March 11, 2014
The Stress Response
Next Time: Freud (543-550)
What is it that causes stress?
Glucocorticoids hormone released when you are stressed
If prolonged can destroy your brains cells and can lead to hypertension and
Stress: is a pattern of physiological behaviour, emotional, and cognitive
response to real or imagined stimuli that are perceived as blocking a goal or
endangering our well-being.
• Can be anything
• Life changes highest is death of a spouse (100)
o If we go over 100 in one year, we are susceptible to having high
• Appraisal can I handle it?
• Perceived control
• Personality Type A and B people (A more likely to be stressed)
• Social Support Number of people we have to talk to
Steps for stress response:
1. Sense stressor ▯ sympathetic NS (Adrenal medulla gets stimulated and
epinephrine gets released) 2. Simultaneously a message is sent to the hypothalamus (stimulates the
anterior pituitary and adrenal cortex) releases glucocorticoids (cortisol)
a. Can do bad stuff to the body and don’t want it around all of the time
• Effects similar to epinephrine
• Converts protein to glucose
• Makes fat available for energy
• Increased blood flow (increase blood pressure)
***Almost every cell in the body has a receptor for glucocorticoids
Stress can suppress the immune system, making the person more vulnerable
Need the energy elsewhere
How? Stress results in the release of glucocorticoids suppress the action of
white blood cells
Support for this Idea:
Rats faced with inescapable shock showed a decrease in lymphocyte
Husbands show decreased immune response after wife’s death
People are more likely to get sick a few days after exposure to stressful event
Acute infectious disorders increase during final exams.
***Note: Reaction depends on appraisal
• Do you perceive that situation is a threat and that you cannot cope?
Are there consequences of prolonged stress?
• Disorder with primarily physical symptoms, but “caused” or maintained by
o E.g. hypertension
• Hypertension in air traf