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Biological Psychology
The Body's response to stress

Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome

Selye developed a threestage model to describe how the body responds to stressors,

Stage 1: Alarm

A stressor is perceived and the HPA axis and the SAM pathway are activated. Levels
of stressrelated hormones surge, heart rate and blood…

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was recorded. The findings were that the chance of developing a cold was significantly
correlated with the stress index scores.

Cohen et al concluded that life stress and negative emotions reduce the effectiveness of our
immune system, leaving participants less able to resist viral infections.

Methodological Issues

This was an…

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In contrast with Cohen et al this study did not assess actual illness outcomes
although it did have a direct measure of immune function. Although reductions in
immune function should make people more vulnerable to illness, it might be that the
significant reductions seen in this study are still too…

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life change units (LCU's), and the whole scale called the social readjustment rating scale

Methodological Issues

The main issue is that this study was carried out in the US and so the events and how they
were rated would have been culturally specific. In addition there was no objective…

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Workplace Stress

Marmot et al (1997)

Marmot et al analysed data from over 7000 participants in the Whitehall 2 study. Participants
were followed up over five years. All were free of heart problems when the study began/ the
data showed similar differences in heart disease to Whitehall 1, with the…

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lifestyle risk factors such as obesity and smoking were controlled for. Rosenman et al
concluded that the high TAB individual was vulnerable to heart disease.

Methodological Issues

The study is culturally and gender specific and findings should be generalised with
caution. Note that even the definition of TAB is based…


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