PS271 Lecture Notes - Endangerment, Common Cold

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1 Feb 2013
Stress, appraisal and coping styles
Stress is referred to a distinct pattern to things we call stressors (real or imagined stimuli) that block a goal
or endanger one’s beings which produces a characteristic of responses, changes in automatic nerve
system, changes in perceived level of arousal, changes in attention and alertness, a whole host of
emotion; fear, anxiety, anger, etc.
Stress is distinct form the stressor, the stressor is the thing that makes you stressed
The stressor doesn’t not have to be real, it just has to be perceived to be real, anything perceived to be real
is real in its component
Distress refers to the emotional of psychological component of the stress response, its one part but its not
the whole of the stress response
This response system has a purpose, the goal of the stress response is to prepare the organism for
(immediate) action, to make the organism aware, and alert and responsive to its environment
Adrenaline, heart rate increases, immune system suppresses all to engage the stressor that they are going to
through stress, adaptive process
In the course of evolutionary history, most of the stressors are of the acute stressors, short lived, predators
of members of other bands, engage or withdraw= “fight or flight response”
Fight the thing that is stressing you or flea from it, a product of natural selection which equips the
organism that benefits it in the course of evolutionary history
Interesting component of stress, the goal of stress response is to orient the organism to confronting
something immediate in the environment and all available resources are shunted towards that end
Predator, or something threatening, the natural response is to shut down all other activities, and surviving
the next few minutes or hours
As a component of the stress response, all non-essential systems (in short term) are shut down, digestion
stops, interestingly fighting the common cold or immune function is suppressed, energy is redirected
because for the moment these things are not nearly as important
Its extraordinary how well the stress response system is coordinated towards solving problems in the
ancestral environment, the things that were stressing our ancestors out were of a short lived acute
nature, our stress response is coordinated with dealing with these short lived stressors, immediate
threats or potential harm
Stress system is only presented today to the extent that the present environment resembles the past
environment, the stress response evolved out of old pressures, and it will only work today as well as it
should if the present day looks like how the past did
Problem is that the kinds of things that stress us today are qualitatively distinct, long lived stressors,
All of those systems that are non essential for acute stress, are important for the kinds of stress dealt with
today, contemporary stressors, and we use immediate responses to the stressors in our environment that
affect our long term systems that may affect us negatively (immune system)
There is a sequence of stages that all people show in response of a stressor, that summarizes the kinds of
changes our bodies changes when confronting a stressor =general adaptation syndrome
These stages show the relationship between the human stress response and its implications of health
The first response is called the alarm stage, the classic fight vs. flight response, immediate response, a
resistance to the stressor decreases and normal functioning is impaired
Presuming our immediate response does not remove the stressor from the environment, we tend to
habituate, go back to normal, second stage, stage to resistance, and we adapt to this condition and we
accommodate that
We cant accommodate a stressor indefinitely, if the stressor remains in the environment, we eventually
exhaust our resources, the stage of exhaustion, where we begin to show a kind of health compromise,
our resistance starts to decline, and the presence of the stressor taps into our reserves, compromises in
functions, including immune system
At this point, the ancient system shows difficulty for chronic distresses, in a well known study, researchers
asked participants to record their daily activities and sematic complaints
People recorded desirable and undesirable events that happened, and symptoms of respiratory systems
The presumption was that if stress has relation to immune functioning than in the days functioning then
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