Cardiovascular disease-cause or
By Bethan and Hannah
Krantz et al –EVIDENCE FOR THE
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CVD AND
Krantz et al (1991) looked at 39 people with myocardial ischemia
and their reactions to low-level stress. It was found that those
who had the highest myocardial ischemia readings when
stressed had the highest increases in blood pressure
This suggests there is a direct link between low-level cognitive
stress and physiological reactions that lead to cardiovascular
damage. This can be seen as unethical to cause distress to
patients with CVD , but with the justification for stressing people
who have a history of CVD’s is that cognitive stressors were no
more than those found in everyday life
It might be that the patients with CVDs would show heightened
myocardial ischemia and blood pressure when relaxed as well as
when moderately stressed
Friedman and Rosenman (1974)
The sample consisted of 3000 volunteers (male), all from
California aged between 39 and 59 who were healthy at
the start of the study . Structured interviews and
observations of the pps behaviour were noted down and
used to assess personality types, impatience,
competitiveness and hostility
70% of those with CHD had been classified as Type A. they
had higher blood pressure and levels of adrenaline and
Twice as many type A’s died than type B’s and type a were
more likely to smoke and have a f
Pros and Cons
A long term study with a large sample and therefore had high
It showed how psychological factors can be related to
Wel designed with a clear baseline as all the men were assessed
have not suffering from CHD at the start
Sample was all male so can’t be generalised to females
Self report measures may not be valid or reliable
Not certain that the men would respond to the interview
questions in the same way
Looked at heart disease in medical professionals.
One group of doctors was designated as high stress
while others were classed as high stress.
He found that heart disease was highest among GP’s
and lowest in dermatologists.
This supports the view that stress is linked to heart
Brown and Harris (1978)
Found that women who suffered from chronic stress
conditions were more likely to develop depression.
Also reported that working-class women were more
likely to develop depression than middle-class women
due to the stress of leaving home to work and having
to leave their children in the care of others.
Brown and Harris (1978)
In the Brown and Harris study, a stressful experience
alone didn’t predict the onset of depression.
Rather it was the absence of a close confiding
relationship in the women’s lives that made them
more vulnerable to life stressors and as a result, more
vulnerable to depression.
Melchior et al. (2007)
Carried out a survey over a period of one year among
1000 people in a wide range of occupations in New
They found that 15% of those in high-stress jobs
suffered a first episode of clinical depression or
anxiety during that year compared with 8% in lowstress jobs.
Women were generally worse affected than men.
The diathesis-stress model
Proposes that for a person to develop a psychiatric
disorder, they must possess a biological vulnerability to the
disorder (the diathesis).
An individual’s vulnerability is determined by genetic or
early biological factors.
Stress can impact vulnerability, either triggering the onset
of the disorder or worsening its course.
If a person isn’t capable of adapting to the stressful
situation, psychiatric symptoms will develop of worsen.
Research does not account for individual differences in
personality or responses to stressors
GAS assumes a passive response to stressors and takes a
reductionist approach –stress is a complex subject and you
cannot generalise from rats to humans
Friedman and Roseman had a clear baseline but as all the pps
were male these findings cannot be generalised to females
Many of the studies had mundane realism because they were
natural experiments e.g. Kiecolt et al had quantitative and
qualitative measures from the same pps . This meant the validity
of the experiment was increased. Also the pps were compared
against themselves but it wasn’t known how long the
immunosuppressant effects would last
We support the link between stress and the risk of
This is because there are many case studies that
support this link
Also, the studies have high ecological validity as they
are mostly natural experiments
State one evaluation point for Friedman and Roseman
Which psychologist found that heart disease was greater
State one pro for Kielcot et al’s study
In accordance with the diathesis model what happens to
people who cannot adapt to a stressful situation
Name one thing this model proposes, excluding the above
In which year was Brown and Harris’ study conducted and
state one conclusion from this study