Models of Stress- Psychology Essay

Topics: Immune system, Health care, Medicine Pages: 7 (1955 words) Published: February 25, 2013
Catherine McAuley
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Brookfield Health Sciences Complex
University College Cork

AP1042 Developmental Psychology for Health Care
Discuss two Models of Stress, and discuss the impact of stress on Adult Health. Lecturer : Anna O’ Reilly Trace

Aisling Cronin

Submitted as part fulfilment of the requirement for Developmental Psychology for Healthcare 4th of January 2012

Catherine McAuley
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Brookfield Health Sciences Complex
University College Cork

Discuss two Models of Stress, and discuss the impact of stress on Adult health.

Aisling Cronin

I declare that the content of this assignment is all my own work. Where the work of others has been used to augment my assignment it has been referenced accordingly. Signed ________________________ Date ______________

Word count: 1650

Table of Contents



General Adaptation Syndrome Model (GAS) 5

Criticisms of the General Adaptation Syndrome Model6

Life Events Model7

Criticisms of the Life Events Model 8

The impact of stress on Adult health9


References 11


“Stress can refer to the internal state of the individual, an external event, or the interaction between a person and his or her environment.” (McNamara, 2000, p.4). Stress is a difficult concept to define, because it means different things to people (Rana et al, 2009). Many people consider Christmas stressful, due to the huge amount of cooking to be done, whereas others enjoy it. In this essay I will focus on two models of stress. The first model I will discuss is the general adaptation syndrome (GAS). The GAS was one of the first models of stress to be identified by Selye in 1956, and refers to how the body reacts when it encounters stress .The next model of stress I will discuss is the life events model which refers to life events which cause us to become stressed (Rana et al, 2009). There is a wide array of symptoms that convey stress, such as emotional, behavioural, cognitive and physiological symptoms (Walker et al, 2007). Although everyone suffers from these symptoms occasionally, there is a risk of stress harming adult health if many of these symptoms are experienced often (Walker et al, 2007). In this essay, I will look at the impact that stress has on adult health.

General Adaptation Syndrome model (GAS)

The first model of stress I will discuss is the GAS model of stress, which highlights the physiological reaction of the body to stress (Jones et al, 2001). According to Selye (1950) there is a standard response of the body to a number of factors which cause stress, called stressors, and these responses are called the GAS. These responses are vital to prepare the body for action as part of the fight/flight response (Upton, 2010). For example, if a person was being followed at night, their heart rate might increase, preparing them to fight or to run. This fight/flight response is the first stage of the GAS (Jones et al, 2001). In this phase, the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system is activated and stress hormones are released, to allow the body to cope with the stressor (Upton, 2010). Eventually, the body becomes tired and the second stage, the resistance phase begins (Rana et al, 2009). In the resistance phase the body attempts to adjust to the stressor, therefore the body has difficulty defending against new stressors, and the person may encounter health problems due to weakened immune functions (Rana et al, 2009). For example if a person is in debt, and then their spouse dies, the person may become ill because their body is trying to adapt to both stressors. If this phase is endured for a long period of time, the exhaustion phase begins (Rana et al, 2009). During this phase the body’s resistance to the stressor decreases greatly, potentially giving fatal...

References: * Ice, G. & James, G. (2006) Measuring Stress in Humans: A Practical Guide for the Field. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
* Jones, F. & Bright, J. (2001) Stress: myth, theory and research. Essex: Pearson Education.
* Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984) Stress, Appraisal, and Coping. New York: Springer.
* Masuda, M & T.H., Holmes (1978) Life Events: Perceptions and Frequencies. Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine 40(3), 236-261.
* McNamara, S. (2000) Stress in young people. London: Continuum.
* Rana, D. & Upton, D. (2009) Psychology for Nurses. Essex: Pearson Education
* Seyle, H. (1950) Stress and the General Adaptation Syndrome. British Medical Journal 1(4667), 1383-1392.
* Upton, D. (2010) Introducing psychology for nurses and healthcare professionals. Essex: Pearson Education
* Walker, J., Payne, S., Smith, P. & Jarrett, N. (2007) Psychology for nurses and the caring professions. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill Education.
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