Psychology Stress


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  • Created by: cihan
  • Created on: 11-04-12 09:25

What is stress?

A lack of fit between the perceived demands of a situation and a person's perceived ability to cope.


  • The pituitary-adrenal system.
  • The sympathomedullary pathway.
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The pituitary-adrenal system

The Pituary Adrenal system involves the Adrenal cortex is in control of the Hypothalamus and the Pituritary gland.

  • Hypothalamus- a small structure at the base of the brain.
  • Pituritary gland- in the skull cavity below the Hypothalamus.

When the brain decides a situation is stressful it releases corticotrophin releasing factor (CRF) which goes to the pituritary gland.

Pituritary Gland- (master gland) realeases (ACTH) this hormone travels to the Adrenal Cortex and stimulates the release of hormones called Corticosteriods into the bloodstream.

There are lots of Cortisteriods, which have different effects on the body and are a vital part of the stress response.

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The sympathomedullary pathway

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Activating the body's stress response

Study - SELYE:  Selye identified the activation of The Pituritary adrenal system, and the Sympathomedullary pathway as the two main components of the bodys response to Stressors.                                                                                                     When these two systems are aroused they prepare the body for energy expenditure.                                                                                                              Corticosteriods, adreniline, noradreniline moberlise energy reserves, sustain blood flow, and heart rate, to get oxygen to the muscles.

Study CANNON (1914): Cannon called this pattern the 'Fight or Flight' response. Selye's experimental studies showed that this was also central to the stress response (observed in rats).

The physical or psychological stressor activated two pathways.                                General Adaptation Sundrome (GAS) explained the short-term effects of stressors. Stress related illness such as stomach ulcers.

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