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Stress and Health

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York University
PSYC 1010
Gerry Goldberg

Stress, Coping and Health Biopsychosocial model: biological, psychological and sociohistorical factors. Physical illness can be attributed to a mix of these factors (pg 627) Holds that physical illness is caused by a complex interaction of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors. Increasing deaths from lifestyle diseases. Stress: 20-25% of Canadians report that most of their days are either quite or extremely stressful. Change in patterns of illness: Contagious vs. Chronic Diseases: Contagious diseases are infectious diseases that are caused by the invasion by a pathogen which subsequently grows and multiplies in the body. They spread from one person or organism to another by direct or indirect contact. Chronic diseases are diseases of long duration and generally slow progression. Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, are by far the leading cause of mortality in the world, representing 63% of all deaths. Chronic diseases cause more deaths than contagious diseases Health psychology: how psychosocial factors relate to the promotion and maintenance of health and with the causation, prevention and treatment of illness Stress is a reaction to environmental demands Any circumstances that threaten or are perceived to threaten one’s well being and that thereby tax one’s coping abilities (Weiten and McCann) Stressors are classified by complexity into Biological, Psychological, Interpersonal and Socio- cultural. Stressor: things that trigger a stress response Post 9/11, security was increased. Stressors are also classified by magnitude: Ambient stressors: Ambient stress is the stress that is directly around you. Noise, pollution and anything that is in your surrounding environment can cause stress. Everyday stressors. Daily Hassles: missing the bus Stressful life events: divorce, death in family Cataclysmic events such as earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. Classification of stressors by duration: Acute: short duration with clear end point (getting ready for your next midterm) Chronic: long duration with no end point (looking after a disabled person) Hans Selye: Similar response to different stressors. Similar appearance to problems such as cancer, heart disease and depression. Stress is the nonspecific response of the body to any demand placed on it. General Adaptation Response: the general way the body responds to any demand placed on it. Fight or Flight: increase in arousal. Gearing up to meet the challenges of everyday life or escape them. Release of adrenaline. More oxygen in your blood. Faster breathing and increased heart rate. Mobilization to action Male thing. Females have more of protect and flight response. Brain sends signals to the endocrine system in response to stress. Two pathways: 1: StressorHypothalamusAutonomic nervous system (sympathetic division)Adrenal MedulaSecretion of catecholamines (Increased cardiovascular response, Increased respiration, Increased perspiration, Increased blood flow to active muscles, Increased muscle strength, and Increased mental activity) 2: StressorPituitary glandAdrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH) Adrenal cortexSecretion of corticosteroids (Increased protein and fat mobilization, Increased access to energy storage and Decreased inflammation) Classification of Stressors (Weiten and McCan): Frustration: Any situation in which the pursuit of some goal is thwarted. Examples are failures and losses. Change: relationship with change and illness. Life changes are any noticeable alterations to one’s living circumstances that require readjustment. Changes can be stressful and can be both positive and negative. Pressure: expectations put on yourself or by social pressure. Involves expectations or demands that one behave in a certain way. Salespeople need to move merchandise and comedians need to make people laugh. Can lead to a decrease in performance. There also social clocks and social pressures. Conflict (Kurt Lewin): Occurs when two or more incompatible motivations or behavioural impulses compete expression. - Approach-approach: choice between two attractive goals. Racquetball vs. tennis - Avoidance-avoidance: choice between two unattractive goals. Living in pain or risking your life and getting surgery. - Approach-avoidance: A single goal that has both an attractive and unattractive aspect. Promotion vs. moving and date vs. rejection. Ulcers in Executive Monkeys: Monkeys put under restrictions. Able to move arms and legs but cannot get out of plexi glass container. Mild electric shocks on an irregular basis. The monkey with the lever was always under pressure and he would die from
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