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Chapter 16

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Joordens, Steve

Chapter 16 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 health  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 and illness  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 psychological reactions. 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 encountered  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,
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