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1. The body’s response to stress AO1 (Q1 specimen paper; Q1 additional) ã SAM – short term response ã Gets body ready for fight or flight ã Sympatho Adrenal…
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  • 1. The body’s response to stress AO1 (Q1 specimen paper; Q1 additional) • SAM – short term response • Gets body ready for fight or flight • Sympatho Adrenal Medullary system • Adrenaline and noradrenaline released • Body reactions – INCREASE IN ENERGY – INCREASE IN BLOOD FLOW – INCREASED HEART AND RESPIRATION RATE – REDUCED ACTIVITY IN DIGESTIVE SYSTEM – RELASE OF CLOTTING FACTORS INTO BLOODSTREAM – INCREASE IN BLOOD PRESSURE – NOT ONLY FOR STRESS, ALSO FOR EXCITEMENT
  • 3. Body response to stress – AO2 • Selye found that when rats were exposed to noxious agents they went through three stages of symptoms: alarm, resistance and exhaustion. • Since the symptoms were the same for each agent then the symptoms must be due to a general state which he called stress. This is known as the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS). • This suggests that the idea of a physiological response to stress has wider academic credibility. • Baxter (1981) found that people who did not have adrenal glands cannot produce enough cortisol and therefore needed to be given additional quantities if stressed in order to survive. This suggests that the idea of a physiological response to stress has wider academic credibility. • A final strength of HPA and SAM comes from further empirical support from Brady’s executive monkey research. He found that stress affected the production of digestive hormones causing stomach ulcers that eventually resulted in death. This suggests that there is wider academic credibility for the idea of stress being governed by the release of hormones.
  • 4. AO2 (continued...) • One weakness of the physiological approach to stress is that it ignores individual differences. • Mason (1975) found that hormone levels (adrenaline and noradrenaline) were different in individuals even though they had been exposed to the same stressors meaning that individuals may deal with stress in different ways. This suggests that the physiological response to stress cannot be generalised. • A second weakness of the physiological approach to stress is that it is reductionist. • A person’s response depends on a number of different factors. These include the type of stressor involved and the way the person interprets the threat. • This suggests that the physiological approach to stress may be an oversimplification.
  • 5. Problem-focused vs emotion focused David has unexpectedly been made redundant. David sits down and considers the options open to him and their likely outcomes. He decides on his priorities and acts directly to deal with the stressful situation. David has adopted a problem- focused approach to coping with stress. Jon has unexpectedly been made redundant. He feels angry and frustrated, and he vents those feelings. He then tries to keep up his hopes about the future, and he works hard to control his emotions. Jon has adopted an emotion-focused approach to coping with stress.
  • 6. Problem and emotion focused • Endler and Parker (1990) devised the Multi-dimensional Coping Inventory to describe three major coping strategies: – Task-oriented or problem-focused strategy: obtain information about the stressful situation – consider alternative courses of action and their likely outcome – decide on priorities – put plan into action. – Emotion-oriented or emotion-focused strategy: remain hopeful – try to control emotions – vent feelings of anger and frustration as safety valve, especially when it is difficult to see the way ahead. – Avoidance-oriented strategy: bury head in the sand – deny or minimise the seriousness of the situation – consciously suppress stressful thoughts – replace negative thinking by self-protective thoughts.
  • 7. Which kind of coping strategy is best at reducing stress? • Generally-speaking, problem-focused strategies work best when the individual has the resources and means to resolve the situation. • In contrast, emotion-focused strategy may be preferable, at least on a temporary basis, when the individual lacks the means to resolve the situation. • However, individuals with the Type A behaviour pattern, including an overriding need to achieve, often rush to the problem-focused approach even when it is not appropriate.
  • 8. Folkman (1986) • PROCEDURE: PPs indicated the coping strategies they had used to handle stressful events. They were also asked to rate the extent to which the outcome had been satisfactory. • RESULTS: planned problem solving was associated to satisfactory outcomes. Emotion-focused coping such as confrontative coping (eg expressing anger) and distancing (eg trying to forget the problem) were associated with unsatisfactory outcomes. • CONCLUSIONS: there is evidence favouring the use of problem-focused coping (main effect hypothesis).
  • 9. Collins et al (1983) Three Mile island • Studied people living close to Three Mile Island shortly after a major nuclear incident. • FINDINGS: those using problem-focused coping strategies were significantly more distressed than those using emotion-focused strategies • Goodness of fit hypothesis: problem-focused more effective if stressor is perceived as controllable, BUT emotion-focused is better when perceived as uncontrollable
  • 10. Stress related illness (Q2 specimen) • Hypertension • Coronary Heart Disease (Friedman & Rosenman) • Ulcers (Brady) • Type B diabetes • Viruses (Cohen)
  • 11. Stress and illness • Jemmot (1985) - students during examination periods had lower counts in antibodies concerned with fighting respiratory disease • Glaser (1987) found similar results • Brady (1958) – in stressed individuals, the high levels of adrenaline can lead to stomach ulcers, especially if stress is prolonged
  • 12. Environmental factors affecting stress (Q3 specimen; Q2 additional; Q4 additional; Q3 further) – Life changes (Holmes & Rahe, 1967) and SRRS (Social Readjustment Rating Scale) with evaluation + study – Daily hassles (DeLongis, 1982) hassles and uplifts + evaluation – Workplace stress studies • Johansson et al. (1978) work related stress in highly mechanised jobs • Warr (1996) major workplace stressors • Marmot et al (1997) low control at work and stress
  • 13. Work-related stress • Social isolation. In some work situations, workers are isolated from each other for long periods of time. This often happens on production lines where machines control the work operations. Workers have few opportunities to communicate socially with each other. Social isolation is related to various indicators of stress, for example, high levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline. Work should be organised so that workers have regular opportunities for social contact with each other. • Work overload. One way of identifying work overload is in terms of the number of hours worked per week. A number of studies suggest a link between long hours, stress and ill health. For example, a study of workers under the age of 45 in light industry found that those who worked more than 48 hours per week were twice as likely to develop coronary heart disease than those who worked 40 hours or less (Breslow & Buell, 1960). The amount of work done by workers should be regularly checked and adjusted to ensure mental and physical health. • Other stressors in the workplace may include: – 1. Working conditions (environmental stressors such as noise, temperature, overcrowding, risk & danger). – 2. Roles at work (e.g. role conflict, role ambiguity, levels of responsibility) – 3. Relationships at work (e.g. with immediate line manager) – 4. Career development (job security, redundancy, retirement) – 5. Organisational (e.g. the feeling of involvement & belonging) • It is important to remember that is the perception of work overload by a worker rather than simply the number of hours worked. In this sense, work overload is a perception • held by a worker that he is required to work too long/hard. Something only becomes a stressor when the individual perceives it as such. Therefore, every individual is making transactions with the environment around him throughout his life.
  • 14. Exam question • Psychological research has provided evidence to support the view that stress can be caused by life changes. It has also provided evidence of individual differences in response to sources of stress. Discuss the view that stress is environmentally determined (12 marks)
  • 15. Mark scheme • AO1 – Life changes – Daily hassles – Work-related • Physical: crowding, noise, temperature • Job-related – Role conflict – Lack of control – Workload
  • 16. Mark scheme • AO2 – Supporting research evidence – Usefulness and application of findings – Methodological issues in research – Contradictory evidence – Individual differences and personality factors – Alternative explanations to stress (personality types)
  • 17. Discuss the view that stress is environmentally determined (12 marks) • • Holmes & Rahe found that life Rahe (1970) found that there was a significant correlation of +0.118 between changes affected well being life changes and illness. PPs were 2500 • Eg death of spouse, new job, marriage male US navy personnel (anything involving change) – SRRS • implications: awareness of the need of • DeLongis states daily hassles, in the stress management techniques when long run, are more harmful (and experiencing life events. common) than life changes • correlation: it is not possible to establish • Stress at work can be due to physical causality or job-related issues • DeLongis got PPs to complete hassles, • Job related stress: mainly due to lack uplifts and life changes + health of control, opportunity to use skills, questionnaires for a year and found that money, role conflict, social isolation frequency and intensity of hassles were associated with illness and work overload • • Marmot et al (1997) found that there is a Physical issues may include crowding, negative correlation between job control the physical looks of the environment, and stress and illness noise and temperature • Also PERSONALITY FACTORS could be involved in stress response (eg type AB and hardiness)
  • 18. Personality factors affecting stress + evaluation (Q3 specimen; Q5 additional) • Type A and Type B (Frienman and Rosenman) • Hardiness (Kobasa)
  • 19. Q5 additional: Discuss psychological evidence that suggests personality can affect our experience of stress (6 marks) • Characteristics of Type A include an overriding need to achieve, a highly competitive nature and a tendency to show anger and hostility. • In contrast, Type B individuals tend to be more relaxed and are far less hostile and aggressive. • Research has shown that Type A individuals respond more actively to stressors; they are more easily “wound up”, tend to overreact, and are often at “boiling point”. This may cause excessive wear and tear of their bodies, especially the cardio-vascular system. • The Type A personality has been associated with hypertension, chronic high blood pressure. Chronic hypertension puts strains on both the heart and the arteries.
  • 20. Personality factors affecting stress (continued) • Friedman & Rosenman (1974) found evidence for the role of individual differences in men’s ways of dealing with stressful situations. • They concluded that men who displayed Type A behaviour were far more likely to develop CHD than other men. • Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the biggest single cause of death in modern industrialised societies. In Britain, almost 50% of all deaths result from CHD. Around half of these deaths may be related to stress, and stress may be related to individual personality types. • Friedman & Rosenman (1974) assessed the personality types of 3500 healthy middle-aged men as part of a 12 year longitudinal study. Participants were asked questions relating to impatience, competitiveness, motivation for success, frustration at goals being hindered, and their feelings towards being under pressure. • High scorers were described as ‘Type A’ personalities while low scorers were described as ‘Type B’ personalities. More than twice as many of the Type A personalities went on to develop cardiovascular disorders than did Type B personalities. • They concluded that men who displayed Type A behaviour were far more likely to develop CHD than other men. • Further research revealed that angina sufferers tended to be Type A personalities who were impatient with other people and susceptible to feeling pressure at work. Those with heart failure tended to comprise Type A personalities who rushed through life with hasty personal habits and over-loaded schedules.
  • 21. Personality factors affecting stress response • Hardiness (Kobasa) • Hardy individuals have the three Cs: – Commitment: more involved in what they do and have a direction in life. – Challenge: they view potentially stressful situations as a challenge and an opportunity rather than as a problem to treat. – Control: they have a stronger sense of personal control. They feel they can influence events in their lives. • Hardy individuals are healthier because of: – DIRECT EFFECTS: hardy individuals get less stressed; but also – BUFFERING EFFECT: hardy individuals cope better if level of stress increases: they are more resistant to the adverse effects of stress.
  • 22. Q3 additional: stress management evaluation - SIT • Stress Inoculation Training (SIT) was developed by Donald Meichenbaum and his colleagues. • This is a cognitive-behavioural approach to stress management that involves training the individual to recognise stress symptoms (cognitive recognition) and then learn certain skills (behavioural) to reduce the stress. • 3stages – Assessment – therapist discusses nature of the problem with the patient – Stress reduction techniques – patient learns many techniques to reduce stress such as relaxation and self-instruction(COGNITIVE STAGE) – Application and follow-through – patient imagines or role-plays stressful situations with therapist. After that, starts to using techniques in real life (BEHAVIOURAL STAGE) • Meichenbaum believes that people sometimes find things stressful because they think about them in self-defeating ways. He believes that SIT’s ‘power of positive thinking’ approach can successfully change people’s behaviour. • Some behaviourists suggest that focusing on internal thoughts is unscientific, but it has proved successful, especially in reducing exam nerves and the anxiety associated with severe pain.
  • 23. Stress management evaluation • Stress Management programmes have several strengths. Most importantly, they try to equip the individual with skills he can use in a variety of stressful situations; these are transferable skills. SIT in particular has proved effective in the long term as long as the individual keeps on practising the coping skills. • These programmes combine both cognitive and behavioural approaches that usually produce the most lasting changes. • In addition, unlike physical approaches to stress management, such as drugs, they are not invasive, they cannot cause dependency, and they do not have undesirable side-effects. • On the other hand, stress management programmes require time, money and commitment. • They seem to be relevant for the affluent few rather than the stressed-out many.
  • 24. Hardiness training • Suzanna Kobasa and other psychologists have developed hardiness training programmes. • These programmes encourage participants to learn three main strategies: – (1) to recognise and identify the reality and the symptoms of their stress; – (2) to consider how they coped with similar stressful events in the past, and to employ similar coping strategies; and – (3) to take on a fresh challenge in their lives and experience success again.
  • 25. The immune system • The immune system is a collection of billions of cells that travel through the bloodstream. • They move in and out of tissues and organs, defending the body against foreign bodies (antigens), such as bacteria, viruses and cancerous cells. • The main types of immune cells are white blood cells (leucocytes) including T cells, B cells, and natural killer cells. • Cells in the immune system have receptors for various chemical substances involved in the stress response. • When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections.
  • 26. The immune system (continued) • NATURAL IMMUNITY: natural killer cells, all- purpose cells that act rapidly attacking antigens (bacteria and viruses) • SPECIFIC IMMUNITY: T-helper cells and B cells involved, much more specific and take longer to work.
  • 27. Segerstorm and Miller (2004) • Meta-analysis to summarise effects of stress on immune system. • Results: – Short-lived stressors increase natural immunity but don’t alter specific immunity – Long-term stress like losing a spouse reduces natural immunity – Stressors such as disasters produce small increase in natural AND specific immunity. – Life events are associated with significant reduction in BOTH natural and specific immunity in individuals over 55.
  • 28. Cortisol and stress • Cortisol is an important hormone in the body, secreted by the adrenal glands and involved in the following functions and more: – Proper glucose metabolism – Regulation of blood pressure – Insulin release for blood sugar maintanence – Immune function – Inflammatory response • Normally, it’s present in the body at higher levels in the morning, and at its lowest at night.
  • 29. Cortisol and stress (continued) • Small increases of cortisol have some positive effects: – A quick burst of energy for survival reasons – Heightened memory functions – A burst of increased immunity – Lower sensitivity to pain – Helps maintain homeostasis in the body • While cortisol is an important and helpful part of the body’s response to stress, it’s important that the body’s relaxation response to be activated so the body’s functions can return to normal. Unfortunately, in our current high-stress culture, the body’s stress response is activated so often that functioning often doesn’t have a chance to return to normal, producing chronic stress.
  • 30. Cortisol and stress (continued) • Higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream (like those associated with chronic stress) have been shown to have negative effects, such as: – Impaired cognitive performance – Suppressed thyroid function – Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia – Decreased bone density – Decrease in muscle tissue – Higher blood pressure – Lowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body, as well as other health consequences – Increased abdominal fat, which is associated with a greater amount of health problems than fat deposited in other areas of the body. Some of the health problems associated with increased stomach fat are heart attacks, strokes, the development of , higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), which can lead to other health problems
  • 31. Discuss the use of drugs to manage the negative effects of stress (8 marks) • Benzodiazepines (eg Valium • Rapid action and generally and Librium) well tolerated • Increase GABA production, • If used for long, can have that decreases serotonin serious side effects like activity, therefore reducing cognitive impairment arousal (Stewart, 2005) • Beta
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