Chapter 15 Review 1
Stress: Give an example of how we sometimes define stress as a stimulus vs. a response.
Stimulus- defined in terms of the thing causing it- stressors
Response- defined as a reaction that may include cognitive, physical, or behavioural aspects
Also could be an interaction or transaction- between the person and situation- about the responses and stressors
Briefly define Microstressor, Major Negative Event, and Catastrophic Event. Examples?
Microstressors- daily hassles and annoyances ex. long line at Tim Horton’s
Major Negative Event- personal level- job loss, illness, loss of a loved one
Catastrophic Event- unexpected, effects many- natural disasters, war
In the Interaction Model of Stress, what is the assumed order of events in response to a stressor (i.e. physiological
response, behavioral response, cognitive appraisal)?
Do all stress responses go through these 4 steps in order? Explain.
Distortions and mistaken appraisals cause inappropriate stress responses.
What are the 4 aspects of the Cognitive Appraisal process? Which ones are referred to as the Primary and
1. Appraise the Demands a.k.a. Primary Appraisal- What is the situation? Benign or threatening?- How badly do
you want (job…good grade…etc)?
2. Appraise your available Resources a.k.a. Secondary Appraisal- Essentially, “can I deal with this, and how?” -
Look at your level of knowledge, verbal skills, social skills, social support system
3. Appraise the Consequences of not coping- How serious are the consequences? How likely would they be?-
Consequences are more serious, more likely more stress
4. Appraise the Personal Meaning- Essentially, if you fail, what does that say about you as a person?- If sense of
self-worth depends on success in this kind of situation feel worthless Chapter 15 Review 2
Name and briefly describe the 3 phases of General Adaptation Syndrome
1. Alarm Reaction: Rapid increase in physiological arousal- Sympathetic N.S. activation & stress hormones-
Sympathetic response: dilate pupils, increase heart rate/breathing, slow digestion..- Major stress hormone =
Cortisol - Hypothal. Pituitary Adrenal gland- Increases sugar, oxygen to muscles- Suppresses immune
system (esp. swelling)
2. Resistance: If stressor continues, body stays on “red alert”- Resistance can last a while, but it continues to deplete
3. Exhaustion: Stressor is so strong, or continues so long that body’s stores become dangerously low- In extreme
cases, may result in collapse, illness, or even death e.g. Get through exams, only to get sick- Selye argued that a
person’s weakest system will be the 1 to be affected e.g. weak cardiovascular syst.? Heart attack
What is the name of the most important stress hormone?
Briefly define Psychosomatic Illness
Psychosomatic illness: Illness (or condition) caused or aggravated by mental factors, such as stress or internal conflict
Sometimes, immediate effects:
▪ LA earthquake triple # heart attacks that day
▪ Death of spouse incr. mortality for next mo.
Or, increased risk of developing chronic health conditions later (e.g. 5 years later)
▪ Stomach or intestinal ulcers
▪ Arthritis, rheumatism, bronchitis, emphysema
▪ Psychological disorders (Depression, Anxiety)
How does the number of chronic stressors that one deals with regularly affect the likelihood of developing
More stressors in life increases risk of chronic condition- If you have 3 you’re 20-25% more likely
Give an example of a preexisting medical condition that can be exacerbated (worsened) by stress
Sickle-cell anemia- traumatic events worsen already existing medical conditions
What are 3 broad ways that stress might be linked to illness?
A. Stress impacts immune functioning
e.g. married couples asked to discuss areas of conflict; couples who became hostile showed decreased immune function
within 24 hours
e.g. decr. protection against influenza & pneumonia
B. Effects of chronically high Stress Hormones: Damage artery lining; decrease fat metabolism increases risk of
heart attack, Deterioration of hippocampus impairs memory
C. Stress can also decrease “healthy behaviors” Chapter 15 Review 3
e.g. under stress, diabetics are less likely to regulate their diet or take medication
More likely to quit exercising- Even when the primary goal of exercise was “to reduce stress”! Also increased likelihood
of smoking, drinking, using drugs, over-/undereating, sleep loss
How do chronically high levels of stress (esp. of Cortisol) affect the brain?
Can damage brain structure and connectivity
What are the symptoms of Rape Trauma Syndrome?
Nightmares, fear (esp. of being alone), decreased sexual enjoyment can last months or years- Changing locations,
moving doesn’t help
What are the 4 groups of symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
4 major groups of symptoms:
a) Severe anxiety, physiol. stress response, distress
b) Painful, uncontrollable re-living of the event
▪ Dreams, flashbacks, fantasies
c) Emotional numbing, avoiding stimuli associated with the trauma
d) Intense “survivor guilt” (if others died)
Some may also show more impulsive, and also self-destructive behaviors- mostly alcoholism
What is the difference between vulnerability and protective factors?
Protective Factors: Environmental or personal factors that help one cope more effectively with stressful events
e.g. social support network, coping skills, personality factors (e.g. optimism; “Type B”)
Vulnerability Factors: Increase susceptibility to stressful events
e.g. lack of social support, poor coping skills, tendencies to become anxious/pessimistic…
What does social support refer to? Is it a vulnerability or protective factor?
Knowledge that we can rely on others for help in a time of crisis- Major environmental protective factor
Is social support related to immune functioning? Explain.
Studies tracked 37,000 people in Finland, Sweden, USA for 12 years
Controlled for age, smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, exercise, diet, etc…
Found those with weak social ties (but same on all else) were 2x as likely to die during the study
Isolation especially bad for men’s health
In heterosexual marriages, and in terms of health (or death by preventable illness) who benefits more from this
social support? How much does each partner benefit?
Compared to married women, unmarried women are 50% more likely to die from heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver,
certain forms of cancer, and other preventable diseases
Compared to married men, unmarried men are 250% more likely to die from these causes! Chapter 15 Review 4
What are 3 ways that social support can act as a protective factor?
1) Greater sense of identity & meaning of their lives greater psychological well-being
2) Reduce exposure to other risk factors:
Social isolation, loneliness (obviously)
Also, increases feeling of control over stressor
3) Friends apply pressure to avoid maladaptive coping strategies
e.g. use of drugs, alcohol to “deal with” stress
Briefly describe the two hypotheses of how social support might affect the brain’s response to stress.
A. People with more social support may find fewer situations stressful
Few stressful situations Less stress over lifetime
Suggests differences in amygdala activation when faced with stress
Amygdala Hypothal. Pituitary Adrenal gl.
B. OR social support may help the person recover faster/better after (or during) an initial stress resp.
i.e. May find same situations stressful, but either have lower stress response OR faster recovery after
Suggests differences in prefrontal cortex (PFC)
Emotion regulation; shut down stress hormone system
Which of these hypotheses was ultimately supported (and which was refuted) by the Eisenberger study? Explain.
Supported hypothesis A- affected Amygdala but not PFC
Does hand-holding only reduce stress when it’s a loved one’s hand? Or might it be equally effective if we held
hands with a stranger? Explain.
Holding a spouse’s hand decreased subjective stress rating, and physiological stress response
Holding a strangers was partially effective- decrease in physiological response, and less brain activity in stress regions –
just less of an effect
Even though it’s difficult to define, what (generally) is Hardiness?
Characteristics that help one to cope with stress
What are the 3 C’s of hardiness? Briefly define each.
Control (most important one) - Believe that they have control ove