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Stress
· The sympathomedullary pathway · The pituitary-adrenal system
(SAM system) · The long-term response is triggered at the
same time as the SAM response
· The response to short term emergency
situations= fight/flight · 1) The hypothalamus produces corticotropin
releasing factors (CRF) which stimulates
· 1) Sympathetic nervous system is aroused pituitary gland
· 2) Adrenal medulla activated · 2) The pituitary release adrenocortictropic
hormone (ACTH)
· 3) Adrenaline produced, increasing heart · 3) The adrenal cortex is activated producing
rate and sugar production to deal with cortisol
emergency situation…read more

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In diagram form...…read more

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Evaluating the stress systems (SAM)
· SAM system
1. The explanation identifies problems related to repeated SNS activity, in that high
levels of SNS activity cause wear and tear in the blood system which can lead to
coronoary heart disease. What does this ultimately mean? It means high levels of
SAM system activity need to be monitored and reduced as much as possible.
2. This explanation also shows why indivduals with an unreactive SNS are in danger,
as indivduals will have a slower response to danger. Basically the SAM system still
has advantages, it is ultimately adaptive.
3. ...However its not always adaptive, its not always of use in modern day situations
e.g. in an exam may be counterproductive, causing you not to think clearly.…read more

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Evaluating the stress systems (PAS)
· Pituitary-adrenal system
· 1) A problem with this system is that too much production of cortisol can have negative
effects, lowering the immune system. Therefore prolonged stress needs to monitored and
reduced as much as possible.
· 2) However the system is adaptive, despite the negative effects. It ensures in situations of
extreme demand to the body, an individual will continue to survive. Soooo...it is pretty
important.
· 3) The system is severally limited by the fact it can be controlled by cognitive factors. For
instance the sensation of being crowded is normally perceived as being stressful at (for
instance) a concert where its crowded, some people actually enjoy themselves. This shows
the response is not purely biological and automatic, but has cognitive factors.…read more

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Stress related illness and the immune system
· Kiecolt-Glascer- Exam related stress- Did a natural experiment with 75 students, dependent variable being immune
system, measured by measuring NK cell activity (white blood cell). The IV was before or during exams. Measured stress
using SRRS and also measured loneliness. Found NK cell activity was lower during exams, and NK cell activity was
lower for those with high SRRS score (so stressed). NK also lower for those with high loneliness---Limited by being a
natural experiment, therefore casual conclusion not possible due to possible variables. Also limited by participants being
volunteers, they may not be representative and may not behave like other people
· Kiecolt-Glascer- Wound healing- Natural experiment with 26 women, assessing immne system by assessing wound
healing. One group was a high stress group (caring for the elderly), and other was a control group. Used a perceived
stress scale to confirm stress levels. Found wound healing was slower in the stressed group, whom also had a lower
immune system response (found this out by measuring cytokine levels). Carers also had a high perceived stress score---
On strength being the real world application i.e. hospital patients may feel stressed slowing down recovery= importance
for hospitals. Also supported by other research (Marucha).
· Evans- Shorter-term stress- Did a field experiment with 18 students assessing immune system (using saliva samples),
assessed before and after public presentation (stressful situations). Cortisol levels also levelled using saliva. Increased
stress was associated with increased immune system, and increased cortisol.---May have been extraneous variables
however. Other research also supports results (Zeier)…read more

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