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Stress can be defined in two different ways:
· A range of bodily responses to any
demands upon the person
Stressor Stress
· A state which occurs when there is a gap
There are two types of stress:
between how a person perceives the
· Daily Hassles ­ these are relatively minor
demand being made on them and their
perception of their ability to cope with
· Life Changes- these are also known as these demands
critical life events
The best research methods for investigating
stress is observations and questionnaires/ Stress
interviews Stress
Reaction…read more

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How the body responses to stress
Symptoms of Stress
Structure of the nervous system.
· Rapid speech
· Increase in blood pressure
Central nervous Peripheral nervous
· Increase in heart rate system system
· Fidgeting
· Short tempered
Somatic NC
· Sweating Brain Spinal Cord
· `Butterflies' Autonomic NC
Is stress a bad thing? Pituitary gland
Generally speaking yes. It can lead to Hypothalamus
Parasympathetic Sympathetic
depression, catching colds/viruses, heart Branch Branch
attacks etc. It also weakness the immune (slows down (speeds up
system. activity) bodily
This is called IMMUNOSUPPRESSION processes)
The body is prepared to fight or run away. This is based on evolutionary ancestors who had to cope
with various dangers. This is called Fight- Flight Response.…read more

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Bodies Response to Stress
(Hypothalamus-Pituitary adrenal) (Sympatho-Adrenomedullary)
HPA is involved with chronic long term SAM is involved with acute short term
stress stress
Adrenal cortex
Hypothalamus which releases Hypothalamus Adrenaline and
activates...... corticosteroids e.g.. Activates..... noradrenalin
ACTH Sympathetic Branch
Pituitary Gland to be released, of the Autonomic Adrenal Medulla to
which causes..... which acts on nervous system releases....
the...... which causes.........…read more

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Selye (1970)
-produced a model showing bodily responses to stress called General Adaptation
Syndrome (GAS)
Alarm Reaction Resistance Exhaustion
Alarm Reaction:
threat recognised, HPA and SAM systems Stressor
initiated maintained
SAM activity decreases, HPA remains or even
increases but because we have limited
resources of hormones to cope eventually our + his research has increased our understanding of the
resistance lowers effects of stress on the body and the link between
Exhausted: stress and illness
if the stress persists, response systems break - The initial research was carried out on rats which
limits the ability to generalise the findings to human
down, leading to fatigue, anxiety, depression,
stress related illnesses or even death…read more

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Research Studies on Stress Related
Stress and the Immune System
Kiecolt-Glaser et al (1995) Results: Wounds healing took on average 9
Method: In the study with a matched pairs days longer for the careers than the
control group.
design, a punch biopsy was used to create
Conclusion: Long-term stress impairs the
a small wound on the arms of 13 women effectiveness of the immune system to
who cared for relatives with the heal the wounds
Alzheimer's disease, which is a very Evaluation: Sweeney (1995) also found that
stressful job. A control group of 13 people people caring for relatives with dementia
took longer than the control group to heal
also took part who are matched by jobs, the wounds. However, for both studies
income and age. the two groups may have varied in other
ways apart from the stress of being a
career. The effects on the carers could be
due to poor diet, lack of sleep etc. the
study only contained a small number of
participants- food more reliable results it
should be repeated with a larger number.
The matching was inexact as well.…read more

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