Stress Summary Guide

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  • Created by: Molly
  • Created on: 25-11-14 10:00
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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 = short term.
Fight or Flight response: the reaction of the nervous system in response to a stressful situation
that produces energy to prepare the body for extended and demanding amounts of effort.

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Chronic stress = long term
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 study the capability of the immune system in people facing exams.…read more

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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 events.
A negative correlation was found between the stress and number of NK cells.
It was also found that those with psychiatric symptoms/who were lonely/experiencing life
events, showed greater suppression of the immune system.…read more

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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.…read more

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Evaluation of Research...
Implications ­ shows the importance of stress management techniques when experiencing life
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 based on correlational studies so cause and effect
can't be established.
Although major life changes undoubtedly have a significant impact on our well-being they are
relatively rare in our day to day lives.…read more

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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
Evaluation of Research...
Practical application ­ effective stress management and coping techniques can be developed.
Questionnaires once a month rely on memory; a diary would have been better.
The definition of daily hassles is vague eg. some may be short/long term.…read more

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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.
A meta-analysis of 14 studies found that 83,000 employees across Europe, the US and Japan,
that had high levels of job strain were 50% more likely to develop coronary heart disease.…read more

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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 men aged between 39 and 59.
A longitudinal study where the participants were assessed over 8 ½ years; they were
healthy at the outset.
Personality was assessed by a structured interview.…read more

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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
Hardiness, exercise and social support were found to be important factors in their health
with hardiness playing the biggest role.
Evaluation of Research...
High ecological validity ­ natural setting so can be generalised to real life.
Use of interviews which are better than questionnaires.…read more

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Can have side effects such as cognitive impairment and unsteadiness.
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 assessing Beta-blockers' effectiveness.
Found that they reduced high blood pressure.
Also reduced risk of death by 20% for patients with heart disease.…read more



Excellent and comprehensive summary of "stress" for Psychology AS

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