Psychology as Level Aqa - Stress Unit

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The Body’s Response to Stress
Stress: when the body is unable to cope with demands
Stressor: any stimulus which produces the physiological stress response in by definition a stressors An event that triggers the stress response because it throws the body out of balance and forces it to respond e.g. life changes (bereavement, divorce), daily hassles (traffic, lost keys), workplace stressors (e.g. role strain, lack of control) and environmental stressors (noise, temperature, overcrowding) Chronic Stress: stressful experiences that last for a long time Acute Stress: a stressor appears and the body responds

Stress is an adaptive response. There are two types of stress Chronic and Acute. The Acute response prepares the body for flight or fight response, where as Chronic depress the immune system and the liver releases energy. The Acute Stress Response – SAM (Sympathomedullary Pathway) Hypothalamus stimulates

Sympathetic branch of ANS (Autonomic Nervous System) activates Adrenal Medulla releases
Adrenaline or (noradrenaline)
Gets body ready for fight or flight response
The Chronic Stress Response – HPA (Pituitary Adrenal System) Hypothalamus stimulates
Pituitary Gland releases
ACTH stimulates
Adrenal Cortexproduces
Cortisol (corticosteroid)
Liver releases energy and the immune system is depressed
What happens after a stress response?
After a few minutes the parasympathetic branch of ANS will start to work. This will reduce the “fight or flight response” and bring the body back to normal Stress causes psychological problems like anxiety and depression. Stress can cause everyday physical illnesses like cough and colds by lowering the effectiveness of the immune system. Stress can cause Heart Disease and Strokes by increasing build up of cholesterol. Stress may lead to illnesses like Cancer.

Stress can cause millions of lost sick days from work
Stress can cause accidents and injuries at work due to loss of concentration

Workplace Stress
Workplace stress is considered one of the major sources of stress for many people, not only does it cause stress to the individual it can also lead to poor performance at work, increased absences and stress related illnesses. It is therefore important for organisations to identify and minimise sources of stress and to help employees cope with stress. Karasek suggests that the most stressful jobs involve high demand and low control and the least stressful jobs involve low demand and high control. Research supports this idea but also suggests that these relationships can be affected by social factors such as social support. | High demand| Low demand|

Low control| High Strain Job – most stressful| Passive Demand| High control| Active Job| Low Strain Job|
Environment
Noise and heat make work more difficult and more energy has to be expended to overcome them Home-work Interface
Balancing the demands of home and work can be stressful.
Control
In many organisation other people may determine workload and work patterns. This can involve broken machinery. Workload
How much work and the type of work a person does. Too much and too little can lead to stress. Marmot et al. (1997)
Whitehall 1
London based government civil servants were tested to see the relationship between workplace stress and health. Workers in low paid grades had twice the illness rate of workers in the highest paid grades. Differences in risk factors accounted for about a quarter of this difference. (Workers in lower grades are likely to smoke more and have high levels of blood pressure). Some factors that were not measured may have contributed to the results; they may have common characteristics that make them vulnerable to heart disease. Whitehall 2

7372 male and female British servants from 35-55 took part in a 5 year longitudinal study. They completed questionnaires and had a screening of cardiovascular disease. There individual ranged in jobs grades form administrators,...
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