Biological Studies

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  • Created on: 30-05-13 16:14

Kiecolt-Glazer (1984)

Aim: to discover whether short term stressors effect immune system functioning.

Method: natural, 75 first year med students. Took a blood sample before (low stress) and during (high stress) exam period. They completed a questionnaire to assess external stressors. 

Findings: T-Cell count decreased in second sample.

Conclusion: short term stressors reduce immune system functioning.

Evaluation: did illness cause stress or did stress cause illness?, low int. validity (individual differences, EVs, demand characterstics because of self report), low ext. validity (sample bias).

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Kiecolt-Glazer (1995)

Aim: effects of stress on immune system.

Method: matchesd pairs, volunteers. 13 female carers aged 47 - 81 (experimental) + 13 women matched by age/income (control). Given a wound below the elbow.

Findings: carers' wounds took around 5 days longer to heal.

Conclusion: long term stress impairs the immune system.

Evaluation: low ext. validity (small no. of PPs, sample bias), low int. validity (PP variables, factors like eating/sleeping habits).

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Williams et al (2000)

Aim: see if anger + stress are linked.

Method: 13,000 people completed a questionnaire + were rated on an anger scale. Researchers checked their health 6 yrs later.

Findings: 256 PPs experienced heart attacks. 2.5x more likely if they scored highly. 'Moderate' people were 35% more likely to experience a coronary event.

Conclusion: anger may lead to cardiovascular disorders. People who are prone to anger management may benefit from anger training.

Evaluation: low int. validity (individual differences, demand characteristics), high ext. validity (large sample).

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Russek (2002)

Aim: heart disease in med students.

Method: high stress group (GPs) and low stress group (dermatologists).

Findings: heart disease greatest amongst GPs (11.9%) and lowest amongst dermatologists (3.2%)

Conclusion: stress causes heart disease.

Evaluation: low int. validity (individual differences), low ext. validity (sample bias).

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Holmes and Rahe (1967)

Aim: link between life changing events and physical ill health.

Method: created the Social Readjustment Rating Scale. PPs had to say which life events they'd experienced in the last year.

Findings: Life changing events/Probability of Illness: 300/80%, 200-299/50%, 150-199/30%.

Evaluation: low int. validity (individual differences - life events will have different effects on people, demand characteristics), correlational info (no cause and effect), Martin: no correlation between illness + positive life changes, so they should not be included. 

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Rahe et al

2700 Navel personnel kept health records for 7 months. Found +0.118 correlation between LCE + ill health. Low correlation but significant due to large sample.

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Bouteyre et al (2007)

Investigated daily hassles of students. 1st yr french psych students completed the hassles part of the Hassles + Uplifts Scale (Delongis et al). 41% showed depressive symptoms. Positive correlation between score on the scale + depressive symptoms. Shows transition to uni has daily hassles  that could cause depression.

AO2: low int. validity (individual differences), low ext. validity (sample bias), correlational (no cause and effect).

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Kanner et al (1981)

Aim: relationship between daily hassles + stress.

Method: 100 adults aged 45-64. Completed a hassles scale every month for a year + completed the SRRS. 

Findings: high hassle score - greater stress - risk of stress related illness. Daily hassles are better predictors of stress than life changes.

Conclusion: daily hassles are linked to stress and health, with a stronger correlation than found with the SRRS.

Evaluation: correlational (no cause and effect), low int. validity (individual differences, demand characteristics), low ext. validity (sample bias), quantative data (miss useful data but good for comparisons).

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Gervais (2005)

Asked nurses to keep diaries for one month. They recorded daily hassles/uplifts at work + rated their performance. Found that daily uplifts counteracted hassles + improved their performance. 

Conclusion: uplifts decrease stress levels.

Evaluation: low ext. validity (sample bias), low int. validity (individual differences, self report).

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Marmot et al (1997)

Aims: relationship between job control and stress related illness.

Method: 10,000 civil servants investigated over 3yrs. Completed questionnaires and were compared to levels of stress related illness.

Findings: even considering smoking/diet, workers with less control are 4x more likely to die of a heart attack, more likely to suffer from a stress related illness.

Conclusion: lack of control is associated with stress related illness. 

Evaluation: low int. validity (self report), low ext. validity (sample bias), correlational (no cause and effect)

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Johansson et al (1978)

Aim: to see if work overload generates stress.

Method: Swedish Saw Mill workers, responsible for the final stages of production + overall productivity. Measured stress hormone (adrenaline/ACTH) levels during work/rest days. Measured sickness.

Findings: stress hromone levels higher during work days, higher than other workers in the factory, higher than control group of cleaners, they had a greater risk of stress related illness. 

Conclusion: workload was stressful (skilled work at a fast pace, responsible for everybody's pay). Workload/stress related illness are positively correlated. Suggested workers rotated - then stress levels decreased + overall productivity increased.

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Friedman and Rosenman

Aim: do personality differences exist in our response to stress?

Method: 3000 American men (aged 39-59). Longitudional study (8.5yrs). Personalities assessed using structured interview. They were examined for signs of CHD. Each assigned a personality type, A, B, C (sociable, nice, react to stress with helplessness), D (gloomy, socially inept, worriers).

Findings: considering things like smoking, Type As 2x as likely to develop CHD. 70% of PPs who developed CHD were Type A.

Conclusion: Type A Behaviours seem to be linked to CHD.

Evaluation: low ext. validity (sample bias), low int. validity (structured interview - no elaboration, demand characteristics), not everbody will fit into these personality types.

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Kobasa (1979)

Aim: characteristics which help resist the effects of stress.

Method: compared managers who experienced a high no of life changing events over the last 3yrs losing the life events scale. Some where ill a lot, others weren't.

Findings: people with fewer illnesses demonstrate hardiness.

Conclusion: some people show characteristics such as: seeing problems as challenges to be overcome, seeing what they do as useful or valuable (commitment), feeling in control of their lives.

Evaluation: low ext. validity (sample bias), low int. validity (people perceive different types of stress differently), components of personality aren't clearly defined (control may be a part of commitment and challenge rather than separate). 

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