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PSYA02H3 (961)
Chapter 16

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Steve Joordens

Chapter 16 – Stress and Health  STRESSORS – specific events or chronic pressures that place demands on a person or threaten the person’s well-being  STRESS – the physical and psychological response to internal or external stressors  HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY – the sub-field of psych concerned with ways psych factors influence the causes and treatment of physical illness and the maintenance of health  Holmes and Rahe – study on stress and illness o Asked people to rate the magnitude of readjustment required by each of many events found to be associated with the onset of illness o Some positive events require a large readjustment and preparedness that they invoke stress  CHRONIC STRESORS – sources of stress that occur continuously or repeatedly o Strained relationships, long lines at the supermarkets, over work – all accumulate to produce distress and illness o City environments – noise, crowding, pollution, threat of violence  Environmental psych – environmental affects on behaviour and health  Events are most stressful when there is nothing to do – no way to deal with the challenge o When you can remove your stressor, even just the knowledge of being able to do so, you perform better – less stressor is less effective  ------------------------  Stressors are events and threats that place specific demands on a person or threaten well-being.  Sources of stress include major life events (even the happy ones), catastrophic events, and chronic hassles-some of which can be traced to an environment.  Events are most stressful when we perceive that there is no way to control or deal with the challenge.  -------------------------  FIGHT OR FLIGHT RESPONSE – an emotion and physiological reaction to an emergency that increases readiness for action o Activation in the hypothalamus, stimulates the pituitary gland, which releases the hormone ATCH which stimulates the adrenal glands (HPA axis – hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal) to release cortisol which makes fuel available to the muscles  GENERAL ADAPTION SYNDROME – three stage physiological stress response that appears regardless or the stressor that is encountered – nonspecific o Alarm phase – body rapidly mobilized resources to respond to threat o Resistance phase – body adapts to its high state of arousal as it tries to cope with the stressor – shits down bodily functions that aren’t needed at the time o If GAS does on for long enough then Exhaustion Phase – body’s resistance collapses, resistance phase defences create damage as they operate  IMMUNE SYSTEM – complex response system that protects the body from bacteria, viruses and other foreign substances o LYMPHOCYTES – cells that produce antibodies that fight infection o Pyschoneuroimmunology is the study of how the immune system responds to psych variables  Stress causes a hormone to flood the brain, wearing down the immune system as an example  Social status and health? Shit is hard at the bottom so you are likely to have worse health with more stressors  TYPE A PATTERN BEHAVIOUR – tendency toward easily aroused hostility, impatience, sense of time urgency and competitive achievement strivings o Those who respond to stress with anger are more likely to develop premature heart disease and have a heart attack o Hostility in men predicts heart disease better than any other causal factor such as smoking high or caloric intake  Interpretation of a stimulus as stressful or not is called primary appraisal o Secondary appraisal is determining whether the stressor is something you can handle or not – whether you have control over the event  Body responds differently depending on whether the stressor is perceived as a threat, something you might not be able to overcome, or a challenge, a stressor you feel you can control. • Threats raise blood pressure  POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD) – a disorder characterized by chronic physiological arousal, recurrent unwanted thoughts or images of the trauma, and avoidance of things that call the traumatic event to mind o Not everyone develops PTSD in response to trauma – depends on the severity  BURNOUT – a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion created by long-term involvement in an emotionally demanding situation and accompanied by lowered performance and motivation o Problem in the helping professions o Overwhelming exhaustion, deep cynicism and detachment, sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment  If you define your life by your career and gauge self worth by success at work then when work is done you have nothing  ----------------  The body responds to stress with an initial fight-or-flight reaction, which activates the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and prepares the body to face the threat or run away from it. Chronic stress can overtax the body, causing susceptibility to infection, aging, tumors and organ damage, and death.  The psychological response to stress can, if prolonged, lead to anxiety disorders such as PTSD or to burnout.  ----------------------  REPRESSIVE COPING – characterized by avoiding situations or thoughts that are reminders of a stressor and maintaining an artificially positive viewpoint o Have a heart attack, then ignore thoughts about their heart problems in the time period following  RATIONAL COPING – facing the stressor and working to overcome it – lessens LT impact o Acceptance – the stressor exists and cannot be wished away o Exposure – attending to the stressor, thinking about it, even seeking it out o Understanding – working to find the meaning of the stressor in your life  Hard to do in some cases – rape  Prolonged exposure – record a verbal account of the event then listen to the event daily so you can relive it in your mind  REFRAMING – involves finding a new or creative way to thing about a stressor that reduces its threat o STRESS INOCULATION TRAINING (SIT) – a reframing technique that helps people to cope with stressful situations by developing positive ways
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