Stress is a lack of confidence between percieved demands and the ability to cope with those demands.
Bodily Response To Stress
Hypothalamus - controls the physiological activities involved in stress. The Hypothalamus triggers two processes in the body Activaiton of Sypathomedullary Pathway and Activtion of Pituitary-Adrenal System.
- If stress is long term,second system produces a counter body response.
- Hypothalamus triggers release of CRF, which stimulates the pituitary gland which releases ACTH.
- ACTH travles through the body and stimulates the adrenal cortex which release corticosteriods which are released into the bloodstream which gives us energy.
- Energy is converting fat into protein.
- Requires energy for 'flight or fight'.
- Inital shock response in the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system.
- The sympathetic branch becomes more active when the body is stressed and uses more energy.
- Stimultion of the adrenal medulla within the adrenal glands, release adrenline and noradrealine into the bloodstream.
- This affects the body by increase in blood pressure and heart rate and breathing increases.
- In result the body changes and is ready to deal with the stress.
Age and Gender
- Women are more likely to report problemsand being stressed than men (84% V 76%)
- People under the age of 65 were more likely to report being stressed more than older people (82% V 70%)
- Kiecolt-Glaser et al (2003) "different ways in which me and womens immune system reacts to marital conflict - women having hormonal changes"
- Segerstrom and Miler (2004) "age affects the way the immune system reacts to stress because age makes the body harder to regulate itself"
Effects On The Immune System
- Infection and Diseases (illness occurs more frequently because immune system is weakened from stress, also takes longer to recover)
- Indirect Effects (stress causes the release of ACTH from the PG in the brain which causes the adrenal glands to release anit-infamitory hormones which inhabit the immune system)
- Psoriasis and Exzema (skin disorders worsen with stress. Stress interferes with the immune systems ability to cope with the inflamation from these disorders)
Chronic Stress and Immune System
Chronic stress (long lasting) has been found to have consequences on the immune system function. Three main Chronic Stressors:
- Conflict in Interpersonal Relationships (couples whose interactions are negetive and hostile towards each other show less adaptive immunilogical responces after these interactions. Kiecolt-Glaser et al 2005 - tested the effect on wound healing and found that wounds arm blisters heal more slowly after conflict than after supportive discussions)
- Death of a Spouse (death of a close relative can affect immune system disfunction. Gerra et al 2003 - found someone who has unexpected bereavment had lower natural killer cell and lympthocyte actvity compared to non bearveved controls observed 40 days after death)
- Care Giving (particularly in a person taking care of a spouse with dementia was associated with immue system disfunction. Kiecolt-Glaser 2000 - found care givers were frequently socially isolated, experienced over whelming, shows higher levels of depression and anxiety. Show lower levels of natural killer cell compared to matched controls)
Cohen Et Al 1993
Cohen added to the debate by demonstrating a study where:
- participants had to fill in a questionnaire on negetive life events, how stressed they felt and the degree of negetive emotions they felt
- the scores were then combined into the stress index (higher the score, more chance of getting the cold virus)
- the participants were then exposed to low doses of common col symptoms
- findings show 82% of 394 participants became infected
- this study is a correlational study which it shows high levels of stress reduces the immune system.
Short Term Stressors and Immune System
It has been proven that short term stressors affect the immune system functions (Kiecolt-Glaser et al 1984)
These effects include:
- ability of white blood cells to perfrom their fighting antigens and decrease naturak killer cell activity (Kiercolt-Glasser 1991)
- effects of stressors on the immune system functioning may increase when indivduals are already stressed for examples exams (Marshall et al 1998)
Stress Related Illness (Cardiovascular)
Williams 2000 - anger linked to heart disease?
- 13,000 people filled out a 10 question questionnaire (including questions about there temporament, physical violence and whether they got no recognition given for good work)
- none of the participants had experienced heart problems
- 6years later 256 participants had experienced heart attacks.
- higher the anger test score: 2 and half times more likely to have a heart attack
- moderate scores: 35% more likely to have a conory event
- suggests people with angry isses may lead to cardiovascular disorders
Stress Related Illness (Cardiovascular)
Russek 1962 - studied heart disease in medical professions
- one group of doctors who had high stress (gps and anastethics)
- other groups with low stress (pathologist and dermotoligists)
- heart disease was greatest among Gps 11.9%
- lowest was in dermotolists 3.2%
- stress is linked to heart disease
How To Outline and Evaluate
- INTRO ( definition of the key words and how are they linked?)
- RESEARCH ( three pieces of research brieftly outline procdure and findings)
- CONCLUSION (what i think and is it useful)