Health and Clinical- Stress

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  • Created by: anna
  • Created on: 23-04-14 21:37


Aim: to measure the mental and physical stress response in two catergories of employees

Sample: 24 workers at a Swedish saw mill. High risk group had 14 workers who had to work at a set pace, had a complex and required knowledge about raw materials. Responsible for rate of production and this affected teams wages. Control group of 10 and were cleaners.

Method: an independent design, quasi experiment, each P gave a daily urine test on arrival and four other times through out the day, gave self report on mood and altertness as well as caffeine and alcohol consumption. Baseline measurements were taken at the same time on a day at home. adrenaline in urine and body temp. measured, self rating scales using words such as sleepiness, well being, rated from 0 to maximum  


  • first urine sample of the day high risk workers had adrenaline levels twice as high as their base line and these increassed through out the day 
  • control group had peak of 1.5 times baseline in the morning this declined through out the day
  • high risk group felt more rushed and irritated, and rated well being as lower than control. 
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Aim: to compare the hassels and uplifts scale and the berkman life events scale as predictors of psychological symptoms of stress 

Sample: 216 intially contacted, 109 agreed to take part then 9 dropped out leaving 100. had at least 9th grade education and were white protestant

Method: repeated design. first assesed their psychological symptoms of stress using the hopkins symptom checklist (HSCL) and the bradburn morale scale. all tests sent out 1 month before. They had to complete hassels, HSCL, and bradburn morale scale every month for 9 months and the life events rating after 10 months 


  • hassels consistent from month to month 
  • for men the more life events recorded the more hassels reported and fewer uplifts 
  • for women the more life events recorded the more hassels and uplifts 
  • the more hassels reported the more negative symptoms reported
  • hassels is a more powerful predictor, hassels contribute to symptoms whatever the life event
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Geer and Maisel

Aim: To see if perceived control or actual control can reduce stress reactions to aversive stimuli 

Sample: 60 undergraduate enrolled in a psychology course from NY university 

Method: lab experiment, independent measures randomly assigned to three conditions 

  • group 1: given actual control over how long they saw each photograph for, the could press a button to end the photo and there would be a tone before each photograph 
  • group 2: given percieved control, were warned the photos would be 60 seconds and how long they see the photos, 10 second warning tone before each photo 
  • group 3: had no control, told they would see photos and hear tones from time to time 

seated in a sound shieled room hooked up to heart monitors and GSR, calibrated for 5 minutes when relaxed to get a baseline, there was a 10 second tone and then the button was pressed (group 1) or after the predetermined length of time (groups 2 and 3). GSR taken at onset of tone, half way through tone, and in response to photo 

Results: heart rate in accurate, predictablility group 2 showed more stress with the tone, and control group 1 experienced less stress in response to the photo than groups 2 and 3 

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Geer and Maisel- measurement of stress

participants stress level measured using galvanic skin response and heart-rate electrodes 

A beckman model RB polygraph was used to collect psychophysiological data, the data converted from a voltmeter to a printout, each recording was performed in a shieleded room so nothing interfered with the data collection, the heart monitors were attached in standard positions and the GSR electrodes were placed between the palm and forearm of the participants non-preferred arm. 

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Holmes and Rahe

Aim: to create a method that estimates the extent to which life events are stressors 

Sample: 394 Ps (179 males and 215 females) from a range of educational abilities, ethnic groups, and religions 

Method: questionairre designed to ascertain how much each life event was felt to be a stressor, each P rated a series of 43 life events, marriage was given a first rating of 50 and each event had to be judged whether it required more or less adjustment than this, rating based on either own experience or perception of other peoples experience, the amount of readjustment and the time it would take to readjust was considered. 


  • The final SRRS was completed based on the mean scores allocated to the participants 
  • Corrleations between groups were high apart from between black and white participants 
  • all events associated with western culture 
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Johansson- measurement of stress

  • Each participant gave a urine sample four times during the day, so adrenaline could be meausred 
  • body temperature recorded at the same time, both physiological measurements 
  • also combined with self reports on reported nicotine and caffeine consumption, there were also a list of emotions such as sleepiness, well being, calm and irritation. these were on continum from minimum to maximum.
  • combined with physiological measures and self report giving qualitative and quantitative data, allowing Johansson to compare the two groups
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Aim: To compare SIT with standard behavioural systematic desensitisation and a control group 

Sample: 21 students aged 17-25 who responded to an advert for treatment of test anxiety. 

Method: field experiment, a blind study, assesed using self report before and after treatment, matched pairs design, with random allocation to the SIT therapy group, the standard desensitisation group, they were matched on gender and anxiety levels. They were first told they would do some IQ tests and then an anxiety adjective checklist, they were then given a baseline score, The SIT group recieved 8 therapy sessions. were told to indentify their thoughts prior to the test and were given positive statements. SD group got 8 sessions told to practice relaxation while imagining incresing stressful scenarios. Control group were told they were on a waiting list.


  • performance on tests improved in SIT group 
  • Bigger difference between 2 therapy groups and the control group 
  • improvement in anxiety levels was biggest in SIT group but biggest difference was between the therapy groups and control group
  • SIT more effective as it adds a cognitive element  
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Aim:  to see whether bio feeback is an effective technique in reducing tension headaches or if its a placebo effect 

Sample: 18 Ps (2 males and 16 females) aged 22-44, repsonded to a newspaper advertisement. underwent psychiatric and medical examinations to make sure there was no other reason for headaches. 

Method: independent design, random allocation into 3 groups of 6, Group A: had bio feedback sessions with EMG feedback, Group B: had feedback from someone elses seesion, Group C:control group on waiting list. 2 weeks before Ps rated headaches to get a baseline score also completed MMPI to test for depression. A and B recieved 2 sessions a week for 8 weeks and both practiced relaxation each P recorded headache activity anfter 3 months groups A and B given a questionnaire plus the MMPI 


  • Groups A muscle tension was lower than group B and stayed like that after 3 months
  • Group A was the only group whose headaches dropped below baseline 
  • follow up for group A after 18 months, 4 out of 6 Ps contacted, 3 reported very low headache activity and 4 reported some reduction. 
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Aim: To look womens social relationships influence her response to breast cancer and survival 

Sample: 133 women under 55 years, referred to a clinic in vancouver wiht a confirmed diagnosis of breast cancer. 

Method: independent design, patients given a self administered questionnaire to gather info on demography, exisiting social networks, education, children, maritial status, contact with friends or family and church membership. details of their diagnosis were abstracted from their medical records and then their surivival and recurrence rates were checked. 


  • six axpects linked with survival were: marital status, support from friends, contact with friends, total support, social network and employment. 
  • qualitative data showed that practical help e.g. cooking, transport to hospital was the most concrete form of support, those married reported supportive spouses although there were complex relationships wiht children as they needed support, job was good for support and info
  • proved the more social networks, increased survival, as Ps stress reduced. 
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