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STRESS AND HEALTH
Terms in this set (101)
Biopsychosocial framework (never been asked the actual definition, but must need to know how to apply it)
-A biopsychosocial framework is an approach to describing and explaining how biological, psychological and social factors combine to influence an individual's (physical and) mental health. These factors are understood to interact in terms of contributing to the conditions and in their management
-Reflects a holistic view of health. The individual is considered as a whole person in their unique environment --views each of 3 domains as equally important
Biological factors + eg
-physiologically based that are not under our control (genes, neurochemistry).
-Genes, m/f, brain chemistry, brain function, NS activity, hormones, immune system
-influences associated with mental processes eg..
-thinking and reasoning skills
-learning and memory
- emotional state
- coping skills
-skills interacting with others
-social isolation and support
-stressors and trauma
-cultural values and expectations
Is any person, situation or events that produce stress.
4 categories of stressors
-an internal stressor
-an external stressor
Stressor: physical stimulus
Extreme temperatures, loud, noises, intense light
An argument with a fiend, failing an exam, losing a job
Stressor: an internal stressor
Originates within the individual (a personal problem that causes concern about potential consequences)
Stressor: an external stressor
Originates outside the individual and from situations and events in the environment (too much homework, a victim of bullying)
Is a state of psychological and physiological arousal produced by internal or external stressors that are perceived by the individual as challenging or exceeding their ability or resources to cope
Physiological changes associated with stress and affect the stress response
Role of the individual in determining their experience of the stress response, individual differences in the stress response
Cultural and environmental differences
involves the physiological (body) and psychological (mental) changes that people experience when they are confronted by a stressor.
Categories: Responses to stress (3)
Stimulating, exhilarating motivating and challenging
-desirable (enhance performance on simple and complex tasks)
-sudden in onset
-demand immediate attention
-produces a high arousal level
-persists over a long period of time -high arousal level
-variety of psych/physio responses that can be short or long term
Stressor ----> stress ----> stress reaction
Flight or fight response
Is an involuntary reaction resulting in a state of physiological readiness to deal with a sudden and immediate threat by either confront it (fight or running away to safety (Flight)
Factors which contribute to whether a person chooses flight or fight
-Genetic make up
Fight or flight response triggered by...
Triggered by both physical threats and psychological threats
Glands involved in fight of flight
What happens during the fight-flight response?
1. When a threat is perceived, the hypothalamus is activated
2. this stimulates the nearby pituitary gland, which in turn secretes the hormone called ACTH (adrenocorticotropic)
3. ACTH travels through the bloodstream and simulates the adrenal glands, which are located just above the kidneys. -this chain of reactions in the physiological response to stress involving the, hypothalamus, the pituitary glands ad the adrenal glands is known as the HPA axis
4. when adrenal glands are stimulated, they secrete 'stress hormones' which include adrenaline (epinephrine) and noeadrenaline (norepinephrine). They boost the activity of the sympathetic NS (increase HR, BP and respiration rate)
5. adrenal glands also release cortisol, a hormone that increase metabolism and the concentration of glucose in the blood to make fuel available to muscles.
After threat is removed, how long does it take for the bodily arousal to subside
What if fight or flight response system is constantly activated
Physiological war and tear on body will occur, eg weakened immune system, dizzinessaches, muscle tensions, heart palpitations, skin rashes
Eustress is a positive psychological response to a stressor, as indicated by the presence of positive psychological states such as feeling enthusiastic, excited, active and alert.
Distress is a negative psychological response to a stressor, as indicated by the presence of negative psychological states such as anger, nervousness, irritability or tension.
Physiological responses to stressors: voluntary or involuntary
Involuntary in that they occur automatically and we have no control over them
Psychological responses to stressors: voluntary or involuntary
Voluntary in that we can control them to an extent, depending on the individual
Psychological responses to stress divided into 3 categories
Psychological responses to stress: Behavioural changes
A significant change in an individual's behaviour is sometimes evidence of a stress response (i.e. significant increase or decrease in sleeping). Individual may become more aggressive or withdrawn
Psychological responses to stress: emotional changes
influence the way a person feels. Eg. Anxious, tense, depressed. People can feel hopeless/helpless. Feelings are accompanied by a negative attitude towards themselves or life in general
Psychological responses to stress: cognitive changes
influence a person's mental abilities, such as their perceptions of their circumstances and environment, their ability to learn and how they think.
Perceptions are distorted or exaggerated, difficulties concentrating, making decisions, thinking clearly
Psychological responses to stress: catastrophising + eg(cognitive changes)
when individuals dwell on or overemphasise the potential consequences of negative events
eg. 'if I fail this exam, my whole life is over'.
Transactional model of stress and coping
Proposes that stress involves an encounter (transaction) between an individual and their environment and that a stress response depends on the individuals interpretation or appraisal of the stressor and their ability to cope with it.
Transactional model: Stress results from
An imbalance between demands and resources (demands exceeds resources)
Transactional model: appraisal
Appraisal is always subjective and therefore a highly personal process
Transactional model: Two types of appraisal
Is where we valuate or judge the significance of the situation (eg. Is this important? Does it matter to me?)
-outcome of this appraisal will be a decision about whether the situation is irrelevant, benign (harmless), positive or stressful
Primary appraisal: when we decide tHat the situation is stressful
1. Harm/loss: how much damage has already occurred (eg I have lost my job)
2. threat: assessment of harm or loss that has not yet occurred (eg. I might not be able to pay my rent)
3. challenge: assessment of the potential or personal growth/gain from situation (eg. Ill get another job)
Is where we evaluate our ability to cope, coping options, resources for dealing with the stressor
-coping options can be internal (strength and determination) or external (money, support)
Secondary appraisal: reappraisal
In reappraisal we determine the extent to which additional resources are needed to cope with the situation
Secondary appraisal: reappraisal involves dual process
1. Reapprasing the situation while taking into account the coping resources that are available
2. reappraising the coping resources while taking into account of the reappraised threat
Is the process of constantly changing behavioural and cognitive efforts to manage specific internal or external stressors that are appraised as taxing or exceeding the resources of the person
2 types of coping
Problem-focused coping + eg
Involves efforts to manage or change the cause or source of the problem: that is, the stressor.
Eg could inlude reappraising it by examining new perspectives, obtaining more info by talking to someone who can help etc
Emotion-focused coping + eg
Involves strategies that are directed toward decreasing the emotional component of a stress response:
eg. Denial (I am not stressed), minimising ('its not that bad'), acceptance etc
When do we use problem/emotion focused coping
-problem focused when we believe we have some control over situation and think that we can change the circumstances
-emotion-focused coping tend to be used when we believe that we have little or of control over a situation and thus can't do anything to change the circumstances
-can be used together
Transactional model of coping: strengths (5)
-emphasises psych components of stress which are personal and individual
-view stress an interaction between person and environment, emphasising the individual's active role in interpreting stress
-allows for a variability in the stress response and explain why people react differently to the same stressor
-stressros and circumstances can change over time (reappraisal process)
-different methods for managing stress has enhanced understanding of stress-management strategies
Transactional model of coping: limitations (4)
-difficult to test through experimental research (subjective nature)
-primary and secondary appraisals can interact with each other and are often simultaneous (difficult to isolate for stud as separate variables)
-some psychologists doubt we need to appraise something to view it as stressful in order to feel a stress response
-individuals my not always be conscious of, or able to label cognitively, all that factors that cause them to feel stress.
That can influence a stress response include our relationships and social interactions with others. Involves virtually anything with some kind of interaction (or lack of) with one or more people
Social factors that can exacerbate or alleviate stress
-relationships (good or bad relationship)
-social skills (forming and maintaining relationships with others)
-social support (possible lack of social support )
Refers to the amount of change or readjustment in the lifestyle of the person following a specific event in their life
Social readjustment scale strengths
Provides rough estimates of the amount of stress a person is experiencing and relationship between the onset of disease and mental disorder
Social readjustment scale limitations
Does not take into account the meanings of different events for different individuals sand the fact that the stress producing potential of an event might vary widely between individuals
Refers to the stress people experience in trying to adopt the values, customs and language preferences of the new dominant culture
Cultural factors: challenges
-racial or ethnic prejudice
-separation from family
-conflicts over preserving old values or adapting to the customs of their new culture
Cultural factors: racism related stress
Being the target of racism is associated with chronic stress-related responses such as anxiety disorders, depression, heart disease
That can influence stress response include crowding, loud noise, air pollution, extremes of temperature and catastrophes such as natural or technical disasters
Environmental factors: crowding
Is used to refer to the feeling of being ramped; or having less space than preferred.
-a subjective experience
-can arise in situations in which a lot of people are crammed into a small space or where few people have a great deal of space (ie someone sitting next to you on an empty train)
Refers to the immediate and small area (up to about 50 cm) with an invisible boundary that surrounds each person. Peple do not like others to cross that boundary.
Environmental factors: mice experiment
John Calhoun exposed mice to undercrowded and then severely overcrowded conditions in a specially constructed enclosure.When all of the available space is taken up the stress response of mice had resulted in a complete breakdown of normal social behaviour e.g. the mice became cannibalistic, aggressive, and/or withdrawn. It was, however, only ever inferred (assumed) the mice were stressed because of the crowded conditions. When dissected, many mice showed physiological changes characteristic of stress.
Environmental factors: human experiment
Many studies (while not conclusive) using self-report methods indicate that the experience of crowding can be stressful. -E.g. Psychological responses have been noted including anxiety, fear, anger.- Physiological symptoms have included higher blood pressure, increased heart rate, nausea. -The effects of crowding seem to depend on the individual and the situation e.g. the length of time spent in a high-density situation (short-term or long-term), the individual's personality, perception of the situation as constricting and our sense of personal control (ability to change the situation if desired).
Environmental factors: mental preparedness
Has been found to help on the stress anticipated by crowding
Difference between fight or flight model and transactional model
The fight and flight model looks at the physiological responses to stress and overlook the cognitive processes, whereas the transactional model focuses on psychological determinants and overlooks the physiological responses. logical determinants and overlooks the physiological responses.
Strategies for coping with stress (5)
Is a technique that enables an individual to receive information (feedback) about the state of a bodily process (bio) and with appropriate training, learn to control a related physiological response using thought processes (under psychological factors of the biopsychosocial model).
Why is biofeedback useful
Helps people learn how to recognise and ontrol specific physiological responses to stressors
Biofeedback : how it works
-can involve electrical or mechanical sensors which give information regarding muscle tension, heart rate etc. These individuals are taught a series of physical and mental exercises designed to help them learn to gain control over the physiological response measured.
-although it can be successful in a clinical/lab setting, its effects don't always last after the person leaves the setting (ie. May no longer have access to expensive feedback technology).
-Thus can use simpler methods
Is an intentional attempt to bring about a deeply relaxed state in order to reduce one or more effects of stress-related symptoms
Is any activity that brings about a state of reduced psychological and physiological tension (resting, walking, watching TV, OR meditation.. Which comes under relaxation. Relaxation can but does not necessarily require the use of a meditative technique)
A deep state of relaxation
Is equivalent to a relaxed meditative state, is essentially the opposite of a typical stress response. Not biological or chemical based
Meditation and relaxation involves
Focusing on an internal stimulus with one's eyes closed to block distractions from the external environment (progressive muscle relaxation = tensing muscle groups and ultimately relaxing the whole body)
Is physical activity that is usually planned and performed to improve or maintain one's physical condition
Two types of exercise
Requires a sustained increase in oxygen consumption and promotes cardiovascular fitness
involves short bursts of muscle activity that can strengthen muscles and improve flexibility (weight training, etc).
How does exercise help reduce the adverse effects of stress?
-exercise uses up the stress hormone secreted into the bloodstream, thereby helping the immune system return to normal functioning sooner
-exercise can also help work out tension that has built up in the muscles
-exercise increases the efficiency of the cardiovascular system and increases strength, flexibility and stamina for encountering future stressors.
-strenuous physical activity can produce chemical changes in the body that can improve psychological health (endorphins)
-diverts a persons attention away from the stressor
-removes the individual from the stress producing situation
indicates that aerobic exercise is best for physical and mental health, but anaerobic exercise is better than no exercise (aerobic exercise
-increased ability to cope with stress).
Is help or assistance from other people when needed. Social support can take 4 forms
4 forms of social support
4 forms of social support: Appraisal support
Help from another person that improves the individual's understanding of the stressful event and the coping strategies that may be needed to deal with it (can go to psychologist for appraisal support)
4 forms of social support: Tangible assistance
Involve provision of material support, such as services, financial assistance or goods that may help offset the effects of stress
4 forms of social support: information support + eg
Specific advice and resources for how to cope with a stressful event. Eg. Managing a heavy workload
4 forms of social support: emotional support + eg
Targets our emotional reactions (eg depression, grief, feat, sadness) by reassuring a person under stress that they are cared for and valued (can increase confidence)
Adv of allostasis over biopsychosocial model
HOWEVER...the framework DOES NOT explain how factors within each domain actually combine, or come together, when we are exposed to a stressor. Allostasis is a theory which explains this
The body's ability to maintain a stable physiological environment by changing to respond to internal and external stressors. Allostasis helps the body achieve stability by canging
Is body aility to maintain a stable physiological environment by keeping some bodily conditions constant eg blood pressure, temp, blood oxygen level. These bodily functions are maintained within a narrow range of values. When we experience conditions that push our body temp above or below its set limits, homeostatic mechanisms trigger responses such as sweating or chills as part of the body's attempt to return to its set point
Difference allostasis and homeostasis
Homeostasis achieves body stability by staying the same, where as allostasis achieves body stability by changing. (ie when we sleep, our blood pressure drops)
Limitations of homeostasis
-excludes the role of cognitive processes, thus has a limited role in explaining states with a psychological component
-our body has to adjust to wider ranging internal changes (adapt to changing environment and demand on stressors)
In contrast to homeostasis, large variations in processes regulated by allostatic systems do not lead directly to death as would large variations in homeostatic systems
Process of allostasis
When an individual perceives a situation as stressful and experience a stress response, their brain activates and 'turns on', their boy's allostatic response (ie. The activation of the HPA axis and the sympathetic NS). Then, when an individual has been successful in coping with the demands of the stressor, or the stressor has passed, the brain 'turns off' the allostatic response. The brain will take into account the stressor and the context (biological, psychological, social)
How does allostasis enable an individual to adapt to the demands of the stressor?
by initiating and supporting a state of physiological arousal, which is then shut off when no longer needed.
Cumulative exposure to increased secretion of stress hormones (over weeks/months/years) can lead to wear and tear on the brain and body, known as allostatic load
Allostatic load helps explain
How prolonged stress can influence the onset of physical disorders such as cardiovascular disease, obesity etc and mental disorders such as anxiety and depression
We will get an increased allostatic load with icreased frequency of exposure to stressors, increased intensity of stressors, or decreased efficiency in coordinating the onset (turning on) and termination (turning off) that allostatic response
-more severe than allostatic load (if placed on continuum) -is considered to represent the point at which a person actually develops a serious health problem, such as a physical disease or a mental health disorder.
Biopsychosocial framework summary of allostasis
Our perception of appraisal (psychological factor) of a stressor (biological, psychological and social) determines whether the HPA axis and sstems involved in the allostatic response are activated (biological factor)