SAM Pathway (Sympathetic Adrenal Medullary System)
This is the body's response to acute (short term) stressors.
Stressor is perceived by the brain which activates the hypothalamus.
This activates the adrenal medulla which releases adreanaline and noradreanaline
This results in bodily changes preparing the body for 'fight or flight'
Parasympathetic nervous system calms the body (about 20 minutes after the event)
PAS Pathway (Pituitary Adrenal System)
This is the body's response to chronic (long term) stressors
Hypothalamus figures the ongoing stress input which causes it to release ACTH
ACTH activates the adrenal cortex causing it to release corticosteroids such as cortisol
Maintains energy levels in the body BUT it supresses the immune system
Kiecolt - Glaser et al (1984) - Medical Students &
Marucha et al (1998) - 'Punch' Biopsy
Inflicted a 'punch' biopsy (piercing) in the mouth of students
This was done either during the summer holidays or three days before an exam
The wounds given BEFORE the exam took 40% longer to heal than the wounds given during the holidays
Shows that stress DOES effect the immune system
Segerstrom and Miller (2004) - Supporting Research
A meta-analysis of 293 studies conducted over 30 years.
What they found:
- Short-term - acute stressors can boost the immune system by prompting it to ready itself for the possibility of infection
- Long-term - chronic stressors leads to the supression of the immune system
Williams et al (2000) - Cardiovascular disorders a
Conducted a study to see whether aner was related to heart disease
13,000 people completed a 10 question survey designed to measure how angry they are
Six years latr 256 people had suffered from a heart attack - keep in mind that none of the participants had any sort of cardiovascular disease when the survey was conducted
It was found whoever scored 'highly' on the questionnaire (implying that they are angry) were two and a half times more likely to have a heart attack than those who have lower anger ratings
Suggests that anger may lead to cardiovascular disease