Psyc 1215: Chapter 12 - stress and health

Define stress? + facts about the concept (2)

stress is the process of appraising and responding to a threatening or challenging event (physical or psychological response to internal or external stressor)one fact about stress is that it is a slippery concept *as it may be used wrongly like "bob was under a lot of stress" or "experienced a lot of it" while the accurate description of these physical and emotional responses was stress reaction, the process we relate to the threat is stress

Define stressors? give 3 types

stressor are specific events or chronic pressures that place demands on a person or threaten his or her well-being3 main types: catastrophes, significant life changes, and daily hassles (including social stress)

Health psychology

subfield of psychology concerned with the ways that psychological factors influence the causes and treatment of physical illness and the maintenance of health

Catastrophe stressor info and example aka what

these are unpredictable large-scale events which after, cause damage to the emotional and physical health of a person (aka seismic stress) examples: following hurricane katrina, in new orleans the suicide rate tripled three weeks following 9/11 about 58% of americans said they were experiencing greater-than-average anxiety

acculturative stress, what happens to it over time

the stress that results from the pressure of adapting to a new culture*if one makes meaningful connects socially and takes part in social activities, it can decrease

Significant life changes stressor explanation and examples (2)

these are life transitions like: moving out, having a loved one die, having new debts, new jobs, divorce, or even getting married or graduating (stress from something new/different)examples:were young adults tend to have the greater amount of stress levels from this (due to that time in their life)

Daily hassles and social stress stressor and examples (2)

these can be anything during our day to day that cause some sort of stress like: phone dying, burning toast, running late to something, too many things to do, at home problems these can also be intensified when experiencing issues against our gender identity, ethnicity, etc...

Thomas holmes and richard rahe (1967) proposed what, related to stressful events? (5)

holmes and rahe proposed that major life changes cause stressincreased stress causes issues with health resulting in illnessstress can come from positive or negative eventspositive produces less psychological distress and physical symptoms andhappiness can sometimes counteract the effects of negative events

Chronic stressors are what? give examples (2)

chronic stressors are sources of stress that occur continuously or repeatedly, even from environment (resulting in the accumulation of stress which can decrease health)examples of chronic stressors: relationship issues, discrimination, bullying, overworking, money troubles

Environmental chronic stressors examples (3)

trash family dynamic, toxic friend group, toxic work place

Stressors challenge you to.....

do something to change it

having lack of control over a situation can do what in terms of stress?

add to the stress

perceived control over stress significance? (2)

studies show having a PCOS can enhance ones' copingwhere a lack there of underlies other stressors

Fight or flight response defined for psychology (1)

these are basically emotional and physiological reactions to some sort of emergency that increases readiness for action

Fight or flight mechanism

brain activation in response to threat occurs in hypothalamus , stimulating nearby pituitary gland to release the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which travels through the blood to activate adrenal glands to release catecholamines and cortisol, then boom fight or flight

General adaptation syndrome definition, who developed it, what are the phases?

GAS is a three-phase physiological stress response that appears, regardless of stressor encounteredbut, GAS is nonspecific and does not vary across stressorsGAS was developed by Hans Selye with 3phases being: alarm, resistance, exhaustion

Alarm phase of GAS

aka phase 1, this is an alarm reaction to some sort of stressor like angry roommate , this is when our SNS is activated with HR up, blood flow to SMs up, with some shock feelings (with a drop in stress resistance , then rise) *rapid mobilization of bodily resources

Resistance phase of GAS (2)

aka phase 2, this is when the body remains in the physiologically elevated state with high temp, bp, breathing rate, hr, the adrenal glands pump hormones into blood *ways to cope with stressor / maintain resistanceone will be fully engaged here, with all resources available to tackle the threat

Exhaustion phase of GAS (1)

aka phase 3, this is when one cannot maintain their resistance to the threat any longer, making one vulnerable to illness or even, in extreme cases, collapse and death

What phase of GAS would soldiers be in?

alarm phase and resistance *always looking to respond to a threat and cope with constant stressors

Tend and Befriend

a stress response where people (especially women) often provide support to others (tend) and bond with and seek support form others (befriend)

do men and women have identical stress reponses? (2)

no, men tend to withdraw socially more often , turn to alcohol, and become emotionally insensitive women often tend to have the tend and befriend response, making connections with others in times of stress

Constant stress leads to? what is the mechanism of the results? (4)

wear and tear on the body and accelerated agingmechanism: our body constantly has cells dividing, with chromosomes repeatedly being copied, carrying genetic info to new cells, facilitated by telomeres (which are caps at ends of chromosomes that prevent chromos from sticking together)these telomeres shorten with every cell division, but when too short, the cell cannot divide and diesliterally aging cells of a person who experiences chronic stressors

Telomerase is what? What happens when lacking this? (3)

an enzyme that rebuilds telomeres at the tips of chromosomes when lacking telomerase, it prevents cell div. , causing the aging and death of those cellsstressors are what shorten telomeres more due to lowering telomerase activity

Psychoneuroimmunology explanation

this is the study of how psychological, neural, and endocrine processes TOGETHER affect the immune system and the resulting health effects

Stressors cause what to flood to brain? resulting in what? (2)

stressors can cause hormones (glucocorticoids like cortisol) to flood the brainthis will wear down the immune system and make it less able to fight off intruding things

immune system is known as the?

immune system is known as the complex response system that protects the body from bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances *when functioning properly*

Lymphocytes are?

white blood cells that produce antibodies that fight infection, including T and B cells

T cell vs B cell function

B cells (the brain) are what release antibodies that fight bacterial infections T cells (the brawn) are what attack cancer cells, viruses, and foreign substances

Macrophage vs NKCs

macrophages are the "big eaters" and they id , pursue, and ingest harmful intruders and worn-out cells NK cells are what attack diseased cells specifically (like those already infected by cancer and viruses)

Can social status effect immune health?

a decreased immune response may be related to social status

Influences on immune system activity (5)

age, nutrition, genetics, body temp, and stress

2 directions the immune system can go when not functioning properly? (2)

overreacting (attacking healthy body cells in process of attack invaders, causing allergic reaction or self-attacking disease like lupus , sclerosis, or some forms of arthritis)underreacting (immune system may allow a bacterial infection to flare/certain cells to grow un-noticed)

How does stress affect the immune system? examples (4)

it can suppress the immune system by reducing the release of lymphocytes examples: stressed people heal slower, more vulnerable to colds, and hasten the course of disease like AIDS

Stress and cancer connection

stress may depress the immune systems responses to fighting disease, meaning less NK cell activity, meaning less ability to fight cancer cells (CORRELATION)

stress creates cancer cells?



the gradual narrowing of the arteries due to build up of plaque aka fatty deposits to build up in the inner walls of arteries

What is main cause of heart disease? what other factors can increase rates of heart disease?

atherosclerosis intensity, anger, hostility (basically Type A people as found in a longitudinal study, very low chance if type B)

Type A vs Type B behavior pattern (2)

Type A sees one with the tendency towards easily increased hostility , impatience, and sense of urgency, and competitive achievement strivings Type B sees one with a more relaxed, calm type of behavior

How do psychological responses play a role in physiological change? (2)

psych responses and physiological responses to stress are very much intertwined since the mind technically interprets / appraises events as threatening or not AND whether a coping mechanism is already in place or not

Stress and heart disease connection?

chronic stress supposedly causes the increase in inflammation at various areas of the body, specifically to the blood vessels in this case causing damage over time and accumulation of immune cells and fatty deposits (atherosclerosis)impairing coronary blood flow possibly

Stress interpretation process according to who?

Lazarus and Folkman came up with the stress interpretation process that starts with:Primary appraisal, Secondary appraisal, which lead to appraisal of stressor as threat (-) or challenge (+) PA is the initial intepretation on if stimulus is stressful or notSA is the determination of whether the stressor is something handleable Threat outcome is a stressor that you believe you may not overcomeChallenge outcome is a stressor you feel fairly confident you can control

Hostility and CHD connection? (2)

found in a study of 2,280 men over 3 years (longitudinal) that 45 has CHD like heart attack where many of these incidents occurred to those who had a high hostility scores

Depression and pessimism and heart disease

similar effects as hostility and stress on CHD, increased likelihoods

Burnout concept (3)

burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion created by long-term involvement in an emotionally demanding situation often being accompanied by lowered performance and motivation *not resting after hours of difficult study or work

Burnout causes (2)

the gauging of self-worth by success at "work" alone emotionally stressful jobs

Stress management techniques are ways to? (1) what do they involve? (2)

counteract physical and psychological stressstress management involves direct management of mind and bodyand managing situations

Coping =

alleviating stress using emotional, cognitive , or behavioral methods

Types of coping (2)

problem-focused/rational coping emotion-focused/repressive coping

Rational coping explained (2) + examples (2)

rational coping is problem focused , facing a stressor directly and working to overcome it rational coping is a 3 step process however: Acceptance (accepting stressor existence) Exposure (attending to or seeking out stressor)Understanding (working to find meaning stressor holds in one's life)examples: prolonged exposure to stressor/reliving traumatic memories and going to someone who is causing you stress directly

Repressive coping explained (1) + examples (1)

repressive coping is the deliberate avoiding of situations or thoughts that are REMINDERS of a stressor, seeking the maintenance of an artificially positive view pointexamples: taking time off a really really tough physics question

When is rational coping used typically? (2) vs Repressive? (1)

when one feels a sense of control over a situation, thinking we can control an outcome / change circumstances (rational)Repressive is used when we believe we cannot change a situation, like after trying hard to overcome something and failing to

3 influences of our ability to cope successfully

feelings of personal controlexplanatory stylesupportive connections

Reframing is?

finding a new or CREATIVE way to think about a stressor that reduces the threat

What is a reframing technique example? (2)

Stress inoculation training (SIT) and it is used to help people cope with stressful situations by developing positive ways to think about situations *like writing about one's deepest thoughts and feelings

When is repressive coping bad? when is it good?

bad when it leads to health issues like constantly "comfort eating" good when it is used situationally like following a tiresome argument that led nowhere

How does writing about stressful events help someone's coping?

it allows them to vent in a way/get out all they are thinking about something stressing them out

Personal control

our sense of controlling our environment rather than feeling helpless

Which types of threats result in strongest stress responses?

uncontrollable events

What is learned helplessness? and what causes it? (1) examples (1)

LH is the hopelessness and passive resignation one learns when unable to avoid repeated aversive events *dogs that were in an un-escapable harness and electrocuted and later placed in a escapable harnesses but with no electrocution , showed signs of cowering and whimpering as if no hope of escape (but actually could) *dogs that had an escapable harness first time around were showing more signs of control when receiving shocks the second time around

Mind management in terms of stress?

A significant part of stress management is control of the mind because stressful events get magnified in the mind (coping methods)

Body management in terms of stress?

Bodily techniques can be used to manage stress since stress often manifests itself through bodily symptoms The techniques include:MeditationRelaxation therapy BiofeedbackAerobic exercise

Learned helplessness 3 stages

Starts with a series of uncontrollable bad events that lead to a perceived lack of control that lead to a general helpless behavior when put in similar situations

Meditation is the practice of? Give some facts (5)

Internal contemplation , involving the clearing of the mind of thoughts, concentrating on breathing or mantra, and supposedly transforms consciousness and lengthens telomeres

Perceived loss of control examples why is this so? (2), in comparison of examples of the opposite (2)

Study on elderly showing that those in nursing homes who had little control over their activities died sooner than ones who had control, this can be due to the rush of stress hormones that over time that are detrimental the cells of the body For the opposite,People experience less stress when allowed to use their own input on designing their environment (like home or office)Those with wealth tend to live longer and healthier lives , even in primates (comparing low status to high)


This is a method of tracking nervous activity of muscles

Relaxation therapy and the response

RT is a technique for reducing tension in the body by consciously relaxing muscles in the body The response typically is reduced muscle tension, cortical activity, heart rate, breathing rate, and bp

Biofeedback" is a type of _____ therapy


Biofeedback explained (2)

The use of an external monitoring device to obtain info about bodily function and possibly gain control over those functions , accessing visual and audio feedback, showing levels of one's psychophysiological functions, like HR, etcDevices like EMGs and EEGs (EEGs bio/neurofeedback is moderately successful in treating brain-wave abnormalities)

Aerobic exercise is? What are the benefits

Exercise that consists of prolonged movements that require presence of O2, typically increasing HR and BR The benefits of aerobic exercise include: Boosting serotonin , and endorphins Keeping the body fit and healthy Adding quantity and quality to life (reductions of heart issues, cancer cases, chronic diseases)

In terms of genetics, why is exercising beneficial?

We have genes that allow our skeletal muscle to synthesis protein when stimulated with exercise

Situation management involves? (4)

Changing your life to reduce stress through four methods: social support, religious or spiritual practice, humour, avoiding procrastination

Internal vs external locus of control

External , (according to rotter) , is the perception that chance or outside forces control their fate (where those with external locus of control experienced the most ptsd symptoms) Internal is the perception that one controls their destiny (this predicts better school and work performance, independence, health, less depression cases, compared to external)

Internal locus of control is associated with what in terms of making choices?

Internal locus of control is associated with free will , where those who believe they are free learn better, work better, help more, and display will power/self-control

Self control , snd how is it developed?

Self control is the ability to control impulses and delay short term gratification for long term rewards You can develop self control through gaining a sense of personal control (internal locus)

Self control predicts?

Good health, good wealth, school performance, better stress coping, self management of emotions and bad habits

Explanatory style: optimism vs pessimism

Optimists expect good things to happen, to cope better, enjoy better health Pessimists expect the worst things to happen, that they will fail Optimists tend to be healthier , more happy, and more successful , better relationships (constructive communication)

Does optimism run in families?

Yes, a genetic marker of this is a gene that enhances the social bonding hormone oxytocin

Can pessimists become optimists?

Yes when socializing in positive groups like skill building ones , learning to see the bright side of every situation and that their goals are achievable

Social support is? (1) Give some facts about it (2)And example

Social support is the aid gained through interacting with othersSocial support can offer help in times of stress where being in relationships correlates with mental health (good or bad)Example: feeling liked and encouraged by others can make one more happy Those who were more socially isolated had a 30% greater death rate (equal to smoking)

How to combat social isolation

Surround yourself with people who actually care about you, including work place, friends, family, those in the same clubs, etc

Males vs females response to stress, why the distinction?

Male more likely to fight or flight type (less sociable) Females more likely to tend and befriend (when there's estrogen , oxytocin triggers social responses making one seek out socializing with and caring for others)^So women are more likely to seek support for this oxytocin reason

3 main reasons why social support is beneficial?

Social support calms us and reduces bp and stress hormonesSocial support fosters stronger immune functionSocial support creates close relationships that give us the opportunity for open heart therapy (a chance to share painful feelings)

Mindfulness meditation

A reflective practice in which people process their current experiences in a nonjudgemental and accepting manner

Mindfulness mediation has what 3 benefits

Strengthens connections among regions in our brainActivates brain regions associated with more reflective awareness Calms brain activation in emotional situations

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Faith / spirituality and health? (3)

there seem to be helpful effects of being religious and spiritual aka religiosity (affiliation with or engagement in the practices of a particular religion)and spirituality (a belief in and engagement with some higher power, not necessarily linked to any religion)

faith factor explanation and 3 possible explanations for this factor

this is a factor in health that shows religiously active people tend to live longer than those who are notthe 3 explanations for this faith factor include:Healthy behaviors (self control promotion, smoking/drinking less than non religious)More social support (often communal type experience)More positive emotions (greater sense of hope about the world, optimism, relaxation due to this)

Does praying for someone actually help in time of need? (5)

a study of 1,802 people who were to undergo cardiac bypass surgery had 3 different scenarios for them1 scenario is that they were told they might be prayed for and were2nd scenario is that they were told they might be prayed for and weren't 3rd scenario is that they were told they definitely would be prayed for and were the results reveal that scenario 2 showed least % of patients with surgery complications , and scenario 3 with highest %

Humour relation to stress management (3)

humour can help in coping with stress as it:may reduce sensitivity to pain and stress , as well as the time needed to calm down after stressful event BUT cumulative effects of humour are not found

Procrastinating relation to stress management

procrastination is basically putting off something (task) that needs to be done due to reasons of:being boring, or difficult/unpleasantthis causes greater stress in longer runto reduce this procrastination induced stress, time management is key

Sickness response to illness (3)

sickness response is the coordinated, adaptive set of reactions to illness organized by the BRAINduring the sickness response cytokines are released , aka proteins that activate the vagus nerve and induce an "I am sick" message to the brain, WBCs are also released the sickness response will have one withdrawing from activity and eating to CONSERVE energy to fight their illness

Can sickness response be prompted with anything other than sickness?

Stress can also prompt the bodies' sickness response

Negative psychological effect of sickness response?

there's a connection between sickness response, immune reaction, and stress illustrated in depression with depressive symptoms

Recognizing illness has been done how, specify the researchers? (in relation to sick response

researcher Pennebaker found that there's psychological contagion after audiotaping classrooms (like coughing)researchers Coghill and colleagues has found sick/highly pain-sensitive people reported higher levels of pain experience related to more activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, somatosensory cortex, and prefrontal cortex

Directing attention ........... or .......... can influence the ............ we perceive

towards, away, symptoms

Is denying symptoms smart?

No, although it is protecting the mind from distress, denying of symptoms/illness can result in exposing the body to GREAT DANGER

Pain is a......? How to measure pain?

psychological state* that can be difficult to measure to measure pain we can put a number to the pain level, having someone judge their pain with reference of external expression of the internal state (0 = no pain, or smiling = no pain, crying = alot of pain)

Benefit of sickness response?

allows us to conserve bodily energy to fight illness

How to enhance placebo effect? (3)

giving someone knowledge of receiving placebo, really making one believe in the "nature" of the "medicine" (placebo) they are receiving have the placebos consist of a wide range of objects to provide greater effects on a wider range

Studies show what relating to placebos and physiological changes?

studies have shown that placebos actually trigger the release of endorphins and LOWER brain activation in areas associated with pain (anterior cingulate cortex , somatosensory cortex, pre-frontal cortex)

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What underlies a variety of psychological problems and can also undermine physical health?

Hypersensitivity to symptoms of , or to the possibility of, illness underlies a variety of psychological issues and may undermine one's own physical health

What is a psychosomatic illness?

psychosomatic illness refers to the unique interaction between one's mind and body that can lead to production of an illness where mind = psychbody = soma

Somatic symptom disorders definition? (4)

somatic symptom disorders (SDS) are defined as sets of psychological disorders where a person with AT LEAST one bodily symptom would display significant health-related anxiety while showing a disproportionate concern about their symptoms (aka an over concern)with lots of time and energy used focusing on these symptoms or health concerns

Somatoform disorders defined?

somatoform disorders are the experience of some unexplained medical symptom that are believed to be derived from a person's mind

Hypochondriasis defined

hypochondriasis is a psychological disorder in which a person is over-focused on MINOR symptoms, which develops an exaggerated belief that these minor symptoms are life-threatening illness signs

Getting sick is purely a change to the physical state? explain

no, being sick can also involve the transformation of one's identity one's identity when sick can change in two ways:sick role and malingering

sick role vs malingering

sick role is the socially recognized set of rights one gets when sick, providing them with exemptions to certain tasks/obligations (like going to school or work)malingering is the over-exaggeration of medical or psychological symptoms of sickness to get something they want (kids acting over sick to get extra time off school, or more attention)

Keys to effective medical care?

physician empathy and their ability to motivate a patient to comply with the prescribed regimen of care

compliance of patients to their physicians' treatment deteriorates when treatment is?

compliance to a treatment will go down if it's too frequent, painful, inconvenient

patients are more or less likely to exaggerate their prescribed intake of something?

more likely to exaggerate , where the intake they state is greater than the actual

Two kinds of psychological factors that influence personal health?

health-relevant personality traits health behavior

Optimism related to health

optimism may aid the maintenance of psychological health when there are even physical problems

Do people's optimism and pessimism levels change much over time?

they remain stable as they are typically, but you can learn one or the other if lower in one of them

Hardiness related to health (3)

hardiness personality trait seems to correlate with being more stress-resistant as hardy people have:a sense of commitment, belief in control, and acceptance to challenge (resulting in better health)and hardy people are thick-skinned where they are able to take stress and abuse that may hurt others

Health-promoting behaviors (3)

healthy eatingsafe sexnot smoking

Self-regulation = (3)

the practice of improving voluntary control over the self to bring oneself in line with "preferred standards" (i.e. willpower)this can include: delaying instant gratification for long term goals/gainswhile good, one may have issues coming up with a strategy to do so, and there are limitations to control

What are the results of not eating wisely in the world? (4) how to counter (3)

*currently, western cultures have a growing average weightwith diets seeming to work less and lessless self-control with tempting foods less bodily activity to counter these negatives, one should practice making a diet seem less like a chore, practice self-regulation, and try and commit to some forms of aerobic exercise

Why is it difficult to avoid sexual risks? (2)

because one may experience the illusion of invulnerability towards the risks one may also impulsive act when it comes to sex, and not protect

Smoking causes % of lung cancers


Why do people smoke?

often due to ease stress