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: psychological factors influence the causes and treatment of physical illness and the maintenance of
Positive events produce less psychological distress and fewer physical symptoms and the happiness can
sometimes even counteract the effects of negative events
Chronic stressors: sources of stress that occur continuously or repeatedly.
Small stressors that may be easy to ignore if they happen only occasionally can accumulate to produce distress
Many chronic stressors are linked to particular environments
o like features of city life; noise, traffic
o crowding, pollution
o threat of violence
Environmental psychology: the scientific study of environmental effects on behavior and health.
Children going to school in the flight path had higher blood pressure and gave up more easily when working on
difficult problems and puzzles
Lack of perceived control underlies other stressors too.
stressful effects of crowding, for example, appear to stem from the feeling that you can’t control getting away
from the crowded conditions
Catecholamines: biochemical’s indicating the activation of emotional systems
Stress can produce changes in every system of the body and mind, stimulating both physical reactions and
Fight-or-flight response: An emotional and physiological reaction to an emergency that increases readiness for action
Threat occurs in the hypothalamus, stimulates pituary gland releases ACTH
goes through the bloodstream and stimulates adrenal gland
hormones are released which increase the sympathetic nervous system
Decreases the parasympathetic system.
Increase respiration and blood pressure make oxygen available to the muscles to either attack or escape
General adaptation syndrome (GAS): A three-stage physiological response that appears regardless of the stressor that is
GAS has 3 phases:
Alarm phase: Body responds to the threat, energy is required, stress resistance is low
Resistance phase: body adapts to high state of arousal and shuts down unessacary processes, body generates
resistance Stress resistance gets high
Exhaustion phase: Resistance collapses, stress resistance gradually decreases
Immune system: A complex response system that protects the body from bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances.
Lymphocytes: White blood cells that produce antibodies that fight infection.
Psychoneuroimmunology: is 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
people in lower-status jobs more often engage in unhealthy behavior such as smoking and drinking alcohol
bottom levels of society increases risk of infections by weakening the immune system
People who perceive themselves as low in social status are more prone to suffer from respiratory infections
heart and circulatory system are also sensitive to stress
Chronic stress creates changes in the body that increase later vulnerability to this condition.
main cause of coronary heart disease is
o atherosclerosis result of stress activated arousal of the sympathetic nervous system
blood pressure goes up and stays up, and this gradually damages the blood vessels more plaque
the greater the likelihood of coronary heart disease
Type A behavior pattern: The tendency toward easily aroused hostility, impatience, a sense of time urgency, and
competitive achievement strivings
Stress affects the cardiovascular system to some degree in everyone
o particularly harmful in those people who respond to stressful events with hostility Interpretation of a stimulus as stressful or not is called primary appraisal
secondary appraisal determining whether the stressor is something you can handle or not—that is, whether you
have control over the event
Threat: a stressor you believe you might not be able to overcome
Challenge: a stressor you feel fairly confident you can control
Psychological reactions to stress can lead to 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.
The hippocampus was found to be smaller in volume among individuals with PTSD
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.
Many succumb to symptoms of burnout: overwhelming exhaustion, a deep cynicism and detachment from the job,