The Body's response to stress

HideShow resource information

SAM pathway - Acute stress

SNS activation leads to...

  • Increased pupil size 
  • Sweat glands produce more sweat
  • Glycogen is stored in the liver and coverted to glucose for energy 
  • Increase in heart rate 
  • Release of adrenaline by the adrenal medulla


This is when you are energised to fight or flee in response to an acute stressor - the body is prepared for this by the SAM pathway 

ANS - > SNS - > noradrenaline  (physical response see above)

ANS -> adrenal medulla -> adrenaline 

1 of 3

Pituitary-adrenal system - Chronic stress

Perception of stressor by higher brain centres


CRF              |                         

Pituitary gland

ACTH          |                         

Adrenal cortext

CORT            |                         

Cortisol causes stress effects in the body (negative feedback)

2 of 3

Consequences of the stress response

Cardivascular problems: If stress responses activated repeatedly heart and blood vessels suffer from abnormal wear + tear. Increased blood pressure (SNS activation) can lead to physical damage and increase likelihood of heart disease.

Immunosuppression: Too much cortisol suppresses the immune system, shutting down the process that fights infection. 

Individual differences: Males tend to have fight or flight while females have a tend and befriend response to stress. 

3 of 3


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Stress resources »