PETALING JAYA: Handling stress needs to be taught to students to help them cope with anxiety, as a way of preventing hysteria, says a psychologist.
“There isn’t much stress management being taught in schools or universities,’’ said Monash University clinical psychologist Paul Jambunathan.
“When you have people in a group sharing anxiety and stress, and if they are all primed without any stress-coping mechanisms – or for that matter identifying that there is stress building up – all it needs is for someone to light the fuse.”
He said the cases of hysteria in secondary school students in Kota Baru could very much be due to stress and anxiety.
“The predisposing factor is that there is stress and anxiety in the group, such as the onset of exams or a crisis in the school.
“Seeing a leader figure collapse or go into hysteria would have a triggering effect,” said Jambunathan.
Asked how the hysteria could spread between the schools, he said it was happening through visual contact.
When a group sees someone breaking down they feel fear, he explained.
“If you analyse the dynamics of the affected groups you will see who broke down first.
“A lot of it is psycho-neurological. Psychiatry sometimes calls this ‘conversion disorder’ because it is a conversion of psychological stress and anxieties into physical disorders.
“It is similar to psychosomatic disorders but this is en-masse,” he said.
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