Psychology AS (1) STRESS

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THE BODY’S RESPONSE TO STRESS (1)

THE BODY’S RESPONSE TO STRESS

The General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) – model outlined by Seyle (1936)

Observed that all animals produce the same sequence of responses to all stressors: cold, pain, and physical trauma. This response is adaptive because it enables the individual to cope under stress.

1. ALARM ‡ Prepares you to respond to environmental demands. The HPA system is activated: the sympathetic branch of the ANS is aroused and ACTH and adrenal hormones are released in readiness for fight or flight.

2. RESISTENCE ‡ If the stressor persists, the body adapts by returning to a normal level of functioning while coping with the stressor. Hormone production is maintained but at lower levels.

3. EXHAUSTION ‡ Eventually the body’s resources are depleted. Adrenal glands are not functioning, leading to low blood sugars and various psychosomatic disorders such as ulcers.


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THE BODYS RESPONSE TO STRESS (2)

Evaluation of GAS syndrome

STRENGTHS ¸ Seyle observed stress reactions in rats and confirmed this is studies of hospital patients with various injuries and illnesses.

WEAKNESSES v Ignores the role of emotional and cognitive factors – possibly because of use of non-human animals.

‡ ‡ Lazarus showed that people experienced stress during a film depending on what they’d been told beforehand – cognitive appraisal affected the stress experienced.

v Seyle thought that GAS was a non-specific response to any stressor but different stimuli lead to different responses. Also individual differences and situational differences.

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SAM system – acute stress ‡ Automatic Nervous Syst

SAM system – acute stress ‡ Automatic Nervous System

1. Arousal of the sympathetic branch of the ANS

2. Adrenal medulla releases adrenaline

3. Adrenaline causes sweating etc

HPA axis – chronic stress ‡ Hypothalamic Pituitary-Adrenal axis

1. The hypothalamus stimulates the pituitary

2. Secretes a hormone called ACTH

3. Stimulates adrenal glands to produce a hormone called cortisol – maintains blood sugar levels for energy.

How adrenaline affects the body:

¸ Increased heart rate ¸ Sweating ¸ Increased blood pressure

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SAM system

SAM system – acute stress ‡ Automatic Nervous System

1. Arousal of the sympathetic branch of the ANS

2. Adrenal medulla releases adrenaline

3. Adrenaline causes sweating etc

HPA axis – chronic stress ‡ Hypothalamic Pituitary-Adrenal axis

1. The hypothalamus stimulates the pituitary

2. Secretes a hormone called ACTH

3. Stimulates adrenal glands to produce a hormone called cortisol – maintains blood sugar levels for energy.

How adrenaline affects the body:

¸ Increased heart rate ¸ Sweating ¸ Increased blood pressure

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effects of stress on immune system

KEY STUDY 1 Kielcolt-Glaser (1995) - effects of stress on immune system

Other research ‡ Cohen (1991) – The Common Cold Exposed 400 participants to the cold virus. Those who had the highest stress levels (as measured in LCU) were twice as likely to become ill as those with lower stress levels.

Riley (1981) – Tumours o Created stress in mice by placing them on a turntable rotating at 45rpm. After 5hrs, their lymphocyte count was reduced.

o In another study, cancer cells were implanted in mice. Mice which endured 10mins of rotation per hour for 3days (high stress) developed large tumours.

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LIFE CHANGES CAUSE STRESS

Life Changes ‡ Events such as divorce, that necessitate a significant adjustment in various aspects of a person’s life. As such, they can be seen as a significant source of stress.

Holmes and Rahe developed the Social Readjustment Rating Scale in 1967. It was based on 43 life events taken from their analysis of over 5000 patient’s records. 400 people were asked to score each life event in terms of how much readjustment would be required by the average person. They had to give a numerical figure taking marriage as a baseline of 500. Scores for all participants were totalled and averaged to produce Life Change Units for each event.

KEY STUDY 1 Rahe (1970) – life changes as source of stress (US Navy)

Other ways of measuring life changes:

ÿ Daily Hassles ‡ DeLongis (1982) - said that chronic strains of daily living (hassles) were a better measure of stress than looking at acute events. Hassles could be positive/negative. Developed a Hassles and Uplifts Scale that included 53 items.


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WORKPLACE STRESSORS (1)

WORKPLACE STRESSORS

This is some aspect of our working environment (e.g. work overload or impending deadlines) that we experience as stressful and which causes a reaction in our body.

Factors in the workplace that act as stressors:

v LACK OF CONTROL Glass gave people a button to control noise. Button people had more task persistence. Schaubroeck found that some people are less stressed with no control.


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WORKPLACE STRESSORS (2)

v OVERCROWDING Calhoun placed rats in limited space. Once their population reached a certain level, behaviour became pathological – males became hypersexual, attacking females and young, females became poor mothers.)

v SHIFT WORK Czeisler found that shirt work amongst industrial workers in Utah, USA correlated with more accidents, absenteeism and chronic feelings of illness.

v RESPONSIBILITY Brady’s Study – monkey stomach ulcers

v ROLE CONFLICT AND ROLE AMBIGUITY Have to be at work and at home (women). Shirom found perceived role conflict = coronary heart disease

Lack of definition given to a position. Leads to frustration. Kahn surveyed workers finding 35% felt unclear about their job responsibilities.


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INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES

INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES

PERSONALITY ‡

Type A personalities are more likely to be affected by stress. FRIEDMAN AND ROSENMAN

Hardiness: Kobassa found that managers of large companies who were psychologically hardy suffered less illnesses. Hardy Characteristics: ß COMMITMENT to work ß Seeing stressful situations as CHALLENGES ß Having a strong sense of personal CONTROL

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WORKPLACE STRESSORS (3)

v ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS ‡ Noise, heat, lighting,.

Effects of unpredictable noise ‡ Glass (1969) & 60 participants completed various cognitive tasks & Conditions were loud/soft noise that was predictable/unpredictable or silent. & Stress measured using the Galvanic Skin Response & Asked to perform 4 puzzles – 2 which were impossible (frustration) & Most stress in RANDOM NOISY – we can tune out constant stimuli but unpredictable stimuli require continued attention so reduces out ability to cope with stress.

KEY STUDY 1 Marmot (1997) – a study of workplace stressors

KEY STUDY 1 Brady (1958) – greater responsibility leads to greater stress

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STRESS MANAGEMENT

STRESS MANAGEMENT This refers to the techniques for coping with the negative effects of stress. Split into physiological and psychological.

PHYSIOLOGICAL METHODS OF STRESS MANAGEMENT Techniques that aim to reduce stress by altering the body’s natural stress responses.

1. DRUGS What are they? Anxiolytic drugs reduce anxiety. These include: • Benzodiazepines: e.g. valium. These act on synapses and neurotransmitters, promoting natural biochemical substance called GABA = the body’s natural form of anxiety relief. 1. GABA reduces serotonin levels ‡ decreases arousal of neurons ‡ reduced anxiety. 2. GABA slows down nerve cell activity, allowing chloride ions into neurons, slowing activity and causing relaxation. Side effects = sleepiness and dependence

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BIOFEEDBACK

2. BIOFEEDBACK

What is it? Techniques to learn voluntary control of involuntary behaviours by being made aware of ANS activity.

Learning occurs through: A. Feedback ‡ a patient is connected to various monitoring devices to provide info about ANS activity e.g. light indicating high blood pressure. B. Relaxation ‡ a patient is taught methods of relaxation. Reduces activity of sympathetic nervous system and activating the parasympathetic nervous system. C. Operant conditioning ‡ certain behaviours are reinforced because they result in a desirable outcome.

Miller and DiCara Used 24 rats, keeping them alive through artificial respiration. Half were rewarded when their heart rate slowed down. Half were rewarded when their heart rate speeded up. Heart beats adapted to what they were rewarded by.

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