14.2 stress and its consequences for health Flashcards Preview

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events that provoke a stress response


the stress response

the physiological reactions that occur in stressfull situations


richard lazarus
susan folkman

the cognitive appraisal theory of stress


the cognitive appraisal theory of stress
primary appraisal

first, stress arises from our thinking of some aspect of the current situation as a threat to us or our goals
-if the primary appraisal doesn't lead us to conclude that a threat exists we return to a calm and relaxed state
-if we do perceive a threat, that will stimulate the physiological changes that form part of the stress response
-the stress response also has an emotional component, resulting in our experiencing fear, anger, or perhaps even glee


secondary appraisal

once the stress response is underway, the next step is to engage in a secondary appraisal
the purpose of the appraisal is to develop a plan of action for dealing with the threat
-ex. if you are terrified of public speaking, but you must do a presentation for a class that might trigger a primary appraisal of a threat, and a stress response. during the secondary appraisal, an effort to resolve the threat might involve practicing to get more comfortable speaking to an audience
-ppl can find themselves in a constant state of stress when there is no way for them to resolve the threat during the secondary appraisal phase


common stressors

personal safety
social relationships


Holmes and Rahe's social readjustment rating scale

provides a numerical stress value to each type of common stressful event that a person might experience
-collecting 300+ stress points in a year increases a person's risk for developing heart problems, and other illnesses or infections


stress is not always a bad thing

the higher arousal that comes with the stress response tends to help us do better at performing simple tasks


choking under pressure

experiencing a stress response when trying to do something difficult


walter cannon

called the physical response to stress, the fight or flight response
-he thought that the biological changes that came with stress were for supporting either engaging in battle or running away


Hans selye

general adaptation syndrome


general adaptation syndrome

stage 1- alarm phase
stage 2- resistance phase
stage 3- exhaustion stage


alarm phase

our deciding that there is a threat results in a common arousal response


resistance phase

corresponds to the secondary appraisal phase
-seek a plan for dealing with the stressor that has put us into the alarm phase, then we will carry out that plan


exhaustion phase

if we are not able to resolve the source of our stress reaction
-in this phase are systems are too depleted to maintain the heightened level of arousal that we have achieved to give us the extra resources that we need to perceive threat
-at this point the strength of our arousal will eventually vanish


alarm phase begins in the brains..

hypothalamus, once hypothalamus receives info there is a threat that structure pulls the alarm by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system part of our autonomic nervous system
-in turn in inner part of the adrenal glands (adrenal medulla) secretes epinephrine and norepinephrine-> hormones that increase heart rate, perspiration, blood flow to muscles (physiological arousal)
-at the same time the hypothalamus stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, it also heightens arousal by participating in a neural circuit called the hypothalamic pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis)


hypothalamic pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis)

hypothalamus releases corticotrophin which stimulates anterior pituitary gland to release adrenocorticotrophic hormone. adrenal cortex detects the hormone and then releases hormone cortisol- suppress immune system (reduce inflammation,) increase availability of blood sugar


chronic stress

is a serious health risk


gender difference in stress response

diff happens in secondary appraisal phase
males usually engage in fight or flight repossess when under stress
females are more likely to engage in tend and befriend responses during stressful situations



a hormone that seems important for generating feelings of trust, closeness and attachment toward other ppl
-women are more likely than men to secrete this hormone during stressful events
-heightened levels seem to suppress arousal-related hormones, such as adrenocorticotrophic hormone and cortisol



is a hormone that suppresses the release of arousal related hormones such as epinephrine and norepinephrine


ppl who are happy in their social relationships have higher levels of

oxytocin and vasopressin coursing through their veins


in a study of married couples,

couples who interacted in a positive way had higher levels of oxytocin and vasopressin than couples who had fewer positive and supportive responses to one another
-blister wounds healed more quickly in the participants with higher levels of oxytocin and vasopressin



a blood analysis of medical students revealed that heir immune systems were weaker during the more stressful final exam period than earlier in the term


coronary heart disease

the more stress a person experiences in their life, the more at risk they are for developing this disease

-a study of 12000 men across 9 years revealed that chronic stress placed participants at a 30% higher risk of developing heart disease
-stress causes the cardiovascular system to work too hard for too long which causes damage to the arteries


female participants were asked to solve anagrams and had an opportunity to snack while they did the task

those participants with higher levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, also consumed more of the unhealthy snacks
snacking on fatty or sugary goods stimulates the reward systems that rely on the neurotransmitter dopamine
the stress reaction suppresses these pleasure centers, so snacking on empty calories might be a way for us to correct the imbalance


Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)

high norepinephrine levels (caused by chronic stress) can worsen the health of ppl with aids


Human immunodeficiency virus HIV

HIV is the virus that can lead to AIDS, the treatment for HIV positive individuals is less effective when they experience higher levels of stress


cancer and stress

elevated stress hormones enable cancer cells to grow faster and weaken our immune system response to cancerous cells


Type A personality

high on impatience and anxiety, they get frustrated and angry easily, extremely competitive, and extremely devoted to achieving at a high level

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