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Stress as a bodily response
The pituitary adrenal system

Under control of the
hypothalamus and pituitary
When the higher brain centres
find a situation to be
stressful.... Instruct the
hypothalamus to release CRF,
travels to the pituitary
Pituitary releases ACTH
travels to the adrenal cortex
and stimulates…

Page 2

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The adrenal medulla is controlled by the ANS... activation of the
sympathetic branch stimulates the release of:
... Into the blood

Adrenaline = arousal hormone... and noradrenaline is similar
together they reinforce the pattern of sympathetic activation

In stressful situations, the hypothalamus activates both systems
(PAS and sympathomedullary…

Page 3

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Arousal of the sympathetic ANS would lead to the secretion
of adrenaline and noradrenaline... form the adrenal

.... All would return to normal when the `emergency' was over.

Cannon (1914) called this pattern of bodily reactions the `fight or
flight' response.

Selye's studies showed that it was also central…

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Stress related illness and the immune
Last stage of the GAS is exhaustion. Hormones are believed to be
responsible for the negative effects of stressful situations.

Hormones are rarely exhausted
We know far more about the widespread effects of these

As well as activating some body systems, the…

Page 5

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Short-term suppression of the immune system isn't dangerous,
but long-term suppression leaves the body vulnerable to
infection and disease.

Some effect of stress on the immune system:

Infection and diseases
Indirect effects- hormones produces can inhibit ell
Psoriasis and eczema

Kiecolt- Glaser (2005) psychological stress can adversely affect

Page 6

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show greater immune- system depression than men
following marital conflict.
Death of a spouse Gerra (2003) found lower natural killer
cells and lymphocyte activity even up to 6 months after an
unexpected death of a spouse.
Care giving Kiecolt- Galser etal. (2000) Compared to
matched controls, spousal caregivers tend to…

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Age differences
Segerstrom and Miller age may make people more vulnerable
to stress- related decreased in immune function because age
makes it harder for the body to regulate itself

Life Changes
...One off, major stressors

The social readjustment rating scale (SRRS).

The SSRS measures the relationship between life changes and…

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Married couples completed daily checklists of events over 3
Number of undesirable events they experienced increased
3-4 days prior to the onset of illness
Desirable events decreased during the same period
A sequence of undesirable events preceded the onset of
illness.... This suggests they might have been responsible

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Lazarus et al. devised the Hassles scale

Kanner et al. (1981)
Scores on the hassles scale correlate with levels of
depression, anxiety and health problems

DeLongis et al. (1982)
Compared hassles scores with life events
Found that although both correlated significantly with
health status, the association for hassles score was…

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Physical environment- space, temperature, lighting and
office arrangement.
Halpern (1995) increased temperature can lead to stress
and aggravation
Evans et al. (1998) exposure to intense noise can lead to
stress and aggression
Work overload- overload is frequently reported as one of
the most stressful aspects in the workplace Dewe 1992…


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