June 2013 Psychology

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Stages of the sympathomedullary pathway and the pituitary-adrenal system

A = Adrenal medulla: F, H      B= Adrenal cortex: E, I

Explain how stress inoculation therapy (SIT) could be used to help Kerry

SIT: Three stages allowing Kerry to identify the sources of stress, think about them in a different way, give her strategies for dealing with future stress. First stage – conceptualisation: Kerry will think about the source of stress. Second stage – skills acquisition: the therapist will teach Kerry relaxation techniques and self-coping statements. Third stage – real-world application: Kerry will practise these skills in training sessions.

Explain two strengths of using questionnaires

Compared to interview they are easy to use. The researcher doesn’t need any special training to hand out the questionnaires.

People may be happier to disclose personal information on a questionnaire compared to a face-to-face situation.

Participants can answer the questions without the need for the researcher to be present so reducing experimenter bias 

If the questionnaire used closed questions which generate quantitative data, this is easier to analyse than open questions which generate qualitative data which is difficult to analyse 

Outline and evaluate research into life changes and/or daily hassles as sources of stress

Holmes and Rahe (1967) were interested in the idea that life changes are linked to stress and illness. They suggested that change is stressful and therefore this affects our health. They developed the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS), as a way to measure the relationship between life changes and physical illness. The SRRS is made up of 43 life events and each event is given a score (Life change units – LCUs).

Rahe et al. (1970) used the SRRS to test the hypothesis that the number of life events a person experienced would be positively correlated with illness. 2700 participants (males who worked for the US Navy) completed the SRRS. The questionnaire was completed before a tour of duty and they had to note all the life events they had experienced over the previous six months. This was to create a LCU score. An illness score was then calculated based on the number, type and severity of illnesses that the men developed whilst on tour. The SRRS and the illness score were analysed and it was discovered that there was a significant positive correlation between LCU score and illness score of +.118. Interestingly it was found that it does not matter whether an event is positive or negative; it is the amount of change an individual has to deal during a life event that creates stress. This supports the idea that there is a positive correlation between life changes and physical illness. This occurs because life changes causes stress and stress causes illness.

A strength of this research is the sample size, as 2700 individuals completed the SRRS it means the results are more likely to be representative and valid due to the large sample size. This means that the findings and conclusions can be applied to other individuals.

However, a


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