Stress

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  • Created on: 19-05-14 09:48
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Stress
Stress as a bodily response:
Stress-a complex set of physiological and psychological responses to an external
stimulus that is perceived as a threat to one's well-being e.g. bereavement,
work-related stress and financial problems
Stressor- any stimulus perceived as threatening and causing a stress response.
Frustration, conflict and life events are examples of possible stressors
The role of the sympathetic and parasympathetic branch of the ANS:
Sympathetic branch prepares body `fight/flight' activating internal organs requiring energy and
arousal in certain situations. The sympathetic nervous system increases heart rate, reduce activity
within stomach, inhibits production saliva, relax bronchi of lung and dilates pupils
Parasympathetic branch produces opposite effects and activated when body is trying to conserve
and store bodily responses, overseeing a relaxed state and encourage digestion and metabolism.
The parasympathetic nervous system causes opposite effects
The dual-response system to stress:
Sympathomedullary Pathway (SAM): short term response
Stressor perceived by cerebral cortex, signals sent to hypothalamus, this directs the Sympathetic
branch of the ANS to stimulate adrenal medulla, releases stress hormones
(adrenaline/noradrenaline), adrenaline constricts blood vessels and increase hear rate and blood
pressure, noradrenaline causes the liver to increase blood sugar levels
Pituitary-Adrenal System (HPA); long term response
Hypothalamus releases CRF, stimulates pituitary gland releasing ACTH this stimulates the adrenal
cortex releasing glucocorticoids (e.g. cortisol) into the blood stream increasing energy levels, body
ready for fight/flight response
Stress related illness and the immune system:
3 ways immune system works: creates barrier to prevent antigens entering body,
detects and eliminate antigens, if virus start to reproduce it tries to destroy and
eradicate it
How immune system leads to illness: if stressed releases corticosteroids into bloodstream, this leads
to liver increasing supply of energy but leads to immunosuppression, corticosteroids stop production
of white blood cells (B,T and natural killer cells), fewer white blood cells fewer antibodies to fight
disease/infection, weakening of immune system

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Research into immune system under stress:
Kiecolt-Glaser et al- natural experiment volunteer sample of 75 first year
medical students, blood sample taken one month before/during final
examinations and tested for T-cell activity, questionnaires given too
measuring loneliness/life events.…read more

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Evaluation:
! Provide valuable insight how source of stress and relationship of life change and illness , important
area of applied though management technique or counselling
X Retrospective bias so lack validity since memory unreliable and not always accurate so difficult to
draw firm conclusions
X Cannot be concluded stress caused illness as weak but significant correlation (0.…read more

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X Daily hassles scale prone to retrospective bias and social desirability bias lowering validity of
findings
X Findings provide correlational evidence only as only a relationship cause and effect cannot be
established so firm conclusions cannot be drawn
Bouteyre et al- significant positive correlation between daily hassles and depressive symptoms
amongst college students during transition of school to uni, shown transition prone to numerous daily
hassles considered risk for depression
Evaluation:
! Provide valuable insight into relationship between daily hassles as a source of stress…read more

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Natural experiment so high external validity
X Low population validity as limited sample so not representative of other workplaces or professions
so findings may not generalised beyond sample
X Cause and effect cannot be established as natural experiment so no control of extraneous
variables so firm conclusions cannot be drawn about cause of stress
Stress and personality:
Type A personality- Time pressure (doing several things at once), competitive,
anger, more likely to experience negative outcomes in stressful situations
Type B personality- relaxed, less ambitious, less…read more

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Benzodiazepines e.g.…read more

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