Discuss the relationship between stress and illness. (12 marks)
Selye was one of the first people to find a link between stress and illness. According to his General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS), the body responds in the same way to all stressors. At Stage 1 there is the `fight or flight` response. At Stage 2 the body adapts to the stressor. With continued stress, the body enters Stage 3 where resources are depleted and there is a risk of stress-related illness.
One type of illness related to stress is heart disease. Whilst the body’s response to stress is normal and healthy, over a period of time the hormones released during stress can cause damage to the cardiovascular system because of high blood pressure, wear-and-tear and narrowing of blood vessels.
Support for this link comes from research by Rosengren et al. They studied the health of several thousand men over a number of years and found…