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Flashcards in Stress as a bodily response Deck (24):
1

What is stress?

A state of psychological and physical tension produced when there is a mismatch between the perceived demands of a situation (the stressor(s)) and the individual's perceived ability to cope. The consequent state of tension can be adaptive (eustress) or maladaptive (distress).

2

What is a stressor?

Any factor that can trigger the stress response. Stressors are examples of individual differences, as people respond differently to different stressors, such as exam revision. Stressors may be major life changes or daily hassles, and may be environmental or in the workplace.

3

What is a stress response?

Process that happens in the body at a consequence of a stressor. This helps us to survive, and the nervous system to function.

4

When does stress occur?

Stress occurs at the result of the interaction between an individual and his/her environment.
-Stress occurs when the perceived demands of a situation exceed the individual's perceived ability to handle those demands.

5

How is your nervous system divided?

-The Central Nervous System (CNS): the brain and the spinal cord
-The Peripheral Nervous System (PNS): all the other cells in the body.

6

What is the Central Nervous System (CNS)?

Part of the nervous system that consists of the brain and the spinal cord.

7

What is the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)?

Part of he nervous system that excludes the brain and spinal cord, but consists of all other nerve cells in the body. The PNS is divided into the somatic nervous system and the autonomic nervous system.

8

ANS: What are the functions of the autonomic nervous system?

The ANS has two general functions: to activate the internal organs and to save energy. The two functions are represented by two branches of the ANS.

9

ANS: What are the two branches of the ANS?

-The sympathetic branch
-The parasympathetic branch

10

ANS: What is the sympathetic branch of the ANS?

The sympathetic branch activates internal organs in situations needing energy and arousal, such as for 'fight or flight'. The sympathetic nervous branch produces increased heart rate, reduced activity within the stomach, pupil dilation or expansion and the relaxation of the bronchi of the lungs. Glucose is released.

11

ANS: What is the parasympathetic branch of the ANS?

The parasympathetic branch is involved when the body is trying to conserve and store resources. It monitors the relaxed stat, and promotes digestion and metabolism. The parasympathetic system produces opposite effects to the sympathetic system. Thus, it produces decreased heart rate, increased activity within the stomach, pupil contraction, and constriction of the bronchi of the lungs. Glucose is stored.

12

What are hormones?

Hormones can have dramatic effects on our behaviour and emotions, especially stress, which can be regarded in part as an emotional reaction to stressors. Most hormones are slow acting because they are carried around the body relatively slowly by the bloodstream. The effects of hormones last for some time but typically gradually diminish as the situation becomes less stressful.

13

What is the hypothalamus?

The evaluation of whether something is a stressor occurs in the cerebral cortex, when there's a stressor, the cortex sends a signal to the hypothalamus.
-This tiny part of the brain makes up for its size b having many functions, including controlling the physiological activities involved in stress.

14

What two processes does the hypothalamus trigger?

-The activation of the sympathomedually pathway, sympathetic adrenal medullary (SAM) system.
-Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis, pituitary-adrenal system.

15

SAM: What is the sympathetic adrenal medullary?

The source of the immediate stress response, also known as fight or flight, where the hypothalamus activates the ANS, which in turn activates the adrenal medulla producing the release of the stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline.

16

SAM: What is the process of the SAM pathway?

-A stimulus is perceived and interpreted as a stressor by the brain.
-The hypothalamus is activated which in turn activates the sympathetic branch of the ANS.
-This stimulates the adrenal medulla (inner core of the adrenal gland) causing it to enlarge and release the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline.
-These hormones function to increase blood pressure, heart rate and sweat gland activity, part of the fight or flight response.

17

HPA: What is the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis?

A major system involved in the stress response, where the hypothalamus activates the pituitary gland which in turn activates the adrenal cortex to release corticosteroid stress hormones.

18

HPA: What is the process of the HPA axis?

-A stimulus is perceived and interpreted as a stressor by the brain.
-The hypothalamus is activated which in turn activates the pituitary gland, known as the 'master gland', to release the stress hormone ACTH.
-This stimulates the adrenal cortex (outer layer of the adrenal gland) causing it to enlarge and release corticosteroid hormones into the bloodstream.
-These hormone function to suppress the immune system and increase the body's energy levels.

19

GAS: Who studied the General Adaptation Syndrome?

Hans Selye (1930)

20

GAS: What is the GAS model?

The reaction to stressors through a three stage physiological response, consisting of;
-The alarm stage
-The resistance stage
-The exhaustion stage

21

GAS: What is the alarm stage?

In this stage, various physical responses designed to deal with the stressor are activated such s the pituitary-adrenal system and the sympathomedullary pathways. We can feel and see our bodies changing, e.g. heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate and energy levels all increase. Our bodies are not ready to deal with the threat; we are tense, alert and ready to fight or flee.

22

GAS: What is the resistance stage?

If the stressor persists then the body must adapt and maintain a more stable and long-term level of arousal. Whilst sympathomedullary pathway activity decreases, reducing the initial sense of 'shock' caused by the stressor, output from the pituitary-adrenal system is maintained or even increased. Since we have a limited resource of hormones, there is less available for each new stressor that appears eventually causing the body's resistance to be lowered.

23

GAS: What is the exhaustion stage?

The strategies that we have for resisting stress will see us through most stressful experiences. If stress persists then the exhaustion stage is reached. The body now has fewer resources to expend on stress and the body's response system begins to break down. This stage is characterised by symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, depression, illness, impaired physical and mental abilities, etc. If ways to manage stress are not found, then in extreme cases, death may occur, but more usually stress-related illnesses occur.

24

Who studied the impact of stress on the immune system?

-Kiecolt-Glaser et al (1984)
-Cohen, Tyrrell and Smith (1993)