Stress PSYA2 full revision notes

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The sympathetic-adrenomedullary system ­ acute stress
o Hypothalamus activates the sympathetic nervous system which stimulates the adrenal medulla that
releases adrenaline and noradrenaline creating a fight or flight response to the body
The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system ­ chronic stress
o Hypothalamus is stimulated which activates the pituitary gland to release ACTH that stimulates the
adrenal cortex to release corticosteroids that increase blood pressure.
o Natural experiment were 349pps answered questionnaires and were given stress scores. They were then
exposed to a low dose of the common cold virus through a nasal spray. 82% of participants developed a
cold and the chances of doing so were seen to be significantly correlated with stress scores.
o The higher the stress score the more likely to become infected ­ reduced effectiveness of the immune
o 75 medical students aged 23, both males and females had blood samples taken one month before exams
and again during. NK cells were significantly reduced during exams showing lower immune systems due
to higher stress levels.
o Stress improves the immune system for a short period of time
Too much or too little work, a difficult home-work balance, noise, heat and lack of control all increase stress in
the workplace.
o Compared 14 finishers to 10 starters in a Swedish saw mill using urine samples to test adrenaline and
noradrenaline levels. Finishers had higher levels on work days compared to rest days and were more likely
to experience stress related illness.
Marmot et al
o 7372 civil servants asked answer a questionnaire about stress and were assessed for CHD at the
beginning of the study and were re-assessed 5 years later. Lower grade employees (support staff) who
have less control were more likely to develop CHD compared to higher grade employees (executives) who
have more control once age and gender were taken into account.
Holmes and Rahe

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Developed SRRS by taking 43 life events from 5000 patient records before the onset of chronic illness and asked
100 independent judges to rate the events from 1 to 100 with marriage set at 50. LCU's came from these scores
averaged out.
Gave the SRRS questionnaire to 2700 US marines before a tour of duty and analysed their medical records during
the tour. A significant positive correlation between LCU's and illness was found supporting the link between
LCU's and physical illness.…read more

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They see themselves as being in control of their lives, have good commitment, a strong sense of purpose
and see life challenges as problems to overcome, as well as seeing change as an opportunity for success.
Lifton et al
o Students with high hardiness scores were more likely to finish their degree and lower scores were more
likely to drop out.…read more

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o Focusing ­ taught to identify signs and sources of stress
o Reliving and reconstructing ­ relive stressful encounters and helped to analyse these situations enabling
to gain an understanding of stressors and coping strategies
o Self-improvement ­ allow them to move forward and develop a new technique, focus on seeing stressors
as challenges to take control off.…read more


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