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Chapter 10

Chapter 10 notes


Department
Health Studies
Course Code
HLTC22H3
Professor
Anna Walsh
Chapter
10

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Chapter 10: Stress, Coping, & Health
Stress as a Physiological State:
Classic Theories:
Cannon (1915) = first physiologist to describe physiological effects of stress
oLooked at barking dogs and cats.. and noted that the perception of threat
activated the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and this readies the
organism for flight or fight
oThe sympathetic nerves originate in the spinal column (preganglionic nerves)
and radiate to the target organs (postganglionic nerves)
oSympathetic nerves weaken heart, bronchi in lungs, gut, and kidney
oSAM system: sympathetic adrenal medulla
oSympathetic activation increases heart and respiration rates, dilates pupils,
diverts blood flow, and increases blood sugar
Ppl start getting butterflies, blood pumping faster, hair stands up,
etc..
oOnce the threat is resolved, parasympathetic nervous system (PNS)
activation returns body to homeostasis by decreasing heart rate & respiratory
rates
voodoo death if this process is prolonged, cannon said that this process can lead
to shock and cardiac arrest
Cannon: fight/flight reaction is general response to any stressor
Selye expanded cannons conceptions: referred to his own work as the physiology of
dirt based on the fact taht when dirt is injected into rats, corticosteroid increases
Glucocorticoids fat-soluble molectules enables them to cross cell membranes ine
very organ system in the body, thus, with stress... the functioning of every organ
system in teh body can be affected
Seyle also described 3 stages in reaction to stress: alarm (flight/fight
stage)...adaptation(return to physiological homeostasis),....exhaustion(organism may
fall ill or die if stress continues)
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Modern Theories
Now recognized that there are individual differences in stress reactions
HPA activation suppresses immune/inflammatory response
Sapolsky proposed Selye was incorrect with saying that stressed organisms die b/c
their hormones become depleted
Yehuda: chronic stress found in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated
w/ lower levels of cortisol
Sapolsky: growth hormones in humans initially increases in response to stress
With longer-term stress, growth hormone is suppressed
Taylor: there is a third stress pathway, through oxytocin hormone that is important
in reproductive activities such as breast-feeding
Womens response to stress is mediated more by oxytocin and characterized by tend
and befriend response as opposed to male flight-or-fight mediated by SNS
Taylor... response should be as fight-flight-affiliate (3 dimensional reaction to stress)
Stress and Development of Chronic Illness
Causes temporary increases in CVD risk factors such as blood pressure and
cholesterol
Promote tumor proliferation through pathways
Stress suppresses natural killer (NK) cells in human
McEwen and Stellar relationship between genetic and environmental factors that
result in individual differences in vulnerability to stress
Taylor and Repetti define allostatic load as the physiological costs of chronic
exposure to fluctuating or heightened neural or neuroendocrine responses that
result from repeated chronic environmental challenges
Positive Physiological Changes
Landauer and Whiting found that adults tend to be taller in cultures in which
infants are subjected to stressors in the first 2 yrs of life (circumcision, sleeping
apart from parents, carification)
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Dienstbier stress can induce physiological toughness if followed by adequate
recovery period
oArgued that SAM activation is associatd with better performance on cognitive
& physical tasks...whereas HPA axis is less beneficial and may interfere with
performance
Holtzman low levels of exposure to stressor, can result in resistance to more lethal
levels
Moderate exposure to toxins can result in increased resilency to stress
Physiological Stress & Aging
Optimal stress response: sharp increase in cortisol and other stress-related
hormones & peptides
HPA responses in humans are greatly affected by chronic illnesses and medications
Using Cortisol releasing hormone (CRH) shows greater increases in cortisol in old
adults
Older men had greater responses to a public speaking task...women had greater
responses to driving simulation task
Stress as a characteristic of the Envrionment
Trauma, stressful life events, chronic role starin, daily stressors or hassles
Truama
Direct personal experience of event that involves serious threat to life of self or
significant other
Evokes feelings of extreme terror and helplessness
Can lead to anxiety, depression, suicidal ideas, nightmares, flashbacks
3 general categories: natural or technological disasters including earthquakes,
tornadoes, volcanoes...(occur w/ little or no warning)
Usually have a relatively short duration
Baum & Fleming; technological disasters have worst psychological effects than
natural disasters involve sense of betrayal by blaming of the perpetrators of these
disasters (large multinational companies)
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