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PSYC 3460 (45)
Lecture 10

Lecture 10

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 3460
Professor
Stephen Kosempel
Semester
Winter

Description
Lecture #10 (03/16/2009) Personality and Health What is Stress? Stress is the subjective response, Stressor is the event that causes stress Subjective response to life events (so you can have same stressor and different responses to that stressor) Acute, episodic acute, traumatic, chronic stressors Acute stressors (one time, short duration stressors; don’t last long) this is what most people would call stress  Sudden onset of psychological or physical demands Episodic acute stressor would refer to a reoccurring form of acute stress (for example, when I come home neighbour has a dog, and it barks. It lasts for a short time but it happens repeatedly and it’s predictable and it’s not controllable. Deal with it for a short time, repeatedly. Traumatic stressor is another form of an acute stressor but it is a very severe acute stressor. But it differs from acute stressor, cuz of syndrome of responses that occurs from it. (Ex Post- traumatic stress disorder). Chronic stressors are also serious forms of stress, because they are constant. They may be aspects of our social life or aspects of our physical life. (guy injured his rotator cuff). Stress does not just originate from negative life experiences. When we talk about stress, it can also derive from subjectively positive events. Key is different perceivers will have different assessments of these events. For ex. University Graduations, good thing but it’s also stressful. Weddings  can be exciting and stressful. Children  lots of positive feelings and benefits, but it costs money and your responsible for them. Home buying is a stressful process Birthday is fun time, but older we get its more a sign of our mortality than anything else. Can stem from “negative” and “positive” events Perceivers will likely differ in their assessments Key here is that any event positive or negative can be stressful for right perceiver Stress is an additive problem Stress and Immune Function Direct experimental evidence that long-term stress reduces immune function in animals: Wound healing takes longer Susceptibility to flu is higher Correlational research on stress in humans: is lacking, not ethical to do these kind of studies on humans. People usually deal well with short-term stressors Ethically problematic to induce long-term stress Hans Selye (1907-1982) Derived the General Adaptation Syndrome General Adaptation Syndrome model of stress resistance. What happens here is, there is a capability within the body to handle stress. And it’s in our Sympathetic nervous system. Sympathetic nervous system arouses the body, motivating motor actions. Reducing non-essential processing things like digestion and excretion. Heart rate increases, breathing rate increases. Parasympathetic NS  responsible for calming things down. First stage of exposure to stressors, we see what is called an alarm response; the body prepares itself for action, at first body is not in a resistance state. Decision state of the body, is it appropriate to continue this response. Then we see a climbing to some plateau, if stressor continues to be present the body resists at an above average rate. But overtime, cuz body has limited resources, we eventually hit an exhaustion stage, heavy depletion of resources. It’s not that the immune function is not working, but its working over capacity. In Exhaustion state, the body is working as hard as it can but because of the resources at this point its over taxing the body. Its at this stage, the exhaustion stage that we start to see some somatic problems, (eg. breakdown of tissues and excesses of chemicals/waste products). People exposed to chronic stress, change their behavior in weird ways, eat differently, sleep in odd patterns. Conversational styles are different. And this is because the entire body is motivating itself to action. And when its exhausted the entire body is exhausted. And even if sometime during our exhaustion state the stressor leaves, we will still be in a below average resistance state for some time. So if another stressor than appears (2 replace one that left or add one to one that is already present), body will be even more poor-equipped than usual to deal with that stressor. So to the extent that stress is additive, a new stressor creates more stress, more stressors create more stress. Alarm: Fight-or-flight (sympathetic nervous system) Resistance: Resources used at above-average rate Exhaustion: Heavy depletion of resources Stress Among Students Look at students in high/low levels of stress and look at their immune responses. Glaser et al. (1993) took blood samples from healthy medical students who were seropositive for the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) at two times: One month before a block of examinations On the last day of the block of examinations For both samples, compared memory T-cell proliferative responses to EBV polypeptides EBV causes mononucleosis, and may play roles in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and certain cancers Virus is a long protein chain, protein chains made up of petides. T-cells are form of white blood cells, these T-Cells
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