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THE BODY'S RESPONSE TO STRESS
·Stress is experienced when a persons perceived demands exceed
their perceived ability to cope.
·In a short period of time this can lead to `fight or flight', helping
a person deal with acute stressors.
·Over a long period of time the bodies response is chronic
stressors.
Acute Stressors
Sympathetic ­Adrenal-Medullar
(SAM) Chronic Stressors
Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis
Leading to changes such as... (HPA)
Hypothalamus
commands the
The ACTH
Hypothalamus
Autonomic Nervous System
to activate the simulates theto
travels the of
release
·Increased heart rate System Pathways Adrenal Cortex Hormone
Corticotrophin-Releasing
Sympathetic Nervous
which simulates
which stimulates the the release
release of
of
running to the
Cortico-Steroids
Adrenocorticotrophic Hormone (ATCH)
·Sweating Adrenal Medulla
into the
from the
within the
Blood stream
Pituitary Gland
·Shaking Adrenal Glands which gives
to release into the blood stream
Energy (needed for action)
Adrenaline
·Increased Blood / Noradrenalin
Pressure by converting fat & protein
into the blood stream…read more

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One of the most basic behavioural differences between men and women is how they respond to stress.
Taylor et al found that men usually react with the `fight or flight' response whilst women react with a
`tend or befriend' response. The hormone oxytocin could be responsible for this response, it has been
found to make people less anxious and more sociable. Taylor et al found that higher levels of oxytocin
THE BODY'S RESPONSE TO STRESS
were associated with reduced cortisol levels to stress and faster recovery from acute stress. Male
hormones appear to reduce oxytocin but the female hormone oestrogen amplifies it. Resulting in men
being more vulnerable to stress related disorders such as hypertension and coronary heart disease.
Because the `tend and befriend' effect helps to protect women against stress this could explain why
women liveAcute
seven Stress: Thelonger.
and a half years Chronic Stress: The
Sympathomedullary Pathway Hypothalamic-Pituitary-
(SAM) Adrenal System (HPA)
Immediate stressors prepare the body Controls levels of stress related
for `fight or flight' through release of hormones in the body.
adrenaline Is activated by physical and emotional
It is automatic and arouses the stressors, but is less easy to activate
autonomic nervous system (ANS) than the SAM
Noradrenalin is a neurotransmitter It responds to chronic stress situations
released by the SNS to activate Negative feedback from the pituitary
internal bodily organs (increased gland equals impaired cognitive
heart rate, blood pressure, cardiac performance, higher blood pressure
output, increased pupil size, fat and and lowered immune response
glycogen in the blood stream) It takes 20 minutes for the feedback
Adrenaline has an effect on the body' process to be complete
s physiological systems (boosting
supply of oxygen and glucose to the
brain and muscles, suppressing non
emergency bodily processes such as
digestion.…read more

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STRESS RELATED ILLNESS: THE
IMMUNE SYSTEM
TheBoth
stress
effects ofresponse
stress systems
can SAM & HPA
sometimes have a direct
enhance effect on the
the immune immune
system : system.
Evans
et al
Evans looked
et al found into
that the
stressactivity
might be ofassociated
the antibody slgA (which coats
with under-vigilant immunethe
disorder
mucous (letting
surfaces ofinfections
the mouth, in) or over-vigilant
lungs immune
and stomach disorder
against (where it is
infection. the et
Evans
immune system
al arranged itself causing
for students to give the disorder).
talks to other students (mild but acute
Kiecolt-Glaser
stress). Theseet
Individual al found
students a decrease
showed
Differences anin immune cell
increase Real
in the World
functioning
antibody, Apps
yetwhereas
Fischer et al found
levels of
an increase in immune cell functioning.
slgA decreased during exam periods stretched over several weeks. Evans
·Women show more adverse ·Stress-coping behaviours canet al
Research into
proposed thatstress
stressandmayimmune
havesystem functioning:
two effects on the immune
be taught system
to all up-
age groups
hormonal and immunological
regulation for acute
Acute stressors
changes in stress
(Examination
the way theyand down-regulation
Stress):
react Kiecolt-Glaser for chronic
et al carried
·Techniques stress.
out
can a natural
include deep
experiment investigating whether the stress of short-term stressors (important
to marital conflict. (Kiecolt- breathing and expressive
A meta-analysis
examinations) (Segerstrom
had an effect on and
the Miller,
immune2004):
system functioning in medical students.
Glaser) writing
A meta
Bloodanalysis
samples of 293
were studies
taken conducted
a month over
before (low the past
stress) 30the
during years found:
exams (high
·As people
stress). age, was
Functioning stress has aby measuring NK cell
tested ·People whowhich
activity, use stress-coping
was reduced in
·Short term,
greater acute
effect stressors
on immune can boost the immune system,
behaviours prompting
generally reportit to
the second sample. Suggesting that short-term stressors reduce immune system
ready itself
system for
functioning, infections
functioning,
increasing or other
making it challenges
vulnerability to illness. to the body in their physical
improvement
harder for the body to regulate and psychological well-being
·Long-term,
Chronic chronic
Stressors stressors
(Relationship
itself (Segerstrom and Miller) led to
Stress): the suppression
Kiecolt-Glaser of tested
et al the immune system
the impact of ­
the arguments
most chronic in relationships on wound
stressors were healing. with
associated She found that blisters
the most global on the arms of
suppression
married couples healed slower when they had discussions which were conflicting
of immunity.
rather than supportive. Kiecolt-Glaser also compared women separated from their
·The longerwith
partners the matched
stress, the more
married the immune
controls. system
They found shifted
poorer from
immune potentially
system
functioning
adaptive changes in women who had separated
to potentially in the
detrimental last year.
changes.…read more

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LIFE CHANGES
Evaluation
Life changes of
arethe lifethat
events changes approach.
necessitate a major transition in some aspects of our life.
Positive
Research and Negative
on life changes Events:
Validity
Research using the SRRS appears and Reliability
to suggest that any life-changing event has the
Holmes to
potential and Rahe played
damage health a
·Therekeyhave
because role inthe
been
of developing
reports
significant the
that amountidea that life changes are
of re-adjustment linked
it entails.
to stress
However some and illness.
critics retrospective
now suggest that reports may
it is the not beof the event which is crucial with
quality
`undesired, changes toparticularly
Using life unscheduled measure accurate,
stress
and uncontrolled' for example
changes being the most harmful.
Brown suggests that people who
Holmes and Rahe developed are unwellthefeelSocial
they Readjustment
need to provide Rating Scale (SRRS) based on 23
Lifelife
Changes
events. TheyandaskedDaily 400Hassles:
an explanation participants
for their to score each event terms of how much
illness,
Lazarus suggests that
readjustment wouldas major life
arechanges
be required
therefore by the
more are
likely relatively
average
to reportperson.rare in the lives of most people, it
isClassic
the minor daily
study of hassles of life life
life changes
stressful which are a more significant source of stress.
events.
DeLongis et al studied stress in 75 married
·The version
reliability of couples, asking them to fill in a daily hassles
retrospective
Rahe et al gave a military
and uplifts scale. They reports
found no of the
relationship SRRS to 27000
between men in and
life events the health,
navy and butasked
found the
a
men to fill in just before has also
a tour and been
of duty, questioned.
noting all life
positive correlation between
Rahe hassles
found that illness
test-retest the next daychanges
such asexperienced in the
flu & sore throats.
previous 6 months. Rahe et al found a positive correlation between the rank life
event (LCU) and areliability varies
high illness depending
score. Therefore on the
the findings support the hypothesis
Individual Differences:
time interval
that chronic stress leads to illness. between testing.
The SRRS ignores the ·Hardt fact thatetlife changes will
al interviewed 100inevitably have different significance for
Recent people.
different research on life
Similarly, changes
people
patients who find something
of childhood abuse and particularly
left stressful would not be
stressful
Michael for
andsomeone
Ben-Zur else.
2.2 years
studied before(both
widows interviewing
men and themwomen) and found that their levels
of satisfaction, in again. He found
the widowed moderate
group this was to good
found to be higher before the
Spurious Relationship:
bereavement thanreliability
after the for most
loss. childhood
Whereas the opposite pattern was found in couples
Brown who had recently
suggests experiences.
divorced,
that people theirlevels
with high satisfaction
of anxiety waswould higherbeafter
more the satisfaction
likely to report
possibly
negative because
life events they
and are also
would now be dating
more or livingto
prone with a new partner.
illness.…read more

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DAILY HASSLES
Evaluation of research into daily hassles: Explaining daily hassles
Measuring Hassles and Uplifts
The hassles and uplifts scales, (HSUP) by DeLongis et al measures respondents' attitudes towards daily
The accumulation
situations. effect
The HSUP provides a way of evaluating both the positive and negative events that
Ruffin has
occur in shown that
a persons daily hassles provide a more significant source of stress for most
day.
people than major life events. One explanation for this is that accumulation of minor daily
Daily
stressorsHassles
creates persistent irritations, frustrations and overloads which then result in more
Bouteyre
serious et al investigated
stress reactions the relationship
such between
as anxiety andthe mental health of students during the initial transition
depression.
period from school to university. Results showed that 41% of the students studied suffered from depressive
The amplification
symptoms. effectcorrelation between scores on the hassles scale and the incidence of
There was a positive
An alternative explanation
depressive symptoms. Showingtothe
above
studyis thatthat
shows chronic stress to
the transition due to major
university life changes
is frequently may
fraught with
daily hassles.
make people more vulnerable to daily hassles. If a person is already in a state of stress,
minor
Dailystressors
Uplifts may amplify the experience of stress. The presence of a major life change
may also deplete a person's resources so that they are less able to cope with minor
Gervais et al
stressors asked
than nurses
they to keep
would indiaries
normal for circumstances,
a month, recording all their daily hassles and uplifts while at
work, they were also asked to rate their own performance over the same period. At the end of the month it
The problems
was of
clear that daily retrospective
hassles recall
were found to increase job strain and decrease job performance. Nurses felt
that some of
Participants the
are uplifts (compliment
asked to recall thefrom a patient
daily hasslesor praise
theyfrom a superior) counteracted
experienced the negative
over the previous month.
effects of their daily hassles. These uplifts improved their performance.
This may lead to inaccurate recall, which some researchers have overcome by using a diary
method, where participants
Daily Hassles Versus Life rate minor
Changes stressors on a daily basis
What does
Daily hassles the
are now research
seen tell
as a significant us?
source of stress. Ruffin suggested that daily hassles were linked to
Most of the
greater data fromand
psychological the research
physical on daily
dysfunction thanhassles is correlational.
major negative We et
life events. Flett cannot draw
al found that casual
major
life-changing events may differ from daily hassles in the extent to which a person would
conclusions about the relationship between daily hassles and well-being. This indicates that receive / seek
we social support. The findings suggest that, compared to major life events, the greater negative influence of
can only assume that daily hassles potentially have an effect on our health.
daily hassles on psychological adjustment may be due, in part, to the reduced social and emotional support
received from others.…read more

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