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emotion, stress, and health

general adaptation syndrome (GAS)

a set of physiological reactions that occur in three phases: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion

Hans Selye

physician/physiologist who described the body's response to stressors of all kinds as a general adaptation syndrome

HPA axis

system activated to energize the body to respond to stressors; hypothalamus sends chemical messengers to the pituitary, which in turn prompts the adrenal cortex to produce cortisol and other hormones

psychoneuroimmunology (PNI)

the study of the relationships among psychology, the nervous and endocrine systems, and the immune system

locus of control

a general expectation about whether the results of your actions are under your own control or beyond your control

internal locus

actions under your own control

external locus

actions beyond your control

primary control

an effort to modify reality by changing other people, the situation, or events; a "fighting back" philosophy

secondary control

an effort to accept reality by changing your own attitudes, goals, or emotions; a "learn to live with it" philosophy

alarm phase

"fight or flight"; adrenal (stress) hormones elevated, which increases blood flow, speeds up heart rate, slows digestion, and tenses muscles

resistance phase

the body attempts to cope with a stressor that cannot be avoided and return to normal; physiological responses continue, but make the body more vulnerable

exhaustion phase

persistent stress that depletes the body of energy, increasing vulnerability to physical problems and illness; unhealthy response to long-range stress


describes the specific reaction to stressors


any person, event, or situation that causes a physiological stress response


"good stress"

pathway 1

hypothalamus activates the sympathetic division of the ANS, which stimulates the adrenal medulla to produce epinephrine and norepinephrine

pathway 2

messages travel along the HPA axis to the adrenal cortex, which produces cortisol and other hormones; the result is increased energy and protection from tissue inflammation in case of injury


hormone produced by the adrenal cortex when the HPA axis is activated; increases energy and protects tissues from inflammation, but can have unwanted long-term consequences


protein complex located at the end of every chromosome that tells the cell how long it has to live; chronic stress is thought to shorten these complexes

cynical or antagonistic hostility

the toxic ingredient in the "Type A" personality that is thought to be associated with a significant increase in risk for heart disease

emotion-focused coping

one concentrates on the emotions the problem has caused, whether anger, anxiety, or grief, and is often overwhelmed by these feelings

problem-focused coping

one has identified the nature of the problem and is ready to concentrate on solving it

cognitive coping methods

reappraise the situation; learn from the experience; make social comparisons

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