STRESS - THE DEFINITIONS
- SEYLE identified stress as response to stressful STIMULI - called THE STRESS RESPONSE.
- he could then argue that any stimulus producing a physiological stress response could be called a STRESSOR.
- alternativly we can agree that events such as injury or death of close family member can be considered as stressful, this is a STIMULUS BASED view of stress, where certain events by their very nature are stressful.
-BUT these explanations ignore INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES e.g someone with a phobia sees a small house spider and is immediately stressed, however someone without the phobia will not be affected by the given stimuli.
- so the current approach developed by COX MACKAY (1978) and LAZARUS (1984) emphasises on individual differences it does this by giving a major role to the cognitive processes in an individual.
- This TRANSACTIONAL MODEL sees stress as dependent on an individuals PERCEPTION. this is devised into primary and secondary appraisal, they are based on tour perception of ourselves and the world around us.
- DEFINITION: 'When an imbalance or discrepancy exists between perceived demands and perceived coping resources, then a state of stress exists'.
- example, overestimating the demands of psychology AS and underestimating your coping ability will lead
to a stressful response.
+ takes into account individual differences by shifting actual to perceived, this way it acknowlodges
that people view the world in different ways.
CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM
- Billions of neurons making up the CNS are arranged in systematic ways. the brain, along with the spinal cord make up the CNS.
- Radiating form the spinal cord are spinal nerves, these connect the CNS to the organs and the rest of the body. These Spinal nerves are called THE PERIPHERAL NERVOUS SYSTEM (PNS).
- The BRAIN is the key information processor, it reccievaes sensory input through sensory receptors. this input, is carried along sensory pathways to the CNS. Apart from Visual and Auditory these are called specialised senses, and are contained within the brain.
- The brain also controls muscle movement through MOTOR PATHWAYS (basically commands from the brain)
THALAMUS AND HYPOTHALAMUS
- Important sensory structure that relays infra ascending up the the spinal cord into the brain.
- lies at base of brain,, it is involved in many of the bodies physiological functions, including stress related arousal such as increased heart rate, blodd pressure and breathing.
- Ususally regulates these automatically but when appraisal process identify stressful situations, the HYPOTHALAMUS is forced to activate the HPA and SAM pathways.
BODY'S RESPONSE TO STRESS - HPA and SAM SYSTEMS
If a stressful situation is appraised (through primary and secondary appraisal), the HYPOTHALAMUS activates the 2 most important processes in the body's response to dealing with stress.
THE HYPOTHALAMIC-PITUITARY-ADRENAL (HPA) AXIS
- The PITUITARY gland is the MASTER gland of the entire body, it releases a number of different hormones into the body, however, the ultimate control lies with the HYPOTHALAMUS
- The key pituitary stress hormone is ACTH. The hormone travels to the ADRENAL CORTEX part of the adrenal gland which then stimulates the release of CORTICOSTERIOIDS such as cortisol corticosterone into the bloodstream, which then have massive effect on the body (reviewed below)
THE SYMPATHETIC-ADRENOMEDULLERY (SAM) PATHWAY
- The Smpathetic nervous system (SNS) works in conjunction with the parasympathetic nevus system (PNS) to maintain HOMEOSTASIS e.g regulation of body temp.
- The SNS is connected via nerves that run through the CNS to various body organs and glands. one of these pathways runs to the ADRENAL MEDULLA, which along with the adrenal cortex (part of the HPA Axis) makes up the ADRENAL GLAND.
- when activated the SNS stimulates the adrenal medulla to release the hormones of ADRENALINE and NORADRENALINE into the bloodstream.
- The AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM functions our organs without us being conscious of it, and plays a vital role in stress responses.
- The perception or appraisal of a stressful situation results in the activation of the HPA axis and SAM pathway- which then stimulates the release of hormones into the bloodstream. these hormones have a number of effects on the body, mainly designed to provide for energy expenditure lost during responses to stress e.g FIGHT or FLIGHT.
Effects include: Increased heart rate,, raised blood [ressure, and an influx of oxygen to the blood, allowing for increased physical activity.
- corticosteroids realised from HPA axis allow for extra release of energy reserves e.g glucose.
- The bodies response to stress is old, it made sense when escaping from a predator but it does not make sense to modern stressors. and it has been argued that the bodys response to stress can become pathological, it may lead to illness.
SEYLE - GENERAL ADAPTION SYNDROME (GAS)
DESCRIPTION AND EVALUATION
- SEYLE has produced one of the most influential model of how the body deals with stress, and remains the most useful for picturing it.
STAGE 1-ALARM: A stresor is perceived and the HPA Axis and SAM pathway is activated. Levels of stress related hormones surge, heart rate and blood pressure increase, and energy reserves are mobilised.
STAGE 2-RESISTANCE: If stressor persist, the body's response system continues to activate.
STAGE 3-Exhaustion: CHRONIC stress eventually exhausts body's defence system and its ability to maintain high levels of circulating stress hormones. This is when stress related illness may develop.
-Identifies the linkns between HPA axis and SAM pathways, and the links between chronic stress and illness.
-BUT ignores indivudual differences and cognitive elementso pereception and appraisal (was based on rats!)
-Now thought hay it was exhaustion that leads to stress related illness, rather the the effect of chronic levels of stress related hormones.
STRESS RELATED ILLNESS AND IMMUNE SYSTEM
- Stress is part of everyday life, it is not unexpected (mostly)
- it can be a good thing in short periods, as it raises body arousal, energises us and helps achieves goals.
- but when it becomes chronic is when stress becomes a problem.
- Stressors vary in time length and examples identified by SEGESTROM AND MILLER (2004) include:
- acute time-limited stressors e.g. public speaking, last for 5-100 minutes,
- brief naturalistic stressors e.g. everyday stressors such as examinations,
- and chronic stressors, long lasting e.g. caring for mentally ill, coping with long term illness or unemployment ect.
STRESS AND IMMUNE SYSTEM
The first and most important subdivision of the im
- NATURAL IMMUNITY: it all begins in the THYMUS GLAND.
- made up of cells within the blood stream (white blood cells or leukocytes) these non specifically attack and absorb invading pathogens (viruses, bacteria and parasites).
- the natural immunity cells include macrophages, phagocytes and NATURAL KILLER CELLS. (NK)
- based on cells known as LYMPHOCYTES.
- more spohisticated
- cells within it have the ability to revognise separate pathogens and produce specific antibodies to destroy them. Specific immunity is dived into two catergories.
CELLULAR IMMUNITY: cells T LYMPHOCYTES attack intercellular pathogens e.g viruses.
HUMORAL IMMUNITY: Called B LYMPHOCYTES, attack extracellular pathogens (outside cells) e.g. bacteria and parasites.
ALL of these components work togther- signalling each other and foring a coordinated response to pathogens.
EVALUATION OF IMMUNE SYTEM
- Natural immunity act more quickly than specific immunity (in a matter of minutes or hours) they are our first defence.
- Specific immunity develops over days as the components recognise invading pathogens and form the antibodies to destroy them.
-Stress has a general effect on immune system, i.e leading to suppression of immune function, alternatively it may affect natural immunity more than specific or cause an imbalance in cellular and humoral immunity.
RESEARCH STUDY- COHEN ET AL (1993)
-Investigated the role of general life stress on the immune system
- Cohen created a stress index based off of three parts of a questionnaire about life stress
- the participants (394) were exposed to the cold virus
- after 7 days the number whose infection had developed into clinical colds CORRELATED significantly with stress index scores.
- COHEN concluded that life stress and negative emotions lead to a less effective immune system.
- supported by EVANS and EDGINTON (1991)
RESEARCH STUDY- KEICOLT-GLASER et al (1984)
- examined NK cell activity during medical students examination time.
- Measures of NK cell activity recorded 1 one month before exas (low stress)cand during exam (high stress)
- KIECLOT-GLASAR (1984) concluded that brief naturalistic sterssors reduce immune function, making people potential more vulnerable to illness and viruses.
AREAS of stress at work that apply to most organisation:
ENVIRONMENT: heating, lighting, physical arrangement of workplace are all potential sources of stress.
HOME-WORK INTERFACE: Balance of competing demands of home and work responsibilities.
CONTROL: the degree of control someone has over their workload. High levels of control lead to low levels of stress. (otherwise known as DECISION LATITUDE)
WORKLOAD: how much work someone has- too much= stress but so does too little!
RESEARCH SUPPORTING THIS
- DEWE (2002) workload stress
- KARASEK (1979) - job deman and levels of control or DECISION LATTITUDE
- MARMOT et al (1997) - High deman and low control
- WHITEHALL STUDIES I and II: control
TYPE A BEHAVIOUR: Evolved from the work of FRIEDMAN and ROSENHAN (1950s/60s). Identified that there were at least two types,.
- TYPE A had certain behaviour patterns - Time pressured, Competitvee, Hostile. (basically just an angry person- stress all the time)
- TYPE B, opposite of TYPE A, relaxed.
HARDINESS: introduced by KOBASA (1979) interested in factors that might buffer people against effects of stress- THREE basic elements of hardiness:
- CONTROL, the idea that you can influence the events in our life, including stressors.
- COMMITMENT, the individuals sense of involvement and purpose in life
- CHALLENGE, looking at the changes in life as opportunity rather than a ounce of stress.
HIGH LEVELS OF HARDINESS = HELP PROTECT AGAINST NEGATIVES OF STRESS
type A (had a high TAB score) could be argued that they show similar behaviour of those with high HARDINESS levels.
COPING WITH STRESS
- We cope differently, some idea of how we do it is found in the COPE SCALE, a scale put forward by CARVER et al (1989). a widely used research questionnaire on coping syles. there are 15.
- they range from emotional and cognitive, to problem focussed and actively coping
PROBLEM FOCUSSED COPING
- taking action, viewing the stressor as a problem that can be dealt with, a maths equation in a sense.
- men tend to do this more
EMOTION FOCUSSED COPING
- Talking about your feelings to others, seeking emotional support.
- women tend to do this more
The styles of coping are influence by the type of STRESSOR, CONTROLLABILITY, and perhaps gender.
Different styles are better for different situations- e.g. theres nno practical way to deal with a death in the family - so emotion focussed is better.
Introduction of APPROACH and AVOIDANT coupon introduced by ROTH and COHEN (1986) avoiding may be better for short term stressors, and approach better for longterm stressors. people tend to use one.
PSYCHOLOGICAL METHODS FOR STRESS MANAGEMENT
COGNITIVE-BEHVAIOURAL APPROACH (CBT)
MEICHENBAUM'S STRESS INOCULATION TRAINING (SIT)
Consists of 3 stages:
1 CONCEPTUALISATION: client works with therapist to identify sources of stress in their lives, may involve thinking back to past experiences and indetifying key features.
2 SKILLS TRAINING and REHEARSAL: shown how to impore how they deal with stress and training in relaxation techniques.
3 APPLICATION TO REAL WORLD: Apply what they have learnt to the real world- whilst monitoring what works and what doesn't along with the therapist.
- CONCEPTUALISATION is a perfect way of beginning to deal with stress
- The training is a problem focussed way of coping with stress.
- The relaxation technique gives client control in any situation and is also seen as a emotion focussed approach.
- HOWEVER, it is time consuming and expensive and not effective at dealing with all types of stress.
KOBASA'S HARDINESS TRAINING
- targets both appraisal of sources of stress, and resources available for dealing with the,. Reduces gap between demands and coping resources.
- provides client with self-efficiacy and enables them to deal with stressful situations on their own. eventually.
- studies have shown that hardiness training can improve health and performance in working adults and students. (MADDI 1987 and 2002)
- HOWEVER, again, it is time consuming and costly.
PHYSIOLOGICAL METHODS OF STRESS MANAGEMENT
-BZ' s such as LIBRIUM and VALIUM act well as ANTI-ANXIETY DRUGS, whilst others such as MORGADON are effective SLEEPING PILLS.
- BZ's act in the brain, increase action of GABA which inhibits the activity of hoer neurotransmitter pathways throughout the brain, such as noradrenaline and SEROTONIN which is particularly important in reducing stress.
- Relatively safe in overdose
- do have a range of side effects, including tiredness, lack of motory co-ordination.
- can lead to a state of physical dependence.
- do not help psychologically, do not provide coping methods and do not target specific stressors
- most effective when combined with psychological and alternative methods
- general ethical issues associated with the side effects and dependency issues.
- Include PORPRANOL and ALPRENOLOL
- Act directly on heart and reduce activation of the CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM, they directly reduce increases in heart rate and blood pressure (associated with stressful situations) and also used in management of CHRONIC HYPERTENSION (raised blood pressure)
- in this way, they are useful in controlling bodily arousal
-can be life saving to those with chronic hypertension (not always related to stress, can be genetic)
- little to no severe side effects
- innaproriate for long term management of stress as they target the physiological issues, not the sources of stress- again it would be better to mix with psychological techniques.
other techniques involve
BIOFEEDBACK - physiological and psychological
PHYSICAL EXERCISE -physiological
SOCIAL SUPPORT- psychological and physiological
I KNOW THAT IS ALOT TO TAKE IN! BUT I HOPE THIS ALL HELPS! and yes, i did type all of this :( please rate and comment!