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Chapter 16-1

PSYA02 - Chapter 16-1.docx

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Steve Joordens

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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 subfield of psychology concerned w/ 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 bug us day after day Stressful Events - Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe proposed that major life changes cause stress and that increased stress causes illness - research has shown that compared w/ negative events, positive events produce less psychological distress and fewer physical symptoms - however positive events often require readjustment and preparedness that many people find extremely stressful Chronic Stressors - CHRONIC STRESSORS => sources of stress that occur continuously or repeatedly - people who report having a lot of daily hassles also report more psychological symptoms and physical symptoms - eg: strained relationships, nagging relatives, money troubles, etc. - many chronic stressors are linked to particular environments - eg: noise, traffic, pollution, etc - the realization that chronic stressors are linked to environments 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 - expecting that you will have control over what happens to you is associated w/ effectiveness in dealing w/ stress - studies have found that a lack of perceived control underlies other stressors too - for eg: the stressful effects of crowding appear to stem from the feeling that you can’t control getting away from the crowded conditions Stress Reactions: All Shock Up - catecholamines -> biochemicals indicating the activation of emotional systems Physical Reactions - FLIGHT-OR-FIGHT RESPONSE => an emotional and physiological reaction to an emergency that increases readiness for action - this phrase was coined by Walter Cannon - Cannon recognized this common response across species and suspected that it might be the body’s first mobilization to any threat - research conducted has revealed what is happening in the brain and body during this reaction - brain activation in response to threat occurs in the hypothalamus, stimulating the nearby pituitary gland, which in turn releases a hormone known as ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) - ACTH travels through the bloodstream and stimulates the adrenal glands atop the kidneys - in this cascading response of the HPA axis ( HPA -> hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal), the adrenal glands are then stimulated to release hormones, including the catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinephrine), which increase sympathetic nervous system activation (increase heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate) and decrease parasympathetic activation - the increased respiration and blood pressure make more oxygen available to the muscles to energize attack to initiate escape General Adaption Syndrome - Hans Selye undertook experiments that looked at the physiological consequences of severe threats to well-being - in his experiment on rats, they developed physiological responses that included an enlarged adrenal cortex, shrinking of the lymph glands and ulceration of the stomach - he called this reaction GENERAL ADAPTION SYNDROME (GAS) => a three-stage physiological stress response that appears regardless of the stressor that is encountered - the GAS is non-specific; meaning the response doesn’t vary, no matter what the source of the repeated stress - GAS occurs in 3 phases: 1. Alarm phase -> in which the body rapidly mobilizes its resources to respond to the threat - energy is required - alarm phase is equivalent to Cannon’s fight-or-flight response 2. Resistance phase -> the body adapts to its high state of arousal as it tries to cope w/ the stressor - continuing to draw on resources of fat and muscle, it shuts down unnecessary processes: digestion, growth, and sex drive stall; menstruation stops; production of testosterone and sperm decreases 3. if the GAS goes on for long enough, the exhaustion phase sets in - body’s resistance collapses - many of the resistance-phase defenses create gradual damage as they operate, leading to costs for the body that can included susceptibility to infection, tumor growth, aging, death Stress Effects on the Immune Response - IMMUNE SYSTEM => a complex response system that protects the body from bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances - the system includes white blood cells such as LYMPHOCYTES (including 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 - main cause of coronary heart disease is atherosclerosis -> a gradual narrowing of the arteries that occurs at fatty deposits, or plaque build up on the inner walls of the arteries - narrowed arteries result in a reduced blood supply and when an artery is blocked by a blood clot or by detached plaque, it results in an heart attack - as a result of stress activated arousal of the sympathetic nervous system, blood pressure goes up and stays up, and this gradually damages the blood vessels - Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman developed the concept of the TYPE A BEHAVIOR PATTERN => a tendency toward easily aroused hostility, impatience, a sense of time urgency, and competitive achievement strivings Psychological Reactions Stress Interpretation - the interpretation of a stimulus as stressful or not is called primary appraisal - the next step in interpretation is secondary appraisal -> determining whether the stressor is something you can handle or not – whether you have control over the event - the body responds differently depending on whether the stressor is perceived as a threat -> a stressor you believe you might not be able to overcome or a challenge -> a stressor you feel fairly confident you can control Stress Disorders - 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 - soldiers returning from combat have PTSD symptoms - these symptoms include flashbacks of battle, exaggerated anxiety and startle reactions, and medical conditions Burnout - 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 - symptoms of burnout are overwhelming exhaustion, a deep cynicism and detachment from the job, and a sense of effectiveness and lack of accomplishment Stress Management: Dealing with It Mind Management Repressive Coping - REPRESSIVE COPING => characterized by avoiding situations or thoughts that are reminders of a stressor and maintaining an artificially positive viewpoint Rational Coping - RATIONAL COPING => involves facing the stressor and working to overcome it - this strategy is the opposite of repressive coping - it requires approaching rather than avoiding a stressor in order to lessen its longer-term negative impact - rational coping is a 3-step process: -> acceptance – coming to realize that the stressor exists and cannot be wished away -> exposure – attending to the stressor, thinking about it, and seeking it out -> understanding – working to find the meaning of the stressor in your life Reframing - REFRAMING => finding a new or creative way to think about a stressor that reduces its threat - STRESS INOCULATION TRAINING (SIT) => a reframing technique that helps people to cope w/ stressful situations by developing positive ways to think about the situation - reframing apparently can take place spontaneously if people are given the opportunity to spend time thinking and writing about stressful events Body Management Relaxation - RELAXATION THERAPY => a technique for reducing tension by consciously relaxing muscles of the body - a person in relaxation therapy may be asked to relax specific muscle groups one at a time or to imagine warmth flowing through the body or to think about a relaxing situation - RELAXING RESPONSE => a condition of reduced muscle tension, cortical activity, heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure - relaxing on a regular basis can reduce symptoms of stress Biofeedback - BIOFEEDBACK => the use of an external monitoring device to obtain information about a bodily function and possibly gain control over that function - biofeedback can help people control physiological functions they are not likely to become aware of in other ways - Joe Kamiya, a psychologist using the EEG, initiated a brain-wave biofeedback revolution when he found that people could change their brain waves from alert beta patterns to relaxed alpha patterns and back again when they were permitted to monitor their own EEG readings Aerobic Exercise - studies indicate that aerobic exercise -> exercise that increases heart rate and oxygen intake for a sustained period is associated w/ psychological well-being Situation Management - sit
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