PSYA2 - Stress (Answers to Exam Questions)

Answers to some past exam questions

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  • Created by: Shannon
  • Created on: 19-05-14 12:29

January 2009

You are a passenger in a car that has sudennly slammed on its brakes to avoid hitting a dog. Your breathing quickens, your mouth is dry and you have the feeling of butterflies in your stomach. But after a few minutes these physical changes start to disappear. Using you knowledge of the body's response to stress, explain why you are likely to have experience:

1. the changes that occured in the first 30 seconds

Adrenal medulla releases adrenaline and noradrenaline which prepares the body for the fight or flight response by increasing heart rate and reducing stomach activity which is the cause for dry mouth

2. the changes that occured after a few minutes

The parasympathetic nervous system of the ANS is activated. This reduces the 'fight or flight' response and restores the body back to normal 

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January 2009 (4 marks)

A doctor has been given a new drug to test, which is intentded to help boost the immune system and help prevent people from getting colds

How have psychologist investigated the relationship between stress and the immune system?

Kiecolt-Glaser et al conducted a natural experiement where she took blood samples from 75 medical students. She took their blood samples 1 month before the exam and during the exams and measured the NK cell activity as an indication of immune function. She then correlated the results of these two sets of data 

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January 2009 (2 marks)

Outline what is meant by Type A behaviour

Having behaviour where you are aggressive and ambitious

- other answers could include: very competitive and always playing games to win, impatience and trying to do more than one thing at a time 

Outline a method used by psychologist to asses whether someone shows type A behaviour

Questionnaires where ppts have to answer true or false to the statements

- other answers could include: interviews and observations 

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January 2009 ( 2+2 marks)

Psychologist  have found that the physical environment (eg noise and heat) can be a source of stress when in the workplace

Apart from the physical environment, outline two other sources of stress in the workplace 

- lack of control is one feature that could cause stress. if a person feels powerless to establish their deadlines, they can become very stressed

- High workload/ underload is another feature that could cause stress. If a person feels like they have too much or too little work, they can become stresed 

- other answers include: Lack of control - where the individual feels they are unable to determine houw much work they do, for how long etc

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January 2010 (3 marks)

Outline the main features of the pituitary-adrenal system

Hypothalamus stimulates the pituitary glands to release ACTH. ACTH stimulates the adrenal cortex to release corticosteriods. The corticosteroids stimulate the liver to release glucose 

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January 2010 (4 Marks)

Sandy and Vandita play for the same netball team. Two weeks ago, while playing in a competition, they both grazed their elbows. Vandita’s wound is healing well, but Sandy’s wound is taking much longer to heal. Sandy is very worried about the plans for her wedding and her forthcoming house move.

Using your knowledge of psychology, explain why Sandy’s wound is taking longer to heal than Vandita’s. 

Research has shown that stress weakens the immune system. Sandy is experincing two major stressors accoring to SRRS which means she is more likely to become ill compared to Vandita who isn't experincing stress and her wound is more likely to take longer to heal as people with long term stress have weaker immune systems

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January 2010 (4 marks)

Outline one strength and one weakness of using correlations in stress research. 

Strength: it allows measurement of variables that would be unethical to measure experimentally 

Weakness: It is difficult to establish cause and effect as we can't conclude that other factors apart from stress didn't cause the immune system to become less effective 

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January 2010 (5 marks)

Describe personality factors that have been shown to influence the way people respond to stress.

People with type A behaviour are normally characterised to be aggressive and competitive, they are driven to success and cannot tolerate failure. Those with type b behaviour are more patient and relaxed. This shows that people with type A behaviour are more likely to show a stronger stress response than those with type B behaviour and it occurs more often. Friedman and Rosenman found in their research that those with type A behaviour types are more likely to suffer from CHD. They are also more likely to be prone to other stress related illnesses such as raised blood pressure.

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January 2010 (6 Marks)

Mr Harris is about to move his business into a brand new building. He is very keen to create a healthy working environment and reduce workplace stress. In this way, he hopes to improve productivity and reduce absenteeism.

What advice would you give Mr Harris? Use your knowledge of psychological research in this area.

Research has found that the physical environment in a workplace may cause stress, noise may lead to frustration so it should be controlled within the work place and temperature can cause aggression so it also should be mointored to enusre it is suitable for everyone. Marmot et al foind that low job control makes you 4 times more likely to die from a heart attack so Mr Harris should make sure that the workers feel like they have some sort of control in how much work they do etc and allow employees to have high decision lattitude. Johansson et al found that high workload leads to higher stress and illness so Mr Harris should make sure employees don't have too much or too little work load to reduce stress. This can be mointored by having regular meetings with employees to ensure they aren't too stressed and see if any other improvements to reduce absenteeism and improve producitivity could be put in place 

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January 2011 ( 4 Marks)

Explain what psychological research has shown about the stressful impact of either life changes or daily hassles.

De Longis et al asked ppt to complete four questionnaires once a month for a period of year. 1 was a hassle scale, one was a uplift scale, one was a life events scale and one for a health questionnaire. De Longis found that both the frequency and intensity of hassles were significantly correlated with overall health status.  They also found no relationship between life events and health. The correlation for daily hassles and illness was higher than the correlation for life events and illness. This shows that daily hassles are more likely to cause illness than life changes. Kanner et al also found that daily hassles are linked to stress and health, with a stronger correlation than that found with SRRS 

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January 2011 (2+2 marks)

Questionnaires have been used by psychologists to investigate stress.

Explain one possible ethical issue that might arise when using questionnaires in this area of psychology.

May cause psychological harm when reliving stressful situations to enable them to compelete questionnaire without their being anyone to talk to after  - other answers may include: Confidentialy is an issue becuase when investiaging stress the ppt might not want to disclose personal information that they want to keep quiet  Apart from ethics, explain one other problem of using questionnaires to investigate stress    People may lie to make themselves sound socially desriable which could cause invalid results.
-other answers may include: leading quesitons, may not understand or misinterpret the questions and give answers that may not represent their stress.

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January 2011 (3+3 marks)

What is meant by a problem-focused approach to coping with stress?

Coping with stress involves person actively trying to do soemthing that deals with stress such as taking control by finding out how much information is needed for an exam as possible and planning and implementing a revision strategy

What is meant by a emotion-focused approach to coping with stress?

Dealing with emotions created by the stressful event such as through denial and venting e.g. crying instead of the actual stress itself. The person may carry on as if nothing is wrong and there is no stressor 

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January 2011 (6 Marks)

Karen has been feeling extremely stressed for several months. She has recently been promoted at work and is worried that she is not able to do the job properly in spite of praise from her managers. She also finds it very difficult to say “no” when colleagues ask for assistance. Her health is suffering and she decides to try Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help manage her stress.

Explain what is involved in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and how it could be used to help Karen.

Karen could use stress inoculation training where Karen will try to replace her irrational thoughts that she can't do her job properly despite of prasie with more positive and rational thoughts. There are three stages in SIT. The first stage is conceptualisation where Karen will relive her stressful situations and analysis various features. The therapist might challenge Karen and ask her to give evidence of examples when she couldn't do her job well. The second stage is skill training and practice where Kare will learn coping stratagies such as relaxation and may also practice saying 'no' with the therapist. The third stage is real life application where Karen will put all that she has learnt and apply it to the real world. Since Karen's problems appear to be her cognitions, SIT would be an appropiate treatment 

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January 2012 ( 4 marks)

Describe one research study that has investigated stress in the workplace. In your answer you should include details of what was done and what was found.

Johnansson et al investigated how workload affects stress and illness. The experiemental group was 14 sawmill finishers in a factory in Sweden, they had very high workload. The control group were 14 cleaners in the same factory that has lower workload. They foudn that those in the experimental group had more adrenaline in their urine and were recorded to have more stress related illness compared to those in  the control group. This leads to the conclusion that high worklad is related to higher stress and greater risk of illness 

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January 2012 ( 4 marks)

Lee and Denis were talking in the doctor’s waiting room. Denis remarked that his new neighbours were very noisy and that whenever he drove into town it was getting increasingly difficult to find anywhere to park. Lee said that his wife had died recently and that he was just about to retire.

Using examples from the conversation above, discuss the difference between life changes and daily hassles.

The things experienced by Denis such as loud noises and  problems with traffic are described as daily hassles as they are minor hassles that occur frequently and can be frustrating. Lee experienced a life change such as death. Life changes are major but infrequent events 

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January 2012 ( 2+2 marks)

Both life changes and daily hassles are often measured using questionnaires.

 Give two limitations of using questionnaires.

One limitation: People may lie to make themselves seem socially desriable

Limitation 2: People may misunderstand or misinterpret the questions meaning they just put any answer that doesn't really represent their stress

other answers may include: leading quetions, closed questions - lack of detail, open questions - difficult to analyse 

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January 2013 (4 marks)

You are just about to cross the road when a car comes speeding round the corner and narrowly misses you. Afterwards, standing safely on the pavement, you notice that your mouth is very dry, your breathing is very fast and your heart is thumping.

Using your knowledge of the body’s response to stress, explain why you are likely to have experienced these changes.

The body responds to the short term stressor via Hypothalamus triggering activity in the sympathetic branch of the auntomoic nervous system. ANS stimulates the adrenal medulla to release adrenaline and noradrenaline, this prepares the body for the fight or flight response by increasing heart rate and reducing activity in stomach which causes dry mouth 

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January 2013 (4 marks)

Outline one strengh and one weakenss of using correlations in stress research

A strength is that there is no manipulation so relationship between variables occurs naturally making it more ethical to measure stress than using experiments

A weakness is that you can't establish cause and efft so you can't condlude that one thing caused another as other factors appart from stress could have affected the numbers of days off

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January 2013 (4 marks)

Explain wether a person with type B personalilty or a person with type A personaility is more likely to suffer from stress related illness. Use research in your explanation

Tye A is more prone to suffer from stress related illness such as CHD as they are more competitive and aggressive compared to those with type B who are more relaxed and patient. Type B are less likely to experience the flight or fight response so are less likely to have raised blood pressure. Friednman and Rosenman found that those with type A personailities are more likely to develop CHD which shows that type a behaviour are more likely to suffer from the negative effects of stress 

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January 2013 (4 marks)

Long-term stress is often accompanied by psychological and physical changes. Drug therapy is sometimes used to reduce these effects of stress.

Outline drug therapy as a method of stress management.

There are two types Bzs and Beta Blockers. BZs reduces brain arousal. It slows down nervous system acitvity be producing GABA which stops neurons from firing . Beta Blockes act directly on the cardiovascular system. They reduce raised heart rate and blood pressure that may arise as a result of stress 

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June 2009 (3+3 marks)

Questionnaires have often been used in stress research to measure the impact of life changes on health.

Outline one advantage and one disadvantage of using questionnaires in stress research

Advantage: if it is a closed question that quantitative data is prdouced and that makes it generally easy to analyse. This makes it easier to make comparisions. --- other answers: people may feel happier to disclose personal and detailed information if they didn't have to do so face to face. It is easier to use than interviews as the researcher doesn't need to be specially trained to hand out questionnaires and information about how stress affects health can be gathered by any researcher fairly easily

Disadvantages: If the wording of the questions is not clear ppt may misunderstand them and answer it in a different wat. This makes it difficult to analyse their data.

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June 2009 ( 4 marks)

During the last few months, Paula has suffered from headaches and colds, and has been having difficulty sleeping. She decided to keep a diary and found that her headaches, colds and sleep problems were associated with experiences such as having too much homework, losing house keys and being stuck in traffic.

Use your knowledge of psychology to explain why Paula might be feeling unwell.

Research has shown that daily hassles play an important role in health. Unlinke life changes, daily hassles can have a greater impact. Paula is experiencing several hassles such as losing things and having too much to do, and as the stress from these hassles acuumlates, so her health may deterioate. Being unable to sleep is a sign of stress, which further reinforces the negative relationship between hassles and illness 

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June 2010 (2 marks)

Ouline one problem focuses approach to coping with stress 

Stress inoculation training where person learns techniques to cope with stressful situations in the future using conceptualisation and application 

Outline one way in which psychologists measure type A personaility 

 By giving out close questionnaires where ppts answer true or false to statements 

- Could use interviews like Friedman and Rosenman where they antagonised the ppts to make their behavioural type more evident 

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June 2010 ( 3 marks)

Expalin why having type A personality makes you more likely to suffer the negative effects of stress

Type A personailities are more likely to have the fight or flight response set of by things in their enviroment, this means that more stress hormones will be present leading to a range of stress related illness such as CHD and high blood pressure 

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June 2011 ( 4 marks)

Psychologist sometimes use questionnaires to find out about stress. Explain two strengths of using quetionnaires

Some people may not feel comfortable with talking about their personal life face to face so find questionnaires better

Ppt can answer the questionnaire without the need for the researcher to be present, so reducing experimenter bias

Compared to interviews they are easy to use as researcher doesn;t need to be specially trained to use them

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June 2011 - 4 marks

Explain how type A personailities might respond to the effects of stress

More likely to suffer the negative effects of stress. They are more prone to stress related illnesses such as raised blood pressure and CHD. They are more likely to have their fight or flight response set off by things in the environment causing the release of more stress hormones which damage and supress the immune system for a long period of time leading to coronary heart problems 

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June 2012 ( 4 marks)

A researcher used a questionnaire and an in-depth interview to assess Georgia’s personality. After completing the questionnaire Georgia was found to be Type A. However, after the in-depth interview she was found to be Type B.

Explain why these methods might produce such different results.

With an interview people may have the opportunity to ask if they don't understand a question

People may or may not be more honest in a questionnaire than when faced directly with an interviewer

In an interview people have greater opportunity to use their own words to express themsevles and can say exactly what they want

Interview can be more flexible, espeically if using unstructured interviews 

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