Lecture 20: Stress And Health Flashcards Preview

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What is a stressor?

An event that places a demand on an organism


What is stress?

Stress refers to a challenge to a person's capability to adapt to inner and outer demands,


What are the effects of stressful experiences?

They typically produce physiological and emotional arousal

And elicit cognitive, behavioural efforts to help cope with the stress


What is the fight or flight response?

This is a physiological stress response defined by Walter Cannon (1932)

This is when an organism perceives a threat, the sympathetic nervous system and the endocrine system are activated to provide the ability to attack or flee
This enables the organism to respond quickly


What does the sympathetic adrenal medullary system do to?

It stimulates the adrenal medulla to secrete epinephrine and norepinephrine which increases BP, HR, sweating, and constriction of peripheral blood vessels.


What is the role of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenalcortical axis on stress?

It produces cortisol, which helps release glucose for energy.
It also has immunosuppresive effects
It also reduces inflammation in case of injury


What is the general adaptation syndrome?

This was defined by Hans Selye (1974)
This is a non specific stress response divided into 3 stages.

1) alarm
2) resistance
3) exhaustion


What happens in alarm?

Initial reaction to threat. The body reacts with the fight or flight response


What is the resistance stage?

The organism attempts to cope with threat.
Respiration and heart rate return to normal
Glucose levels, cortisol and adrenaline remain high


What is the exhaustion stage?

The organism fails to overcome threat
Physiological resources are depleted.
The body's defences break down, the organism has increased vulnerability to infection/disease.


What are the different types of stressors?

Acute, time limited stress e.g. In labs
Brief, natural stressors e.g. Exams
Event sequences e.g. Loss of spouse
Chronic stressors e.g. Caregiver, war
Distant stressors, e.g. Child abuse


What are the effects of acute time-limited stress?

Up regulation of natural immunity and suppression of specific immunity


What are the result of chronic stressors?

Both natural and specific immunity are negatively affected


What increases stress vulnerability?

Increasing age and existing disease,


What is the psychological perspective on stress?

The thing is, Psychological models ignore individual differences.

people differ in responses to events due to their appraisals of the event, personality and biological differences


Why is stress referred to as a transactional process?

Stress can be seen as a transaction between the individual and the environment

Primary appraisal: this is where the person decides if the situation is benign, stressful or irrelevant

Secondary appraisal: this is where the person evaluates options and decides how to respond.


What are the three types of stress?

Harm or loss,


What is the perceived stress scale?

Measures the degree to which situations in ones life are appraised as stressful

E.g. In the last month..
How often have you felt you were on top of things
How often have you found you could not cope with all the things you had to do?


What is the relationship between stress and illness?

Stress has direct effects on physiology e.g. Impacts on the immune function, heart rate

It also has indirect effects on behaviour elg, sleep, diet, alcohol, which in turn can affect health


What are the effects of stress on health?

Research has shown that stress can increase the likelihood of contracting infectious diseases
Slow wound healing
Contribute to the development of heart disease
Reduce our response to immunisation
Influence the progression of cancer and HIV


What is coping?

The way people deal with stressful situations


What are the two types of coping?

Problem focused: person attempts to change the situation. This is useful when something constructive can be done.

Emotional focused: person attempts to change thoughts or emotional consequences of the stressor. This is useful when the situation MUST be accepted


What is the importance of social support in stress?

Presence of others in whom one can confide and from whom one can expect help and concern as they can provide

Appraisal support
Tangible assistance
Information support
Emotional support


What are the benefits of social support?

Can reduce depression and anxiety during stress
Can affect health habits
Can lower the likelihood of illness
Cam reduce mortality due to serious illness


How does a high level of social support protect against the effects of stress?

Direct effects by keeping you from getting stressed
Buffering by helping you cope with stress


What are stress management interventions?

Often involve coping skills, training, assertiveness, anger management, relaxation, technique


What have stress management interventions been proven to do?

Reduce stress, reduce cortisol, produce immunological changes, improve wound healing