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S TRESS AND HEALTH. S TRESSORS AND STRESS Stressors cause stress, could be a person, event, item etc. Stress involves physiological and psychological.

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Presentation on theme: "S TRESS AND HEALTH. S TRESSORS AND STRESS Stressors cause stress, could be a person, event, item etc. Stress involves physiological and psychological."— Presentation transcript:


2 S TRESSORS AND STRESS Stressors cause stress, could be a person, event, item etc. Stress involves physiological and psychological arousal Stress involves a perception that they cannot cope or that the challenge exceeds ability


4 The Autonomic Nervous System - connected to internal organs, not consciously controlled. Keeps us alive – automatically. Sympathetic branch controls arousal, fight or flight response / fires us up. Release of adrenaline, heart up, breathing up etc. Parasympathetic calms back down, keeps at stable level. Digestion resting etc.


6 F IGHT OR F LIGHT – H YPOTHALAMUS P ITUITARY A XIS - HPA When a stressor is identified the hypothalamus is activated The hypothalamus then activates the pituitary gland which releases ACTH (adrenocprticotropic) ACTH then travels through the blood steam to the adrenal glands above the kidneys, this triggers the release of adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol Cortisol and noradrenaline in high concentrations for prolonged time can effect immune function

7 G ENERAL ADAPTATION SYNDROME How do most organisms deal with stress? Research used rats subjected to electric shocks and pailful tail pulling, prolonged heat or cold, physical restraint or bacterial infection Proposed that all organisms follow a similar pattern when dealing with stress

8 G ENERAL ADAPTATION SYNDROME STAGE 1: Alarm Reaction First become aware of the stressor Organism goes into a temporary state of shock, and its ability to deal with the stressor falls to below its normal level Physiologically, the body reacts as if it were injured; for example, blood pressure and body temperature drop, and a temporary loss of muscle tone is experienced Then the body rebounds from this level with a reaction that Selye referred to as ‘countershock’. During countershock, the sympathetic nervous system is activated and the body’s resistance to the stressor increases.

9 G ENERAL ADAPTATION SYNDROME STAGE 2: Resistance If the source of the stress is not dealt with immediately, and the state of stress continues, the organism goes into a stage of resistance. During the stage of resistance, the body’s resistance to the particular stressor rises above normal.

10 G ENERAL ADAPTATION SYNDROME STAGE 3: Exhaustion If the stressor is not dealt with successfully during the resistance stage, and stress continues, the organism enters a stage of exhaustion. Signs of the alarm reaction may reappear, but the effects of the stressor can no longer be dealt with Resistance to disease is very weak, and it becomes vulnerable to physical and psychological illnesses.


12 G ENERAL ADAPTATION SYNDROME – I HAVE GAS ! STAGE 1: Alarm Reaction … Oh no I have to break wind! STAGE 2: Resistance … Holding it in! STAGE 3: Exhaustion … Can’t hold it in anymore!

13 E USTRESS AND DISTRESS Eustress – positive psychological response to a stressor Distress – negative psychological response to a stressor Some stress can be good for us Drive us to excel Raise our alertness, arousal, fire us up etc.

14 P SYCHOLOGICAL R ESPONSE Behavioural changes – shaky voice, hand tremors, muscle stiffness Emotional changes – anxious, tense, depressed angry etc Cognitive changes – perception distorted, difficulty concentrating, making decisions, forgetful etc.

15 L AZARUS AND FOLKMAN ’ S TRANSACTIONAL MODEL OF STRESS AND COPING Stress involves a transaction between the individual and the external environment Coping will depend on the appraisal of the situation by the individual and their ability to cope Stress is in the eye of the beholder

16 L AZARUS AND FOLKMAN ’ S TRANSACTIONAL MODEL OF STRESS AND COPING Primary appraisal Judge the significance of the situation Is it irrelevant, benign-positive, stressful? Harm/loss – imminent Threat – might happen Challenge – potential for growth Secondary appraisal Evaluate our coping options and resources Internal and external resources

17 L AZARUS AND FOLKMAN ’ S TRANSACTIONAL MODEL OF STRESS AND COPING Reappraisal Going back over an earlier stressor to determine if it warrants further attention Coping Changing cognitive and behavioural efforts to meet stressors An attempt to manage Problem focused coping Fix the source of the stress Emotion focused coping Strategies to deal with emotional responses to stress

18 S OCIAL F ACTORS Can influence the stress response Relationships, lack of social skills, lack of support, bullied, discrimination, etc. Social Readjustment – the amount of change in lifestyle after a specific event Large changes can cause stress Not all events are universally stressful It does depend on the persons perception and circumstances EG. Leaving an abusive marriage would be less stressful than remaining married

19 C ULTURAL F ACTORS Immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers Acculturation – adapting the values customs and language of a new culture Entering a new culture at a lower socioeconomic level, trouble preserving old values Refugees – post traumatic stress Racism - clear link to mental health problems in targets

20 E NVIRONMENTAL FACTORS Crowding linked to the stress response Crowding is a subjective experience Personal space is important - loved ones < 50cm - Good friends 50 – 150 cm - Strangers > 150 cm


22 C ALHOUN ’ S RESEARCH (1962) Mice in a large enclosure Plenty of space, water, food etc. Mice display normal social behaviour, mating etc. Population doubled every 55 days Mice in overcrowded enclosure showed maladaptive behaviours - Aggression and even canibalism - Hyperactivity or lethargy - Mothers attacked their young, stopped breeding

23 C ROWDING AND HUMAN STRESS No clear link Difficult to control extraneous variables ethically Self report though does clearly show a correlation between overcrowding and stress Does depend on the situation and the individual involved Being mentally prepared for crowding seems to help some people

24 A LLOSTASIS The bodies ability to maintain physiological stability changing to meet internal and external demands NOT homeostasis where balance is maintained by keeping internal functioning constant Emphasis that healthy functioning requires constant physiological fluctuation Achieved through the brain regulating the HPA, ANS and cardiovascular system HPA and sympathetic arousal most common response Turned on when needed turned off when the threat has passed

25 A LLOSTATIC LOAD Prolonged arousal can lead to wear and tear on the body Increased secretion of adrenal hormones can damage cardiovascular and immune systems Frequent stressors or perhaps one stressor that is not alleviated See example Pg. 614 – biopsychosocial model and allostatatic load

26 C OPING WITH STRESS Biofeedback – feedback on a bodily response, eg. Beep when heart beats Subjects can learn to control response using biofeedback and relaxation techniques Often doesn’t work outside of a lab setting Meditation Internal attempt to bring about deeply relaxed state Relaxation Any activity either physical of psychological that reduces tension

27 C OPING WITH STRESS Exercise Social interaction Uses up stress hormones secreted by HPA Release tension in muscles Release of endorphins – pleasure related neurotransmitters

28 S OCIAL SUPPORT Help or assistance from others…. Duh Appraisal support – improves understanding of the situation Tangible assistance – material support, financial, food, goods etc Information support – ideas on how to cope Emotional support – targets emotional reactions by the individual, cared for and valued

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