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HPA Axis and the SAM Pathway

HPA: Hypothalamic­pituitary­adrenal axis

Hypothalamus > Pituitary Gland > ACTH > Adrenal Cortex > Corticosteroids >Glucose Increases

Sympathetic Nervous System > Adrenal Medulla >Adrenaline and Noradrenaline > Increased Heart
Rate and BP

Stress related illness and the immune system

Stress is normal and…

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o Supported by Evans and Edgington (1991) who found the probability of developing
a cold was significantly correlated with negative effects in preceding days.
o No direct manipulation so a cause and effect cannot be confirmed.
o Doesn't tell which element of the stress index is the most important.…

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Life Changes and Daily Hassles

E.g. Travel hold ups, boring job or lecture, being with people you don't like, issues over
relationships, imminent exams, what career to follow? Etc.

Occasionally we experience major life events. E.g. leaving home for the first time, getting
married, buying a house, having children,…

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STUDY: Rahe et al (1970)
o To investigate link between LCUs and illness in a sample of healthy participants.
o 2500 male US navy personnel filled in the SRRS for the previous six months.
o Followed for seven-month tour of duty and all stress related illness recorded…

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Since the 1960s a long-term series of studies had been running on relationships between
workplace stress and health.
Also include various individual risk factors like smoking, BP, cholesterol.
London-based Civil servants ( the Whitehall studies)
In Whitehall I ­ clear differences between workers were found with regard to heart…

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Categorised as TAB or TBB by structured interview; observation (finger tapping, restlessness
Participants followed for 8.5 years. During this time there were 257 heart attacks, 69% of
which were in the TAB group. This was significant when lifestyle risk factors were controlled
Concluded that high TAB individual…

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The first was the personality type vulnerable to cancer, and this personality was associated
with difficulties in expressing emotions and with social relationships.
The second was a personality type vulnerable to CHD. This was similar to TAB. They were
characterised by high levels of anger and hostility.
There is…

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A background issue in most stressful situations is physiological arousal.
Therefore, regardless of the particular source of stress, training relaxation in
3. Application in the real world:
o After practising specific skills and relaxation techniques in the therapeutic setting the
client is then encouraged to apply them in…

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o Hardiness training involves time, commitment and money. It is therefore not for

Physiological Methods of Stress Management


o Stressful situations often associated with feelings of anxiety.
o Up to the 1960's anxiety was treated with drugs from the barbiturate family.
o Although it could be…

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o Should be able to apply techniques in real life later.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation and Meditation

o Not a technique of its own but used in others e.g. CBT

Physical Exercise

Social Support


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