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  • Created on: 17-02-14 22:44

The Cognitive Approach


  • Abnormality is caused by faulty thinking-Mental Illness is the result of cognitive distortions in the way a person thinks about a problem.
  • The A-B-C Model
  • A refers to the activating event (E.g the sight of a large dog)
  • B is the belief, which may be rational (E.g the dog is harmless) or irrational (E.g The dog will attack me)
  • C is the consequence-rational beliefs lead to healthy emotions (e.g amusements) and irrational beliefs lead to unhealtnhy emotions (E.g Fear)


  • Blames the patient so it overlooks situational factors. The implication is that recovery is only possible by changing the way the person thinks about these stressors, rather than changing the stressor itself.
  • It is not sure what comes first, do maladaptive thoughts cause mental disorder or vice versa.
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Secure and Insecure Attachment

Secure attachment-Willing to explore,easy to soothe, higher stranger anxiety. Infant is comfortable with social interaction and intamacy.

Insecure avoidant- infants are willing to explore and are unresponsive to the mother's return, they generally avoid social interaction and intamacy with others.

Insecure ambivalent-infants who are less interesing in exploring and show distress on the mother's return. Genereally they both seek and reject social intamacy and itneraction.

Validity-What is being measured? The strange situation only measures the attachment within one relationship rather than a quality lodged in the individual. Attachment type may be a sum of many different attachment relationships. However Main and Weston found that atachment type is mainly influenced by the mother.

Predictive Validty- We would expect securely attached children to have better social and emotional devolpment. This is upported by Sroufe et al and Hazan and Shaver who found that people classified  as securely attached in ealry life, later were more trusting.

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The Body's Responses to Stress

Stress-When the percieved demands of a situation are greater than the percieved abillity to cope.

The autonomic nervous system (ANS)- Immediate stressors activate the sympathetic branch of the ANS. The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) prepares the body for fight or flight, the rapid action necessary when ananimal is under threat, This is achieved by the release of nonandreanaline, which activates internal body organs associated with fight or flight.

Fight or Flight- A term meaning an animal is energised to either fight or run away in response to a sudden stressor.

SNS induced changes included an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, increased pupil size and metabollic changes, such as the mobilisation of fat and glucose in the bloodstream.

The adrenal medulla- A second part of this rescource to stress includes the andrenal glands, especially the andrenal mudella. Neurons of the SNS travel to the medulla, causing it to release andrenaline into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, andreanaline boosts the supply of oxygen and glucose to the brain and suppresses non emergancy bodily processes, such as digestion.

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Chronic Stress

The hypothalamus- this response is activated under conditions of chronic stress. When such stressors are percieved by higher centres in the brain, a message is sent to the hypothalamus. Activtaion of area leads to the production of corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF), which is released into the bloodstream.

The Pituitary glnad- On arrival at the pituitary gland, CRF causes it to release adrenocorticotrophic hormones (ACTH) This is transported via the bloodstream to the andrenal glands,specifically the andrenal cortex.

The andrenal cortex- Once activated, the andrenal cortex releases the hormone cortisol, which has several effects. Some are postitive (e.g lower sensitivity to pain) while some are negative (lower immune response). Porlongued release of ACTH by the pituatary gland causes the andrenal cortex to increase in size to produce more cortisol.

Conseuences-If these stress resposnes are repeatedly activated, the heart and blood vessels begin to suffer from abnormal wear and tear. For example, increased blood pressure associated with SNS activation can lead to physical damage in th elining of the blood vessels and increase the likelyhood of heart disease.

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Stress Related Ilness

Kiecolt-Glaser et al

Acute stressor- How, Natural experiment with students. The researchers assessed immune system fucntioning one month before an exam and during the exam period itself.

Showed- Immune system activity was significantly reduced from a blood sample taken during the examination period, compared to one taken one month before. This suggests that short-term stressors reduce immune system functioning.

Validity- Students may not constitue a representive group, however research with other groups exposed acute stressors has found similar results.

Evaluation-Health is affected by many different factors therefore there is little variance left to be accounted for by stress.

Health tends to be stable and only change over a long period of time, therefore it is difficult to demonstrate that exposure to particular stressors have caused a change in health.

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Method-Lab experiment, varying different situational pressures to see which has the greatest effect on obedience.

-40 male volunteers were told that it was a study on how punishment affected learning.

-The real participant was assigned the role of a teacher. The learner was an actor (Confederate)

-Teacher's job was to administer a learning task and electrocute the learner if he was incorrect. Shocks began at 15 volts and increased in increments of 15 up to 450v.

Showed-All particpents went up to 300v, with only 12.5% stopping at this point. 65% continued all the way to 450v. This shows high levels of obedience.

The study was used to explain what happened during the holocaust and if obiedence was the main reason that the events that took place, were actually carried out.

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