend and Befriend model; and the influence of the model on them. Through the lenses of social constructionism a broader insight into the stress responses of women may be obtained.

From the data analysis, I uncovered very little ‘evidence’ for tending or befriending behaviour as described by Taylor, Klein, Lewis, Gruenewald, Gurung and Updegraff (2000), with the participants. In the exploration the closest response to the model which the participants reported was befriending, however in their construction of befriending they employed it as a workplace strategy. The only form of tending co-constructed in the interview process was a secondary response to stress and a unique outcome to this study: Self-tending. Additionally, as social constructionist research predicts, these participants illustrated that for them stress responses are not concrete, as models would like to suggest, rather they employed an alternate multifaceted stress response approach which was another significant unique outcome to this study.

© 2010 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Joubert, DF 2010, Tend and befriend : a bio-behavioural construction of women's responses to stress, MA dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-07272011-160603/ >


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