Stress - Psychology

AS - Psychology (Stress)

  • Created by: Sian
  • Created on: 02-06-10 16:14


An imbalance between percived demands on an individual and their percived coping resources.
1. Response - response to one thing causes you stress
2. Stimulus - a situation causes you stress
3. Transactional - Perception of coping abilities (takes into account individual diffrences)
Problems: 1 + 2 are nomothetic - ignores individual diffrences e.g phobias
All are reductionsist to simple
Diathesis stress model: we have diffrent stress thresholds.
Walter Cannon: 1914 first person to use the word stress
Fight vs Flight - realses sugar and fats, dialates airways and pupils, produces andrenaline and non adrenaline and increases heart rate.
Effects stress has on the body: ANS - Autonomic nervous system central role in status of bodily arousal assosiated with stress.
A* Sympathetic - Speeds up activity ready to face stressor and increases heart rate (Cant maintain, non adrenaline burnout)
B* Parasympathetic - returns body to normal and calms you down
Adrenaline - Increases heart rate, mobilizes fats and gloucose, increases oxygen and glucose supply to organs.
Nonadrenaline - increases sharpness of sense, increase rate at which blood clots.

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Life changes

Holmes and Raye: Questionaire e.g. death of a spouse, moving etc, major life events cause stress.

Daily Hassles: Hassles and uplifts scale (Lazurus et al) Critic: Can still have lots of hassles and be happy.

Locus of Control (Rutter et al) Internal - your fault, External - blame others, rate bad luck, cant control.

Personality (Rosenhman and Friedman) Type a (TAB A) - more likley to smoke, drink + poor diet, competitive, hostile and time consious. Type B (TAB B) more likley to develop CHD)

Rosenman study: 3454 Middle ages men interveiwed type a and type b
-8.5 years pass - 257 have died or suffered from a heart realated issue. 69% - Type A.

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Workplace Stress

Cooper et al - Cause of workplace stress
Boring, repetitive work, blame culture, lack of control, role confusion, harrasment, too little/much to do.

Examples of stressful carreers: medicine, ICT, army, farmers, lawyers, librarians, prison officers and teaching.

Whats to reduce work place stress: Hardiness (Mentally resiliant to stress), rewards, Team building.

Marmot - london based civil servants 'white hall studies'
Results: lower paid positions had most illness , tended to smore and have high blood pressure.
Control - was the biggest factor in attempting stress and illness.

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Managing Stress

Psychological - Hardiness, Biofeedback - Kobasa - mental resiliant to stress.
Physiological - teaching people to lower their blood pressure or reduce other bodily symptoms. - doesnt always address cause but is scientific and harmless.
Physiological- Drugs - Benzodiazepines and beta blockers are effective but have side effects such as tiredness also there is the risk of dependence.

Psychological teachniques
Relaxation, meditation reduces arousal which is assosiated with stress but treats symptoms not cause.
Meichenbourn - stress innoculation therapy - 1. Identify stressor (Conceptualisation), 2. Aquire skilles, 3. Applacation in real world (Pratice)

CBT: aims to alter irrational thoughts and cognative biases that are assumed to be cause of the problem.

Hypnosis: unconsious root may be causing stress
Exersise - Positive effect on mood - Pro: reduces stress depresion.Con: risk of injury
Logotherapy: Frankl - Meaning in life

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Stress and Illness

Types of illness though to be caused by stess: colds, flu, heart attacks, stomach ulsers..

Animal Studies: Selye - 2 groups of rats: one injected with hormones everyday to see if the stress from the injection let them to being ill.
- Second group had no injections or hormones
- Both developed ulcers
- Stress of the situation caused ulsers not hormone injection.

Brady: Excutive monkey study - 2groups - shocked every 20 secs for 6 hours. Executives could dealy shocks but not stop them - let to ulsers then death.

Weiss: Replicated brady with rates - simular results

Seligman- gave rats inescabable foot shocks, he repeared this study but gave food shocks that were escapable, did not try and escape. - Learned helplessness

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Human Studies

Cohen - effect of stress on vunrablity to common cold/virus (questionaires, number of stressful life events) - 394 participants
1 - 82% infected
2 - After 7 days the number whose infected developed into a common cold
Findings: chances of developing cold significantly correlated with stress index scores.
Pros: supported by Edgington et al, showed relationship between life stress and illness.
Con: unethical, does not tell us which element of stress index is most important.

Kiecolt + Glaser - Medical students: Measured NK activity before exams (low stress) and during exam peroid (high stress)
Findings: NK activity reduced significantly in high stress samples compared to low stress samples. greatest reductions in those experiening high levels of social isolation.
Con - Med students arn't representive, NK - one component of highley complex system.

Selye - GAS - General adaptation syndrome 1. Alarm, 2. Resistance, 3. Exhaustion.

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Cultural Factors

Dearlin - Social class - stress
Merton - American Dream - stress

Cultural relativism - diffrent cultures and countries have diffrent stessors e.g Britain weather

Acculturation - Stressful adapting to a new culture

Individulist - Isolated familes/ individuals,High divorce rates, more poverty.
Collectivist - social support networks, extended familes, low divorce rates.

Women are more likley to use friends as their support.
Henderson: no major diffrences in life events are experienced by men and women.
Cockrane - Women - Duel Role - homemaker
Vingerhoet and Vanheck - Men are problem focused while women are emotion focused.
Stoney et al - Men - Higher blood pressure then women.
Frankenhouser- Heart rate and adrenaline concentrations increase in both genders
Lazurus and Folkman - Gender diffrence in stress

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The Role of the Hypothalumus

Stimulates the adrenal medulla Stimulates the Pituitary Release of ACTH

Releases adrenaline Stimulates the Adrenal Cortex

Gets body ready for fight or flight Realeases corticosteroids

Psyiological reactions e.g increased heart rate Lever realeases energy + immunes system is suppressed

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