Kiecolt- Glaser et al (1984)

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  • Created by: greggs25
  • Created on: 10-02-15 21:20
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  • Kiecolt- Glaser et al (1984)
    • Aim: to see if exam stress reduces the functioning of the immune system
      • 75 medical students were used in a natural experiment. blood samples  were taken a month before the examination (low stress) and during the examinations (high stress).
    • Natural killer cell activity was measured and  the students completed questionnaires  to assess the amount of life stresses being experienced.
      • 75 medical students were used in a natural experiment. blood samples  were taken a month before the examination (low stress) and during the examinations (high stress).
    • they concluded that examination  stress reduces immune function, making people potentially more vulnerable to illness and infections. the effects however are more noticeable in students experiencing higher levels of isolation
    • Evaluation points
      • A weakness of this study is that the sample was too small.  for example they only used 75 medical students. this is a weakness because it means that the results from their sample will not be representative of the wider population and therefore cannot be generalised.
        • with natural experiments it isn't possible to establish cause and effect.  in this scenario we cannot be sure if the reduction  the natural killer  cell activity was  because of the stress from exams. this because with natural experiments the researcher doesn't have any control over the independent variable. thus meaning that they may have been other factors influencing the reduction of natural killer cells
      • Natural  experiments are high in ecological  validity, this is because the reasearcher has no control over the independent variable as it is naturally occurring, thus avoiding artificiality.
        • measuring natural killer activity  is a good way of measuring the  effects of stress , this is because it is a direct measure of the immune system.  thus making it an objective measure, so therefore it increases the validity.
  • Aim: to see if exam stress reduces the functioning of the immune system
    • they concluded that examination  stress reduces immune function, making people potentially more vulnerable to illness and infections. the effects however are more noticeable in students experiencing higher levels of isolation
    • A weakness of this study is that the sample was too small.  for example they only used 75 medical students. this is a weakness because it means that the results from their sample will not be representative of the wider population and therefore cannot be generalised.
      • with natural experiments it isn't possible to establish cause and effect.  in this scenario we cannot be sure if the reduction  the natural killer  cell activity was  because of the stress from exams. this because with natural experiments the researcher doesn't have any control over the independent variable. thus meaning that they may have been other factors influencing the reduction of natural killer cells
    • Supporting  studies
      • measuring natural killer activity  is a good way of measuring the  effects of stress , this is because it is a direct measure of the immune system.  thus making it an objective measure, so therefore it increases the validity.
    • further research by Evans et al proposes that stress may have two effects on the immune system: up-regulation (i.e increased efficiency) for short- term. for example when delivering a power point presentation. Down regulation for chronic stress.
      • Supporting  studies
      • lazarus  (1992) gives reasons why it is difficult to establish a relationship between stress and illness. for example he says that peoples lifestyles may also be a factor contributing to peoples illness.

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