psychology unit 2 stress

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  • STRESS
    • body's stress response
      • SAM
        • stressor
          • sympathetic branch of ANS
            • adrenal medulla
              • adrenaline & noradrenaline
                • fight or flight reponse
      • HPA
        • stressor
          • hypothalamus
            • piturity gland
              • adrenal cortex
                • cortisol
                  • converts fat into energy
                  • supresses immune system
              • releases ACTH
    • research into stress related illness
      • Cohen et al
        • 394 P'S
          • questionnaires on stressful life events in previous year
            • rated degree of stress & negative emotions
              • combined scores and exposed P's to common cold virus
        • found: 82% of Ps got a cold
          • positive correlation between p's stress index and likelihood of having a common cold
            • so: higher stress index = more likely to get infected
        • conclusion: high levels of stress & negative emotions reduce immune function
        • criticisms: no manipulation of IV
          • cant determine which aspect of stress index increases vulnerability to infection
        • strengths: clinical, high ecological validity
          • high levels of control
          • sceintific value counterbalances any psych. or physical distress to P's
      • Keicot-Glaser et al
        • 75 med students
          • took bloods in time of high and low stress (before and during exams
            • measured cell activity to check immune functioning
          • given questionnaire to assess psych. values as life events e.g. loneliness
        • found cell activity significantly reduced in high stress compared to low stress
          • cell activity lowest in P's who reported loneliness and high levels of life events
        • conc: short term stressors reduce immune function increasing vulnerability to illness
          • immune function affected by psych. variables, long term stressors may make individuals more vulnerable to effects of short term stress
        • took advantage of naturally occurring events, thus ethical. no harm done due to study
          • similar studies with other p groups found similar results
        • only used med students small unrepresentative sample. hard to generalise
    • stress in everyday life
      • life changes
        • SRRS developed to measure how life changes can lead to health problems due to readjustment needed
          • developed a scale of 43 life events. with each event having a set LCU score
            • LCU: LIFE CHANGE UNITS
            • Less than 150 LCU = low risk of SRI
            • 150-300 LCU = 30% increased risk
            • 300+ = 50% increased risk
        • Rahe et al
          • aim: to see if there was a  +ve correlation between no. of life events & illness
            • gave SRRS to 2700 navy personnel before T.O.D & asked to list events from last 6 months. then gave LCU score
              • then obtained illness score during T.O.D
          • found: +ve correlation of 0.118 between LCY score & illness score
          • readjustment is the important factor not the nature of the change
          • large sample
          • correlational study cant determine cause and effect relationship
            • self report technique used, no suggestion whcih illness should relate to which life event
              • culturally relative findings, conudcted in USA with male navy personell
                • distress in recalling traumatic life veentss
        • assumes all change is stressful
          • doesn.t have all life changes on SRRS eg death of child
            • life events aren't daily occurrences, doesn't take daily hassles into consideration as a cause of stress related illness
        • SRRS good effective measure for effects of stress
          • daily apllications of SRRS - stress management to reduce stress related illness
      • daily hassles
        • the more minor stresses that can occour in day to day life, such a missing the bus or waking up late
          • there's also daily uplifts, good things that happen over a course of a day, such as a compiment or an unexpected visit from a friend
        • DeLongis et al
          • compared hassles and life events to predict later health issues
            • studied effects of uplifts
              • 100 p's 45-64 did questionnaires monthly for a year
          • found: correlation between health problems were greater for hassles than life events
            • daily uplifts have little effect on helath
          • daily hassles have greater impact on health than life events
            • uplifts unlikely to counteract -ve effects on health
        • Bouteyre et al
          • investigated relationship between daily hassles & mental health of students from transition from school to uni
            • 1st year psych. students at french uni completed a hassles questionnaire
          • 41% of students showed depressive symptoms
            • +ve correlation between hassles scores & likelihood of depressive symptoms
          • transition to uni fraughtt with daily hassles & is a significant risk factor for depression
        • reasearch has practical application, useful in consideration of daily hassles linking to health issues. allows us to address the issue
        • 2 explanations of why daily hassles lead to health problems
          • accumalation effect: daily hassles produce stress, effects build up over time resulting in serious stress reactions e.g. depression
          • amplification effect; major life events make people less able to deal with daily hassles, leading to SRI
        • retrospective data & questionning
          • correlational research\: cant determine a cause and effect relationship.
      • workplace stress
        • no. of factors can contribute to workplace stress,
          • Marmot et al, CONTROL
            • 7372 male & female civil service employees, high demand and low demand jobs, all p's did a questionnaire to asses level of job control and social support and examined for signs of aCHD
              • p's reassessed 5 years later
            • -ve correlation, between jo control and stress related illness
              • p's with least job control were 1.5-2.2 x more likely to suffer cardiovascular symptoms,
            • people in low control jobs more likley to suffer CHD those in high demand jobs least likely to suffer, applies to males and females
            • individual differences were controlled bevausre same p's were compared at beginning and end of study
              • v. large sample of men and women.
                • longitudinal
            • some measures of CHD could lack validity, based on self report not doctors diagnoosis
              • civil servants may not be representative of non civil servants
        • Johansson et al
          • compared 2 groups of swedish sawmill employees,
            • group 1- sawyers with high WORKLOAD stressful, repetitive job. pay of whole company determined by their work
              • group 2- maintenance workers, lower workload and more felxibility withiin their work
          • sawyers with hgih workload had higher levels of adrenaline than maintenance workers
            • sawyers also had high stress keves on work days compared to resr dyas, also took more sick days
          • practical application, employers need to be aware of mpact of high workload,
          • study doesnt identify which aspects of jobs were stressfuk
            • some variables not controlled, some workers who are vulnerable to stress are attractes to high workload such as sawyers
        • research has given insight into range of factors which cause stress un the workplace, can be used to work on methods to reduce stress relates illness
        • individual differences qignored, type a's more susceptible to work stress than others etc.
          • finding may soon become out of date.
    • stress management
      • physiological/biological
        • benzodiazepines/ BZ'S
          • anti anxiety drugs, reduce serotonin and noradrenaline produced by the body as a stress response
            • cross the blood brain barrier which means physiological addiction as well as psychological addiction can occour
              • can lead to side effects such as body tremors and drowziness
            • easy to use
              • readily available
                • cost effective
                  • no commitment needed
          • Kahn et al: 250 PS over 8 weeks dound Bzs more effective than placebo
        • beta blockers
          • reduce adrenaline activity by binding receptors of heart to be less stimulated by stress response
            • lower blood pressure resulting in calm less stressed individuall
          • work quickly
            • effective
              • dont cross blood-brain barrier so no physical addiction can occor
                • proven to be effective in calming performers, music often sounding better with a musician on beta blockers
          • treats symptoms not the cause
      • psychological treatments
        • hardiness training
          • 3 step process,
            • 1:focusing, teaching stress response to client so they can spot it
            • reconstructing stressful situation; relive stressor. analyse, understand and learn coping mechanisms
            • 3: self improvement: life application, client applies teachings to real life and with commitment to therapy continues to learn to managae stress
            • deals with symptoms and cause
              • research supports effectiveness
            • importance of 3 C's critisised
        • stress innoculation therapy
          • 3 stage process: deals with stressor and symptoms
            • 1: conceptualization: relive stressor
              • 2: skills aquisition: learning coping mechanisms
                • 3: life application, apply new techniques to real life
          • 2 pronged attack
            • good for short and long term stress as mechanisms learnt
              • time consuming
                • expensive
                  • few research studies, one by meichenbaum himself. observer bias?
                    • commitment reliant
    • personality factors:
      • type a & b behaviour
        • type a traits; hostile. competitive. work against clock. want to win. strive for success. anger directed inwards
          • friedman & rosenman: aimed to see if theres a link between TAB and CHD risk
            • 3453 californian men 39-54 free from chd signs, sampled and labelled type a or b exxamined for CHD after 8 year observation
              • type a heart attacks: 12.8% type b heart attacks; 6%
                • fatal heart attacks: a: 2.7% b: 1,1%
                • conc: possible link between TAB and CHD
        • type b traits: relaxed laid back attitude. internal recognition. patient. focus on positive. self encouraging.
      • HARDY PERSONALITY
        • 3 c's: control of your life
          • commitment
            • challenge
        • KOBASA: Measured 3 c's via questionnaire and found those woth high hardiness scores less likely to suffer stress related illness
          • 800 business execs used SRRS to measure stress, some had high illness record and some low ilness record.
            • found people in highstress/lowilness group scored high on all 3 c's whilst highstress/lowillness scored lower
              • people with a hardy personality more resillient ro STI when under stress

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