All notes on AS Psych: Stress, Individual differences, Social influence

Notes on Stress, Social influence and Individual differences.. literally when I wrote all my notes out last year from all the resources and lessons given on the topics. 
Hope it's helpful(:  

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  • Created on: 14-04-12 21:21
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AS Psychology Unit 2 Notes
What is stress?
1. Stimulus definition: External stimulus or situation which places strain on an
individual is stress.
2. Response definition: Unpleasant stimulus or situation where the stressor
produces a negative physiological and psychological change
3. Transactional definition: Result of an individuals perception of a situation,
there are demands made upon us and stress is our perceived ability to apply
coping strategies
Physiological Response fight/ flight
1. In response to a stressor the hypothalamus starts two systems simultaneously
2. It sends a message to the ANS which starts the sympathetic nervous system
where a number of changes occur: increased heart rate, suppressed digestion,
contracted capillaries and eyes dilate
3. Then the adrenal medulla releases adrenaline and nor adrenaline which
provides energy for the body to sustain heightened state of functioning
4. Hypothalamus also sends a message to the pituitary gland using the CHR
hormone to alert it of the stressor
5. The pituitary gland releases ACTH the body's main stress hormone to provide
increased energy
6. This stimulates the adrenal cortex to release more hormone including
glucocorticoids which help suppress the immune system and sustain energy
Stress Immune System and Health
Corticosteroids, adrenaline and nor-adrenaline are produced: producing too
many corticosteroids shrinks the thymus gland which is needed to produce
T-cells to seek and destroy antigens.
Increased heart rate: causes increased blood pressure and this potentially can
lead to atherosclerosis which is the wearing away of the blood vessels- which
leads to heart problems
Increased glucose in the blood stream: provides body with extra glucose as a
stress response however the body may not reabsorb glucose fast enough and
so associated with fatty acid it begins to settle and clog up the cardiovascular

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Immune system is temporarily suppressed: in body's main defense against
illness made up of white blood cells (phagocytes and lymphocytes that
protect you against antigens) Less of these means antigens have more of a
chance.…read more

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- ... generalized?
- ... genetically different to humans?
- ...…read more

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Daily Hassles
>Hassles and uplifts scale -> Lazarus et al
* assess the real sources of stress, originally had 117 items and can be
constructed into subgroups (e.g.…read more

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Work related stress
*Furedi: 2/3 workers experience occupational stress and stress has ver taken the
common cold as the main source of absence from work
*Employers take work related stress seriously as it could cause absences, poor
performance and efficiency and high turnover of staff
Work Overload
Quantitative = a lot of work and little time, Qualitative = too difficult to complete
properly impact of long hours on family life
*Breslow and Buell: workers in light industry -> those who worked 48 hours a week=…read more

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Lack of Control:
Ability to have an influence on their work and environment is defined by control
Logan and Ganster: tested increased control with reducing stress. Found= those with
supportive managers had a high sense of control and high job satisfaction. Eval =
doesn't account for individual differences: high job control for those who can't handle
it may be harmful in terms of stress levels.
General Evaluation of work stress:
- ... ignores extraneous variables (personality/ factors in home contribution)
- ...…read more

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Individual differences ­ personality
Some people are more likely than others to perceive and experience a situation
as stressful
Personality = characteristic ways of behaving, thinking, feeling and perceiving
Friedman and Roseman identified two personality types: A and B
Type A:
Competitive, impatient, ambitious, impulsive, aggressive, hostile
Type B:
Not driven to impress, relaxed, easy going, guilt free, balanced priorities, not
Studies on personality types:
Freidman and Roseman:
>3200 US men (through surveys and interviews) classed into personality types
>8 ½ years later 257…read more

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M/C men = generalisable?
- ... correlational data
+ ... concept of hardiness is useful for stress management
Anti-Anxiety drugs ­ physiological
*BZ's = benzodiazepines: Librium and Valium
GABA = neurotransmitter (chemical) produced in the brain at stressfuol times =
bodys natural anxiety relief by reducing serotonin levels.…read more

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Conceptualisation: therapist gets to grips with the experiences of stress and
understands how they think about stressful situations. Discussion focuses on what
causes stress -> questions about previous stressful experiences etc ...
2.) Skills training and rehearsal: taught various ways of coping with stress, specific/
3.) Application and follow through: patientsapply SIT in the real world, simulations =
develop confidence and skills. Stressors can be graded so skills can be practiced
gradually. Follow-up sessions if needed for feedback and further training.…read more

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Evaluation of EF:
+ ... quick, easy techniques
+ ... allows people to carry on with lives even when the stressor is still there
- ... not effective long term solution
Problem focused coping = Approach
*Dealing with the stressor by treating it as a problem to be solved.
*Relif comes from dealing with it physical effects will eventually disappear
1.) SIT
2.…read more



Very detailed and easy to understand. Thank you very much!!

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