AQA Psychology Unit 2 Stress Notes

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PSYCHOLOGY UNIT 2: STRESS Chapter 1/3Jemini Barchha
PSYCHOLOGY ­ STRESS
Stress= When there is a lack of balance between perceived requirements of a situation
and the perceived ability to cope with these requirements
Stressors:
-Appearance
-Money
-Hospital appointments
Body's Response to Stress
Body responds to stress in the following ways...
1. The Sympathomedullary (SAM) pathway= For acute and sudden stressors
2. Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) systems= For chronic (on-going)
stressors
The Sympathomedullary (SAM) pathway
1. Stressor perceived
2. Acts on the hypothalamus
3. Activates the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system
4. Stimulating the Adrenal Medulla
5. Releases Adrenaline and Nor-Adrenaline into the bloodstream
6. Increases blood pressure, heart rate, sweating, pacing etc.
Hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis
1. Stressor perceived
2. Acts on the hypothalamus
3. Activated the pituitary gland
4. Releases adrenocorticotrophic- major stress hormone, into the bloodstream
5. Stimulating the Adrenal Cortex
6. Releases Cortisols and Corticosteroids into the bloodstream
7. Supresses the immune system
OR/AND
Facilitates conversion of fat and protein into glucose-energy
Studies Linking to Stress
Stress and the Immune System
Research into Stress and the Immune System #1
Kiecolt-Glaser et al
Aim
To study the compatibility of the immune system in people facing stressful situations
Type
-Natural experiment
-Medical students used
-Measuring NK cell activity
Procedure
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PSYCHOLOGY UNIT 2: STRESS Chapter 1/3Jemini Barchha
o Took blood samples from participants 1 month before exams- Low-Stress
Period and during the exams- High-Stress Period
o Immune system functioning was measuring by assessing NK cell activity
o Questionnaires given to measure other life stressors + Feelings of loneliness
Findings
o NK cell activity significantly reduced in the high-stress condition, compared to
the low-stress condition
o Students who felt loneliness and showed symptoms like depression and
anxiety, too had lower NK call activity
o Negative correlation…read more

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PSYCHOLOGY UNIT 2: STRESS Chapter 1/3Jemini Barchha
o Ethical Issues
-Protection
o Lacks ecological validity
Outline and evaluate research into stress and the immune stress (12 Marks)
Kiecolt-Glaser et al carried out a natural experiment to study the capability of the immune
system in people facing stressful situations. The experiment focused on first-year medical
students who had all volunteered- making this a self-selected sample.…read more

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PSYCHOLOGY UNIT 2: STRESS Chapter 1/3Jemini Barchha
have to adjust to a life event, the more stressful it is. They made a list of major events, e.g.
death of a spouse- and asked hundreds of men and women to rate each item on the list
according to how much life adjustment each one would need. Then they ranked the items out
of 100. Giving them a tool to use in later studies.…read more

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PSYCHOLOGY UNIT 2: STRESS Chapter 1/3Jemini Barchha
From this study we can see daily hassles are linked to stress and health, with a stronger
correlation than found with the SRRS, however this means it cannot establish cause and effect.
They could be ill from more hassles? This study suggests that daily hassles intervene between
critical life events and health, with the collective impact of such irritations proving harmful to
our health. However, the effects of uplifts on our health are still unclear.…read more

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PSYCHOLOGY UNIT 2: STRESS Chapter 1/3Jemini Barchha
o Temporal validity
-Longitudinal study
Changes in job
Supporting Study- Johansson et al
Procedure
o Identified a group of high-risk finishers in a Swedish saw mill
-To complete the last step in the preparation of timber
o Job was machine paced, thus noisy; highly-skilled and isolated, meaning it is
individual-based
o Rate of work determined wages for the rest of the factory
o Higher levels of adrenaline and nor-adrenaline on work days compared to rest
days
-More stress-related…read more

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PSYCHOLOGY UNIT 2: STRESS Chapter 1/3Jemini Barchha
Impatience and hostility were assessed by the interviewer- by deliberately
interrupting the participant.
-Categorised as either A1, A2, B or X
Findings
o 8.…read more

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PSYCHOLOGY UNIT 2: STRESS Chapter 1/3Jemini Barchha
Challenge= View life events as challenges to overcome- chance is an opportunity for
development
Evaluation for Kobasa
Androcentric bias:
Kobasa used mainly western, male, white-collar workers- making ti difficult to
generalise to other cultures and genders
Face validity:
3 C's are unclear, e.g. Control may also be an important part of challenge+commitment
Kobasa
Studied 800 American business executives
Assess stress using Holmes and Rahe's SRRS
Approx.…read more

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PSYCHOLOGY UNIT 2: STRESS Chapter 1/3Jemini Barchha
1) Focusing ­ Kobasa suggested that people should focus on the physical symptoms of
stress so they are aware when more attention is needed, see where the stress is
coming from.
2) Reconstructing stress situations ­ This is thinking about recent stressful situations and
can be done by making two lists; one list of ways it could have turned out better and
one list of ways it could have turned out worse.…read more

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PSYCHOLOGY UNIT 2: STRESS Chapter 1/3Jemini Barchha
o Thought to perceive stress as problems to be solved
Skills Acquisition Phase (&Rehearsal)
o Coping skills taught > practised in clinic and rehearsed in life
o Cognitive and behavioural skills > Positive thinking, relaxation, time
management etc.…read more

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