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Acute Stress
Acute Stress ­ Sympathomedullary Pathway
Psychology Page 2…read more

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Chronic Stress
Psychology Page 3…read more

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Selye's Investigation of the Effect of Chronic Stress (1936)
Aims ­ Selye wanted to investigate the link between long term stress and illness. He worked in a hospital
and he noticed that whatever the cause of a patient's illness was, they all shared a common set of
Procedures ­ Selye subjected his participants (rats) to chronic stressors ­ cold, surgical injury, excessive
exercise, severing of the spinal cord and high dose of lethal drugs.…read more

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Stress and the Immune System
Psychology Page 5…read more

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Cohen et al (1993)
Aim ­ to investigate the role of general life stress on vulnerability to the common cold
Method ­
Natural experiment
394 participants completed questionnaires on number of stressful life events they had
experienced in the last year.
Participants exposed to low doses of the common cold.
Results ­ 82% of participants became infected with the virus. The chance of developing a cold was found
to be significantly correlated with stress index scores.…read more

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Kiecolt-Glaser et al. (1984)
Aim ­ to investigate whether the stress of important exams has an effect on the functioning of the
immune system.
Method ­ This was a natural experiment using 75 American medical students. Blood samples were taken
one month before their final exams (low stress) and during the exams (high stress). Immune function
was assessed by measuring NK cell activity in the samples. The students were also given questionnaires
to assess psychological variables such as life events.…read more

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Evans et al. (1994)
The antibody sigA was measured after acute stress and it was found that the levels increased. It was also
measured during exams (chronic stress) and sigA levels decreased. This suggests that acute stress
increases efficiency of the immune system and that chronic stress decreases efficiency.
Evaluation ­
The stressor was the same for all participants but the transactional model of stress tells us that it
is how the individual perceives the threat that determines the level of stress.…read more

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Measuring Stress
Holmes and Rahe (1967)
From their work in hospitals they noticed that many patients with heart disease reported
significant life events in the previous year.
They introduced the concept of life events as a change in life circumstances that require some
The Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) was developed as a way to measure life changes.
43 life events were taken from 5000 patient records.
400 participants scored the life events in terms of the readjustment needed.…read more

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Psychology Page 10…read more


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