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Unit 2: Stress
The Nervous System

The cells making up the nervous system are called neurons.
The bio-chemical structure of neurons allows them to transmit pulses of electrical
activity known as action potentials. These represent coding of information in the
nervous system and control all human behaviour patterns.

The gap…

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Central Nervous System: The major part of the nervous system made up of the brain
and spinal chord.

Peripheral Nervous System:
Nerves are bundles of neuronal processes, mainly axons travelling around the body.
They carry sensory information into the central nervous system and motor
commands out to muscles and glands.…

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The body's physiological response to stress begins with appraisal of the situation
followed by the activation of two major pathways of response.

HPA (Hypothalamic Pituiary Adrenal) Axis- Chronic (long lasting) stress
SAM (Sympathetic adreno medullary) Pathway- Acute (short term) stress
Both start with the hypothalamus (base of brain)

HPA Axis:…

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SAM Pathway

After Stress
The parasympathetic branch of the ANS will start to restore the body's response. Eg.
slow down heart rate and breathing rate

Immune System
The immune system protects us from infection and illness. It is made up of various
cells and circulating proteins and is designed to…

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Results- 82% of participants became infected with the virus. The chance of
developing a cold was found to be significantly positively correlated with stress index
Conclusion- Life stress and negative emotions reduce the effectiveness of our
immune system, leaving participants less able to resist viral infections.
The higher the score…

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Repeated measures design which means individual characteristics don't have
to be controlled as participants are compared with themselves
Don't know if the participants are healthy or if they have been previously ill
Easily repeated, reliable
Sample biased to a restricted age group so we cannot generalise
Study doesn't actually measure…

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Activation of natural immunity system is part of the body's rapid responses
to stressful situations
Chronic stressors activate all immune components beyond what is adaptive
(helpful) & eventually lead to global immunosuppression
This will make people vulnerable to stress-related illness and infection

Stress in Everyday Life

Life Events/Changes
These are…

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Correlation- cannot guarantee that stress is the cause of illness, as there
could be a third variable affecting the study
Gender biased to men- can't generalise
Culturally biased to America- can't generalise
The SRRS ignores individual differences- life changes will have different effects
on different people
Opportunity sample of specific…

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High Demand Low Demand
Low Control eg.public High strain job- vulnerable Passive job ­low stress
sector workers to stress
High Control Active job- not particularly Low strain job- not
stressful stressful

Marmot 1997
Whitehall 1 and Whitehall 2
Longitudinal studies monitoring London-based government civil servant
Whitehall 2 7000 participants followed…

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Heating/lighting/physical arrangements/noise are all potential stressors
Many studies have shown that intense noise and increases in temperature can lead
to frustration, stress and even aggression. Need for personal space should be
accounted for.

The degree of control has been shown to directly affect stress levels.

Research into Workplace…


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