What is stress?
The perceived demands of a situation are greater than the person's perceived ability to cope.
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Which pathway deals with acute stress?
The sympathomedullary pathway. Immediate stressors arouse the autonomic nervous system (ANS).
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What is the purpose of the SNS?
The SNS arouses an animal to be ready for fight or flight, the parasympathetic branch returns the animal to a state of relaxation.
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What is a key part of the SNS system?
A key part of this response is the Sympathetic ardrenal medullary system (SAM)
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The SNS and the SAM system together make the....?
Sympathomedullary pathway.
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What is the process of the SNS system?
Neurons from the SNS travel to virtually every organ and gland within the body. Responses include an increase in heart rate, blood pressure and cardiac output. Noradrenaline, the neurotransmitter released by the SNS to activate these internal organs.
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What happens in the SAM pathway?
At the same time the SAM system alerts the animal through the release of adrenaline. where it is transported throughout the body to prepare the animal for fight or flight response.
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What is the purpose of the adrenal medulla?
The adrenal medulla is the center part of the adrenal gland. Neurons from the SNS travel to the medulla so that when it is activated it releases adrenaline into the blood stream. This boosts the supply of oxygen and glucose to the brain and muscles.
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Which pathway deals with chronic stressors?
The putuitary-adrenal system also known as the HPA pathway
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What is the HPA pathway?
Perception of stressor by higher brain centers, hypothalamus, release of corticotrophin-releasing factor(CRF), putitary gland activated, release of ACTH, activates the Adrenal Cortex, release of cortisol, cause of stress effects in the body.
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What is negative feedback?
The negative feedback is when the cortisol levels get to high the body uses a system of negative feedback to bring the levels of cortisol down.
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What are the consequences of the stress response?
The stressors of modern life rarely require such levels of physical activity, cardiovascular system begins to suffer from abnormal wear and tear, physical damage to the delicate lining of blood vessels, too much cortisol supresses the immune response
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What did Keicolt-Glaser et al research about acute stressors: Examination stress?
Carried out a natural experiment investigating whether the stress of short term stressors had an effect on immune system. Took blood samples from students one month before exam and during the exams. Functioning was assessed through NK cell activity.
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What did Kiecolt-Glaser et al find?
NK cell activity was significantly reduced in the second blood sample compared to the sample taken one month before. This suggests that short term predictable stressors reduce immune system fuctioning increasing chance of illness.
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What did Marucha et al find about acute stressors and immune system functioning?
They inflicted a punch hole biopsy in the mouth of students either during the summer holiday or three days before their exams. The wounds given three days before the exams took 40% longer to heal than the wounds during the holidays.
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What did Kiecolt-Glaser et al research about chronic stressors:Relationship stress?
Tested the impact of interpersonal conflict on wound healing. She found that blister wounds on the arms of married couples healed more slowly after they had disscussions which were conflicting rather than supportive.
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What did Malarkey et al research about chronic stressors?
They studied 90 newly wed couples over a 24 hour period. They were asked to discuss and resolve marital issues likely to produce conflict. These produced significant changes in adrenaline and noradrenaline which could lead to poorer immune system.
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What did Evans et al find about the enhancement of the immune system?
Looked at the activity of slgA and arranged for students to give talks to other students. These students showed an increase in slgA whereas levels decreased during exams. They suggest that short term stressors up regulate immune system.
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What did Segerstrom and Miller find in their meta analysis?
Short term accute stressors can boost the immune system prompting itself to be ready for infection, Long term chronic stressors led to supression of the immune system. The longer the stress, the more immune system went from adaptive to detrimental
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What is the evaluation for research into stress and the immune system?
Lazurus (1992) suggests there are various reasons why it is difficult to establish a relationship. Health is affected by many different factors, to effectively show how stress effects long term illness would involve continuous measurement.
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What cardiovascular diseases can stress cause?
Hypertension (high blood pressure), Coronary heart disease and a stroke.
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What is a suggestion that has been put forward for the relationship between stress and cardiovascular diseases?
Stress activates the SNS leading to a constriction of the blood vessels and a rise in blood pressure. Increase in heart rate wear away the lining of blood vessels.
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What did Williams do to find out about the relationship between cardiovascular disorders and anger?
13,000 people completed a questionnaire on anger scale. None of the participants suffered from heart disease at the outset of the study
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What did Williams find?
Six years later the health of participants was checked, 256 had experienced heart attacks. Those who had scored highest on the anger scale were two and a half times more likely to have a heart attack.
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What did Russek find about cardiovascular disease and work related stress?
Looked at levels of heart disease in medical professionals. One group of doctors = high stress (GP's) and other group = low stress (pathologists). Found heart disease was greatest among GP's 11.9% and lowest in dermatologists 3.2%
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What did Sheps et al do to find out about the effects of stress on existing conditions?
Focused their research on colunteers with ischemia. Gave 173 men and women a variety of psychological tests.
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What did Sheps et al find?
Their blood pressure soared dramatically and sections of the muscle on the left ventricle began to beat erratically. 44% of those who had shown the erratic heartbeat died within 3 to 4 years
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What did Brown and Harris find about stress and psychiatric disorders?
Found that women who suffered chronic stress conditions were more likely to develop depression. They reported that middle class women were more prone to depression than middle class women.
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What did Melchior et al find about stress and psychiatric disorders?
Carried out a survey over a year of 1000 people. 15% of those in high stress jobs suffered a first episode of clinical depression compared with 8% with low stress jobs.
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What is PTSD?
Post traumatic stress disorder has been observed in war veterans and **** victims as well as the victims of chronic stressors such as poverty and abuse.
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What is PITS?
Perpetration Induced Traumatic Stress is a form of PTSD caused by being an active participant in causing trauma.
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What did Rohlf and Bennett find about PITS?
Found that 1 in 10 workers whose occupations required euthanising animals, experienced moderate levels of PITS syndrome.
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What is the diathesis-stress model?
In order for a person to develop a psychiatric disorder, they must possess a biological vunerability to that disorder. The individuals vunerability is determined by genetic or early biological factors.
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What effect does stress have on the diathesis-stress model?
Stress can have an impact on that vunerability, either triggering the onset of the disorder or worsening its course. If the person is not capable of adapting to that stressful situation, psychiatric symptoms will develop or worsen.
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What did Holmes and Rahe do?
Played a key role in developing the idea that life changes are linked to stress. They observed that it was often the case that a range of major life events seemed to precede physical illness.
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What is the Social Readjustment Rating Scale?
SRRS based on 43 life events taken from their analysis of 5000 patient records.
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What were life change units?
Enlisted the help of 400 participants and were asked to rate each event in terms of how much readjustment would be required by the average person. These scores were totalled and averaged to produce life change units.
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What did Rahe et al find when he used the SRRS on people?
A military version of the SRRS was given to all the men aboard and they filled it in before the tour of duty. An illness score was calculated. Found a positive correlation between LCU score and illness score of +118
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What did Michael and Ben-Zur find about life changes and stress?
Studied 130 men and women who had recently been divorced or widowed. The widowed group found to have higher life satisfaction before death but after levels dropped, whilst in divorced this was the other way around.
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What evaluation is there of the SRRS? - Positive and negative effects
Research using the SRRS appears to suggest that any life changing event has the potential to damage health however some suggest it is the quality of the event that is critical.
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What evaluation is there of the SRRS? - Life changes and daily hassles
Lazurus suggests that as major life changes are relatively rare in most people lives it is the minor daily stressors that are the more significant source of stress.
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What evaluation is there of the SRRS? - DeLongis et al
Studied stress in 75 married couples. They gave the participants a life events questionnaire and hassles and uplifts scale. Found no relationship between life events and health but did between hassles and illness the next day.
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What evaluation is there for the SRRS? - Individual differences
SRRS ignores the fact that life changes will inevitably have different significance for different people. What some people think is major may not be for someone else.
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What are daily hassles?
They are the irritating frustrating and distressing demands that to some degree characterise everyday transactions with the environment.
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What is the Hassles and Uplifts Scale (HSUP)?
Measures respondents attitudes toward daily situations.
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What did Bouteyre et al do to find out about daily hassles and stress?
Investigated the relationship between daily hassles and the mental health of students during the initial transition period from school to university. Students completed the HSUP and a measure of depression.
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What did Bouteyre et al find?
Results showed that 41% of the students studied suffered from depressive symptoms. There was a positive correlation between scores on the hassles scale and the incidence of depressive symptoms.
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What did Gervais find about daily uplifts?
He asked nurses to keep a diary for a month recording daily hassles and uplifts. Found that daily hassles were found to increase job strain and decrease job performance. Found that uplifts counteracted the negative effects of their daily hassles.
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Evaluation of Daily hassles - What is the accumulation effect?
A number of studies have shown that daily hassles provide a more significant source of stress. The accumulation of daily stressors creates persistent irritations, frustrations and overloads which then result in more serious stress problems.
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Evaluation of Daily hassles - What is the amplification effect?
The alternative explanation that chronic stress due to major life changes may make people more vunerable to daily hassles.The presence of a major life change may deplete a person's resources so that they are less able to cope with daily stresses.
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Evaluation of Daily hassles - The problems of retrospective recall?
Participants normally asked to rate daily hassles over the previous month. Therefore they are looking back and may not remember something accurately.
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What is workplace stress?
Aspects of the working environment that we experience as stressful and which cause a stress reaction in our body.
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What is the job strain model?
The idea that the workplace creates stress and illness in 2 ways. 1. high workload and 2. low job control
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What did Marmont et al suggest to do with workplace stress?
They suggested that in civil service, higher grade employees would experience high workload whereas low grade civil service would experience low job control. Therefore both grades are likely to experience high levels of stress.
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What did Marmont et al do?
They gave a questionnaire to 7372 civil servants on workload, job control and amount of social support and to be checked for signs of cardiovascular disease. They were tested again 5 years later.
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What Marmont et al find?
They found no link between high workload and stress related illness and therefore concluded that job demand was not significant factor in stress.
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What did Johannson et al do to find out about workplace stress?
Looked at the effects of performing repetitive jobs that require continuous attention. They looked at sawyers in a Swedish sawmill who had massive responsibility in their jobs. They were compared to the cleaners at the factory.
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What did Johannson et al find?
The high risk group were found to have higher illness rates and also higher levels of adrenaline in the urine than the low risk group of cleaners The high risk group also had higher levels of stress hormones on work days than on rest days.
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What is role conflict?
Role conflict occurs when experience at work interfere with family life and vice versa. Conflict between work and home life is associated with higher levels of absenteeism, lower levels of performance and poorer physical and mental health.
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What did Pomaki et al find about role conflict?
Showed that role conflict was directly associated with emotional exhaustion, depressive symptoms and somatic complaints.
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What evaluation is there of workplace stress research? - Stress and coronary heart disease?
Russek studied the incidence of CHD in medical proffessionals. Heart disease was highest among GP's and lowest in dermatologists.
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What evaluation is there for workplace stress research? - Workplace stress and mental health?
Warr used the analogy of vitamins to explain how certain features of the workplace might contribute to the mental health of the worker. Low levels of vitamins lead to poor physical health so poor work related features would lead to poor mental health
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What evaluation is there for workplace stress research? - Problems with the study of workplace stress?
Lazurus claims that the study of stressful factors in the workplace misses the point that there are wide individual differences in the way people react to and cope with individual stressors.
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What evaluation is there for workplace stress research? - The evolution of work and work stressors?
The changing nature of the work environment, with the advent of new technology, virtual offices and the blurring home/work environments means that our current knowledge of workplace stressors rapidly becomes out of date.
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What is a Type A personality?
Type A personality describes a person who is involved in an incessant struggle to achieve more and more in less and less time.
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What did Freidman and Rosenman find about Type A personality?
They believed the Type A personalities possessed three major characteristics. Competitiveness and achievement striving, Impatience and time urgency, Hostility and aggressiveness
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What do these characteristics lead to for a Type A personality?
They are believed to cause raised blood pressure, and raised levels of stress hormones both of which are linked to ill health, particularly the development of coronary heart disease.
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What did Friedman and Rosenman research on Type A personality?
3000 men aged 39 to 59 were examined for signs of CHD and their personalities were assessed using a structured interview. After 8 and a half years twice as many Type A personalities had died of cardiovascular problems
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What is a Type B personality?
Type B was proposed as a personality relatively lacking the characteristics of a Type A, being patient, relaxed and easy going and therefore less vulnerable to stress related illness.
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What is the evaluation of Type A personalities?
Ragland and Brand carried out a follow up study as done on Type A personalities. They found that 214 had died of CHD but found more importance on risk factors such as smoking instead of Type A behaviours challenging what Friedman and Rosenman found
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What is the evaluation of Type A personalities - Myrtek?
Myrtek found an association between CHD and a component of Type A personality - hostility. Other than this there was no evidence of an association between Type A and CHD.
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What is the hardy personality?
The hardy personality includes a range of characteristics which if present provide defences against the negative effect of stress
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What are the characteristics of the hardy personality?
Control - hardy people see themselves as in control of their lives, Committment - hardy people are involved with the world around them, Challenge - hardy peopel see life challenges as problems to be overcome rather than as threats or stressors.
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What did Kobasa research on the hardy personality?
Studied 800 business executives using the SRRS. 150 were classed as high stress. Of those some had a low illness record whereas others had a high illness score. Kobasa suggested that some of the participants had a hardy personality.
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What did Maddi et al research on the hardy personality?
Studied employees of a US company that was reducing the size of its workforce. Two thirds of the employees suffered stress related health problems but the remaining third thrived. This third showed hardy attributes.
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What evaluation is there for the hardy personality?
Some critics argue that the characteristics of the hardy personality can be more simply explained bu the concept of negative affectivity. High N-A individuals are more likely to report distress.
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What evaluation is there for the hardy personality?
Most of the research support for a link between hardiness and health has relied on data obtained through self report questionnaires.
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What is problem focused coping?
Taking control of the stressful situation, evaluating the pros and cons of different options for dealing with the stressor, Suppressing competing activities.
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What effect does social support have on dealing with stress?
People with supportive social relationships may feel more in control of a situation because they are able to rely on these relationships. As a result they are able to engage in more problem solving coping behaviours.
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What is emotional focused coping?
Denial, focusing on and venting emotions, wishful thinking.
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What is the difference in effects between positive and negative emotional focused coping?
Positive emotion focused coping can be helpful, negative tends to be associated with maladaptive health outcome.
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What research has there been into these methods of coping? - Health outcomes
Penley et al found that problem focused coping was positively correlated with overall health outcomes, whilst emotion focused coping was associated with poor health outcomes.
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What research has there been into these methods of coping? - Examination stress
Folkman and Lazurus investigated the different coping responses used by students in the run up to exams. They found that both problem and emotion focused coping were used but problem focused coping was more evident before the exam.
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What research has there been into these methods of coping? - Threat and coping
Rukholm and Viverias examined the relationship between stress, threat and coping. They concluded that if a person is under threat they may need to deal with the resultant anxiety through emotion focused coping first, then problem coping.
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What evaluation is there of emotion and problem focused coping? - Problems of measurement
Stone et al have argued that many of the items in the ways of coping measure are more appropriate to some types of stressors than others. E.g relationship stressors but not health stressors
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What evaluation is there of emotion and problem focused coping?- Is emotion focused coping always maladaptive
There are reasons to doubt that emotion focused coping is ineffective . Lazurus suggests that emotion coping may be unhelpful when experiencing serious symptoms of ill health but can help in the recovery period.
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What is Stress Inoculation Therapy (SIT)?
Meichenbaum believed that although we cannot change the causes of stress we can change how we think about stressors in our lives. Positive attitudes and thinking will lead to positive outcomes which help reduce the feelings of stress.
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What does SIT entail?
An individual should develop a form of coping before the problem arises. He suggested that a person should innoculate themselves against the disease of stress in the same way that you would a health problem.
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What are the three stages of SIT?
Conceptualization phase -patient taught about stress and impact and how to cope. Skills acquisition phase - Coping skills are taught and practiced in the clinic. Application phase - Clients given opportunity to use their skills in different situation
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What are the strengths of SIT?
SIT helped patients deal with a second non treated phobia when compared with systematic desensitization, helped prepare for future stressors,
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What are the weaknesses of SIT?
SIT requires a lot of time and effort, motivation and money, its strengths are also its weaknesses as although it is effective takes a lot of time, only suits a limited range of individuals.
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What is hardiness training?
Hardiness training involves developing the hardy personality traits in an individual to make them more better at coping with stress. It aims to increase self confidence and sense of control so the individuals can be more successful with change.
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What does hardiness training entail?
Focusing - client taught how to recognise the physiological signs of stress. Reliving stress encounters - The client relives stress encounters and is helped to analyse these situations. Self improvement - The insights gained can be used to learn
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Evaluation - Does hardiness training work?
Hardiness training has been used effectively by Olympic swimmers to ensure they are committed to the challenge of increased performance levels, however has the problem that it must first address basic aspects of personality and learned habits
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What are Benzodiazepines?
They are the group of drugs most commonly used to treat anxiety and stress. They slow down the activity of the central nervous system.
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How do Benzodiazepines work?
BZ's enhance the action of GABA which is a neurotransmitter that has a quietening effect on other neurons. BZ's do this by binding to special sites on the GABA receptors. This allows more chloride ions to enter neuron - more resistant to excitation
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How are Benzodiazepines and Serotonin associated?
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that has an arousing effect in the brain. BZ's reduce any increased serotonin activity, which then reduces anxiety.
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How do Beta-blockers work?
Beta Blockers reduce the activity of adrenaline and noradrenaline which are part of the sympathomedullary response to stress. Beta Blockers bind to receptors on the cells of the heart and other parts of the body.
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What do Beta-Blockers achieve?
By blocking these receptors it is harder to stimulate cells in the heart so it beats slower and with less force and blood vessels do not contract so easily. This results in a fall in blood pressure and therefore less stress on the heart.
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What are the strengths of drug treatments?
Drugs can be very effective in combating the effects of stress, Placebo effect, They are very easy to use and requires little effort from the user.
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What are the weaknesses of drug treatments?
Addiction is a major factor of any drug therapy, Side effects of BZ's include increased aggressiveness and cognitive side effects, Drugs treat the symptoms and not the cause.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


Which pathway deals with acute stress?


The sympathomedullary pathway. Immediate stressors arouse the autonomic nervous system (ANS).

Card 3


What is the purpose of the SNS?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What is a key part of the SNS system?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


The SNS and the SAM system together make the....?


Preview of the front of card 5
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