Biological Psychology

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  • Created by: Rachael
  • Created on: 19-05-14 12:22

Sympathomedullary Pathway


Hypothalamus

SIGNALS

Sympathetic ANS

SIGNALS

Adrenal Medulla

RELEASES

Aderenaline and Noradrenaline

INCREASES

Heart Rate and Blood Pressure 

An acute, electrical system, that begins the 'fight or flight' response 

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Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal System

Hypothalamus

SIGNALS 

Pituitary Gland 

RELEASES 

ACTH 

SIGNALS

Adrenal Cortex

RELEASES 

Corticosteroids

EFFECTS 

Inhibits immune sytem, helps blood clot, influence salt and sugar concentrations 

A chemical, chronic mechanism that prolongs the stress response 

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The Immune System

Complex set of interacting processes that provide the body's defence 

Made up of cells and circulating proteins 

Designed to cope with hostile antigens 

Natural Immunity: 

  • Phagocytes (natural killer cells) 
  • Act quickly
  • First line of defence 

Specific Immunity: 

  • T and B lymphocytes 
  • Ability to recognise invaders and produce antigens 
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Stress and Links to Physical Illness

Increased heart rate and blood pressure damages lining of blood vessels and clog arteries resulting in heart disease and stroke 

Weakened immune system leaves body vulnerable to illness and effects natural immunity 

Cohen: 

  • 394 participants rated their stress levels and completed a questionnaire on stressful events in the previous year. Combined to give a stress index score 
  • Ps then exposed to the common cold virus, 82% became infected 
  • After 7 days, those with the highest stress scores were more likely to have developed a cold 
  • Immune function not measured directly 
  • Cause and effect can be established 
  • Shows a relationship between life stress and illnesses 
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Stress and Links to Physical Illness

Kiecolt-Glazer: 

  • 75 medical students preparing for an exam 
  • Natural Killer cell activity measured one month before the exam and during the exam period 
  • Ps filled in questionnaires on negative life events and social isolation 
  • Found the NK activity was significantly reduced in the high stress sample
  • Ps were less resistant to stress if they felt socially isolated and unsupported 
  • Had a direct measure of immune function 
  • Low population validity 

Segerstrom and Miller: 

  • Meta review of stress research 
  • Acute stressors lead to an upregulation of natural immunity 
  • Chronic stressors lead to down regulation 
  • Global Immunosuppression: consistent patterns across age and gender 
  • Hormones released as part of HPA directly effect imune system 
  • Clear evidence that high levels of corticosteroids in the blood stream reduces production of T cells and leads to shrinkage of the Thymus gland 
  • Corticosteriods used therapeutically for acute immune diseases 
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Life Changes and Daily Hassles

Life Changes: 

Major changes that invidividuals have to adapt to 

Daily Hassles: 

Minor everday stressors 

Holmes and Rahe: 

  • Defined stress as the amount of changes an individual has to deal with during a particular time period 
  • The greater the stress the more serious the illness 
  • Examined medical records of 5000 patients and then rated their life events on a scale (SRRS)
  • Found that people with a high LCU rating were more likely to experience some sort of physical illness 
  • Perception is important and it was later found that it is more likely to be uncontrollable life events that correlate to later illness 
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Workplace Stress

Major source of stress thatcan lead ro individual stress and poor performance 

Causes of Stress: 

  • Environment: heating, lighting, layout, noises. Can lead to frustration and aggression. 
  • Home-Work Interface: competing demands in home-work balance and workload 
  • Control: higher control, less stress 

Marmot:

  • Long term series of studies on gorvernment civil servants 
  • Whitehall 1: Workers in low pay grades had twice the illness rate of higher paid workers. However, lower pay grades had more risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure 
  • Whitehall 2: 7000 Ps followed over 5 years, all free from illness at the start.  Rate of CHD 1.5 times higher in lower grades. Most significant factor was the level of control Ps felt they had. 

Johansson: 

  • Low control, high levels of responsibility led to high stress in a Swedish saw mill 
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Life Changes and Daily Hassles

Kanner:

  • Studied 100 middle aged men and women and found that hassles are correlated with undesirable psychological symptoms 
  • Effects of uplifts unclear 
  • Hassles were a more powerful predictor of symptoms than life events
  • Daily hassles have a cumulative impact which are just as detrimental to health as life changes 

Lazarus: 

  • Daily hassles are less dramatic than life changes but vary from person to person
  • When they build up or touch particular areas of vulnerability they can become very stressful and seriously affect health 
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Personality Factors

Type A Behaviour: 

  • Time urgency and impatience 
  • Free floating hostility and aggressiveness
  • Competiveness, orientation to achievement

Friedman and Rosenman: 

  • Found that certain behaviour characteristics could be associated with vulnerablity to CHD (TAB) 

Rosenman: 

  • Studied 3454 middle aged men 
  • Followe over 5 years, when 257 heart attacks occurred, 69% in people with TAB
  • Culture and gender specific 
  • Social desirabilty and researcher bias 
  • Shekelle found no difference in heart disease between Type A and Type B 
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Personality Factors

Type A Behaviour: 

  • Time urgency and impatience 
  • Free floating hostility and aggressiveness
  • Competiveness, orientation to achievement

Friedman and Rosenman: 

  • Found that certain behaviour characteristics could be associated with vulnerablity to CHD (TAB) 

Rosenman: 

  • Studied 3454 middle aged men 
  • Followe over 5 years, when 257 heart attacks occurred, 69% in people with TAB
  • Culture and gender specific 
  • Social desirabilty and researcher bias 
  • Shekelle found no difference in heart disease between Type A and Type B 
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Personality Factors

Dembroski: 

  • Found that hostility was more strongly linked to CHD than overall TAB score 
  • Supported by a meta analysis by Miller 

Kobasa's Hardiness: 

  • Factors that buffer people against the effects of stress
  • Control: the idea of inflluencing events in your life 
  • Commitment: a sense of involvement and purpose in life 
  • Challenge: challenges are seen as opportunities rather than sources of stress 
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Psychological Stress Management

Stress Innoculation Therapy: 

  • An attempt to reduce stress by changing cognition 
  • Education: helping a clinet to understand their stressful reactions 
  • Skills Training: cognitive and behavioural coping skills 
  • Practice: during exposure to a variety of stressors in the real world 
  • Effective and long lasting
  • Time consuming and expensive 
  • Requires motivation

Hardiness Training: 

  • Focusing: identifying symptoms of stress 
  • Recinstruction: making a more realistic assessment of stressful situations 
  • Self Improvement: having belief in our capabilities to deal with stressful situations 

Social Support: 

  • Emitional, practical, informational, network 
  • Research shows that social support reduces vulnerabilty to stress 
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Biological Stress Management

Benzodiazepines: 

  • Increase the action of the neurotransmitter GABA 
  • This reduces activity of other neurotransmitter pathways in the brain and decreases brain arousal 
  • Leaves the person feeling calmer 

Beta Blockers: 

  • Act on the heart and circulatory system
  • Reduce the activity of adrenaline and noradrenaline which create sympathetic arousal 
  • Reduce increase in heart rate and blood pressure, making the person more calm 

Easy to use 

Quick to take effect

Can cause addiction and side effects

Treat symptoms not causes 

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