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1. Model Answers Stress January 2010 2. 1) Outline the main features of the pituitary-adrenal system. (3) The pituitary-adrenal system involves activation of the…
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  • 1. Model Answers Stress January 2010
  • 2. 1) Outline the main features of the pituitary-adrenal system. (3) The pituitary-adrenal system involves activation of the hypothalamus which then stimulates the pituitary gland resulting in the release of the hormone ACT-H. This stress hormone stimulates the release of corticosteroids from the adrenal cortex. These help to control blood sugar levels and make fats available for energy.
  • 3. 2) Sandy and Vandita – grazed elbows – Vandita’s wound is healing quicker than Sally’s. Sally is getting married and moving house. Using your knowledge of psychology, explain why Sandy’s wound is taking longer to heal than Vandita’s (4). Sandy’s wound is taking longer to heal because she is experiencing life changes like her move and getting married. These may be forcing her to make readjustments to her life like shopping for dresses or saving money instead of spending it, which mean she can’t do the things she used to do. Also, moving house/planning a wedding is a long term stress which stimulates the pituitary adrenal system leading to the release of corticosteroids. These prevent white blood cells from producing anti-bodies and so lowers the immune system, explaining why her wound is slower to heal. Also, research by Riley has shown that stress lowers white blood cell count and so Sally may have fewer white blood cells, explaining why her wound is taking longer to heal.
  • 4. What does the graph show about the relationship between stress and the level of activity of white blood cells? (2) It shows a strong negative correlation between stress score and percentage of white blood cell activity. This means that the higher the stress score, the lower the level of white blood cell activity compared to normal.
  • 5. Outline one strength and one weakness of using a correlational analysis in stress research (2+2) One strength is that it is quite unethical to manipulate stress in a human and so if you didn’t use a correlational analysis then you couldn’t study the effect of stress. On weakness is that using a correlational analysis does not allow you to tell whether the stress caused the variable (eg illness/lower immune system).
  • 6. Describe personality factors that have been shown to influence the way people respond to stress. (5) Those with a Type A personality respond to stress differently to those with a Type B personality. They are impatient, competitive, hostile and time-pressured. Type Bs are more patient and relaxed. Type As respond to stress by trying to fit too many things into a short space of time and they also experience more physiological activity in response to a stressor than Type Bs. Therefore their sympatho-medullary system works harder and they release more adrenaline. Another factor is hardiness. Hardy people feel in control, are committed to what they do and see stress as a challenge rather than as a threat. They are better able to cope with stress than those who are less hardy.
  • 7. Mr. Harris is about to move his business into a new building. He is keen to create a healthy working environment and reduce workplace stress. In this way he hopes to reduce absenteeism and increase productivity. What advice would you give Mr. Harris? Use psychological research in your answer. (6) Marmot et al found that low job-control was linked to stress-related illness. Therefore, Mr. Harris should give workers more control (flexi-time, decide when to have breaks, involve them in decision making, choose holiday, decide which order they work in). Johansson et al found that work overload in a repetitive, monotonous job was linked to stress and illness. Therefore Mr. Harris should make work less monotonous and repetitive by using job rotation. He should also reduce the work load of each employee by giving more breaks/holidays and employing more staff so there’s less for each staff member to do.
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