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Flashcards in Stress, Anxiety & Health Deck (45)
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What 3 features characterise the character of stress?

1. subjective sensations

2. behaviour

3. health


What are examples of subjective sensations of stress?




Muscle tension


What are examples of behaviours that characterise stress?



problems concentrating


What are examples of health problems that characterise stress?

1. cardiovascular disease

2. cancer

3. susceptibility to colds

4. skin disease

5. depression


On the normal distribution curve that describes optimum stress, what are the axes?

What are the 3 regions?

y - performance

x - level of stress

The three regions are:

1. calm

2. eustress (optimum stress)

3. distress


What region of the stress is optimal?

Optimal performance occurs in eustress

This is where individuals are energised, focused and work feels effortless


What are the signs exhibited by someone in the distress region?

Fatigue, exhaustion, health problems, break down and burnout


What does Cary Cooper's graph suggest about the level of stress and health?

Stress of boredom is associated with increasing ill-health

Moderate levels of pressure lead to increasing health

Stress of excess pressure leads to increasing ill-health


How may stress be described as a response?

These are the responses that arise as a result of stress

1. fight or flight response

2. general adaptation syndrome (Selye)


How does Selye describe stress as a physiological response?

It is a general adaptation syndrome (biologically programmed)

If it is severe and sustained, this leads to disease


What is meant by a "disease of adaptation"?

A normal response to an abnormal situation

This is seen in psychosomatic disorders


How is Selye's general adaptation syndrome divided into 3 stages?

1. relatively short alarm reaction

(this is divided into shock and countershock)

2. stage of resistance

3. stage of exhaustion

(these are both countershock)


What is shown by Selye's adaptation syndrome when a second stress is added?

Humans are able to cope well with one stress due to biological mechanisms

However, they are vulnerable and cannot cope with multiple stresses at the same time


What is meant by psychoimmunology?

Increased stress levels leads to depression of immune system function and increased susceptibility to infection


What are the series of psychological reactions in response to stress?

1. cognitive impairment

e.g. concentration, disorganised thoughts

2. anger

e.g. frustration and aggression

3. depression

e.g. apathy, learned helplessness

4. anxiety

e.g. acute stress disorder


What is meant by an acute stress disorder?

How long does it last?

The anxiety symptoms associated with the stress gradually disappear

It tends to last a few days, up to a week


What does the anxiety related to stress lead to in a small proportion of people?

Post-traumatic stress disorder


What is post-traumatic stress disorder?

A natural emotional reaction to a deeply shocking and disturbing experience

(a normal reaction to an abnormal situation)


What are the 3 key features to look for when diagnosing PTSD?

1. repeated re-living of a traumatic event

2. persistent efforts at avoidance of memories and emotional blunting

3. persistent symptoms of hyperarousal


What is a very common feature of PTSD, but not a diagnostic feature?

Survivor guilt

(can lead to risk of suicide)


What was seen in Hull et al's study about survivors of Piper Alpha 10 years later?

1. 21% still had PTSD

2. PTSD was worse if they were injured in the accident or witnessed people die

3. there was an improvement in PTSD over time


Why does immediate psychological therapy not benefit a trauma survivor?

Therapy makes them relive their experiences

This is one of the worst things that can be done

People tend to recover from PTSD naturally


How may stress act as a stimulus?

This focuses on life events which cause stress

Rather than stress causing other problems (responses)


Who developed the social readjustment scale?

Holmes and Rahe


What was involved in developing the social readjustment scale?

It involved cataloguing as many life events as possible which caused stress

These lists are given to other people to order as to what they thought caused the most and least stress


What was the purpose of the social readjustment scale?

Using a scale of 0 - 100 to rank events in order of stressfulness

Using numerical values allowed health outcomes to be predicted


What does quantifying stressful events allow for?

It is used in studies to show a positive relationship between illness in the past year and life events


What is the drawback of the social readjustment scale?

It does not show more minor daily events


What is meant by the balance between hassles and uplifts when looking at daily events that cause stress?

Uplifts are positive events

Hassles are relatively minor daily experiences that are potentially threatening or harmful


What is important in dealing with stress on a daily basis?

The balance between hassles and uplifts