PSYA02H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 16: Antibody, Libido, Catecholamine

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Published on 15 Apr 2013
School
UTSC
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYA02H3
PSYA02 Chapter 16 Stress and Health
- Stressors: Specific events or chronic pressures that place demands on a person or threaten the
person’s well being
o Such stressors rarely result in sudden death, they do have both immediate and
cumulative effects that can influence health
- Stress: The physical and psychological response to internal or external stressors
- Health Psychology: The subfield of psychology concerned with ways psychological factors
influence the causes and treatment of physical illness and the maintenance of health
Sources of Stress: What Gets to You
- Stressors are personal events that affect the comfortable pattern of our lives and little
annoyances that bus us day after day
Stressful Events
- Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe: Proposed that major life changes cause stress and that
increased stress caused illness
- Compared with negative events, positive events produce less psychological distress and fewer
physical symptoms
- Positive events often require readjustment and preparedness that many people find extremely
stressful
Chronic Stressors
- Chronis Stressors: Sources of stress that occur continuously or repeatedly
o Ex. Strained relationships, long lines at the supermarket, nagging relatives, overwork,
money troubles small stressors can accumulate to produce distress and illness
o Usually linked to environment noise, traffic, crowding, pollution, threat of violence
(cities) ; isolation, lack of access to amenities such as health care (Rural areas)
- Chronic stressors are linked to environment has spawned the subfield Environmental
Psychology: The scientific study of environmental effects on behavior and health
Perceived Control over Stressful Events
- Stressors challenge you to do something to take some action to eliminate or overcome the
stressor; events are most stressful when there is nothing to do no way to deal with it
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- David Glass and Jerome Singer, in studies of perceived control, looked at aftereffects of loud
noise on people who could or could not control it
o Bursts of such noises hurt people’s performance on the tasks after the noise was over
- Lack of perceived control underlies other stressors too; crowding appear to stem from the
feeling that you can’t control getting away from the crowded conditions
Stress Reactions: All Shook Up
- March 28, 1979; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Three Mile Island nuclear plant reactor released
radioactivity into the air and into the Susquehanna River
o Study done a year and half after; group showed physical signs of stress: high levels of
catecholamines (biochemicals indicating the activation of emotional systems), fewer
white blood cells to fight infections
o Also suffered psychological effects, high levels of anxiety, depression, alienation
Physical Reactions
- Walter Cannon, coined a phrase to describe body’s response to any threatening stimulus “Fight-
or-flight response” (an emotional and physiological reaction to an emergency that increases
readiness for action)
- During this reaction…
o Brain activation in response to threat occurs in the hypothalamus, stimulating the
pituitary gland releasing hormone ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone). ACTH travels
through bloodstream and stimulates the adrenal glands atop the kidneys. The HPA axis
(hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal), the adrenal glands are stimulated to release
hormones (catecholamines), which increase sympathetic nervous system activation
(increase heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rate) and decrease
parasympathetic activation
o Increased respiration and blood pressure make more oxygen available for fight or flight;
adrenal glands also release cortisol, a hormone that increases the concentration of
glucose in the blood to make fuel available to the muscles
General Adaptation Syndrome
- Hans Selye, undertook a variety of experiments that looked at the physiological consequences
of severe threats to well-being (subjected rats to heat, cold, infection, trauma, hemorrhage and
etc.)
- Stressed out rats developed physiological responses: Enlarged adrenal cortex, shrinking of the
lymph glands, and ulceration of the stomach
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- General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS): Three-stage physiological stress response that appears
regardless of the stressor that is encountered; GAS is nonspecific, the response doesn’t vary, no
matter what the source of the repeated stress
o Alarm Phase: Body rapidly mobilizes its resources to respond to the threat. Energy is
required and the body calls on its stored fat and muscle
o Resistance Phase: Body adapts to its high state of arousal as it tries to cope with the
stressor. Continuing to draw on resources of fat and muscle, it shuts down unnecessary
processes: digestion, growth, sex drive stall; menstruation stops; production of
testosterone and sperm decreases
o Exhaustion Phase: The body’s resistance collapse. Resistance-phase defenses creates
gradual damage as they operate, leading to costs for the boy that can include
susceptibility to infection, tumor growth, aging, irreversible organ damage or death
Stress Effects on the Immune Response
- Immune System: A complex response system that protects the body from bacteria, viruses and
other foreign substances
o System includes white blood cells, lymphocytes (T cells and B cells): Cells that produce
antibodies that fight infection
- Psychoneuroimmunology: The study of how the immune system responds to psychological
variables, such as the presence of stressors
- Stressors can cause hormones known as glucocorticoids to flood the brain, wearing down the
immune system and making it less able to fight invaders
Stress and Cardiovascular Health
- Heart and circulatory system are also sensitive to stress; example: Several days after Iraq’s 1991
missile attack on Israel, heart attack rates went up markedly among citizens in Tel Aviv
- Main cause of coronary heart disease is atherosclerosis: a gradual narrowing of the arteries
that occurs as fatty deposits, or plaque, build up on the inner walls of the arteries
- Cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman developed concept; Type A Behavior
Pattern: A tendency toward easily aroused hostility, impatience, a sense of time urgency, and
competitive achievement
Psychological Reactions
Stress Interpretation
- Primary appraisal allows you to realize that a small dark spot on your shirt is a stressor (SPIDER!)
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Document Summary

Psya02 chapter 16 stress and health. Stressors: specific events or chronic pressures that place demands on a person or threaten the person"s well being: such stressors rarely result in sudden death, they do have both immediate and cumulative effects that can influence health. Stress: the physical and psychological response to internal or external stressors. Health psychology: the subfield of psychology concerned with ways psychological factors influence the causes and treatment of physical illness and the maintenance of health. Stressors are personal events that affect the comfortable pattern of our lives and little annoyances that bus us day after day. Thomas holmes and richard rahe: proposed that major life changes cause stress and that increased stress caused illness. Compared with negative events, positive events produce less psychological distress and fewer physical symptoms. Positive events often require readjustment and preparedness that many people find extremely stressful. Chronis stressors: sources of stress that occur continuously or repeatedly: ex.

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