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STRESS

DEFINITIONS

Stress: A state of psychological tension and the physiological arousal produced by a stressor.

Stressor: Something in the environment that produces a stress response in a person.



ACUTE STRESS ­ THE SYMPATHOMEDULLARY PATHWAY

Acute stress = short term.




Fight or Flight response: the reaction of the nervous system…

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CHRONIC STRESS ­ THE PITUITARY ADRENAL SYSTEM

Chronic stress = long term




STRESS RELATED ILLNESS AND THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

Stress isn't a direct cause of infection but increases the body's susceptibility to infectious agents
by suppressing the immune system.

Research by Kiecolt-Glaser: the effect of acute stressors...

Aim = to…

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Participants = 75 first year medical students.
They took blood samples one month before their exams and on the first day. The blood
samples were tested for natural killer cell activity which is involved in fighting off viruses
and tumours.
They collected questionnaire data on psychiatric symptoms, loneliness and life…

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Only women used in the sample ­ not reflective and cannot be generalised to the population.

Research by Segerstrom and Miller...

Performed a meta-analysis of 293 studies looking at different stressors on measures of
immune system functioning.
Identified types of stress; 1) Acute time limited stressors lead to an improvement…

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Evaluation of Research...

Implications ­ shows the importance of stress management techniques when experiencing life
events.

Culture/gender/work bias ­ the sample is not representative of the population.

Questionnaires are limited as they do not obtain detailed information and misunderstandings
can't be clarified.

The links between life changes and stress are…

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It was found that daily hassles were correlated with ill health but neither uplifts nor life
events were so it was concluded that daily hassles are more likely to cause stress related
illnesses.

Evaluation of Research...

Practical application ­ effective stress management and coping techniques can be developed.

Questionnaires once…

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The association was still significant when other risk factors such as employment grade, job
demands and social support had been accounted for.
It was concluded that low job control is associated with high stress.

Evaluation of Research...

High ecological validity ­ natural setting so can be generalised to real life.…

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Having time for their family
Conscientious but not to an excess

Research by Friedman and Rosenman: Personality and CHD...

Aim = to test the hypothesis that Type A individuals (a high stress personality type) are
more likely to develop CHD than Type B's.
Participants = self-selected sample of 3200 Californian…

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Participants with high hardiness scores and who exercised a lot had the least illness.

Research by Kobasa et al...

Involved male executives in stressful jobs who were interviewed and followed up a year
later.
Hardiness, exercise and social support were found to be important factors in their health
with hardiness…

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Can have side effects such as cognitive impairment and unsteadiness.

Beta-blockers:

Block the transmission of nerve impulses.
Stress increases force and rate of heartbeat, activated by beta-adrenergic receptors
stimulated by noradrenaline and adrenaline.
Beta-blockers `sit' on receptors, meaning the individual's heart rate is reduced.

Research by Lau et al:

Meta-analysis…

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TomCorf

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Excellent and comprehensive summary of "stress" for Psychology AS

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