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  1. 1. PSYA2: Biological Psychology: Stress Independent Study Booklet Class: Name:
  2. 2. TASK 1 – The body’s response to stress. Due… Complete the tables below. Key Word Definition Acute stress Adrenal cortex Adrenal glands Chronic stress Cortisol Fight or flight Hormones Neurotransmitter Pituitary-adrenal system Stress Sympathomedullary pathway CRF= SAM= ACTH= PVN= SNS= ANS= TASK 2 – The immune system. Due… Key Study on acute stress: Kiecolt-Glaser Read through in your textbook and fill in the boxes below using the APFC format.
  3. 3. AIM: ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ PROCEDURE: ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ FINDINGS: ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ CONCLUSIONS: ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ Quick Question – What is one weakness of the study? ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ Key Study on chronic stress: Kiecolt-Glaser Read through in your textbook and fill in the boxes below using the APFC format. AIM: ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ PROCEDURE: ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________
  4. 4. ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ FINDINGS: ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ CONCLUSIONS: ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ Quick Question – What is this study testing? ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ Completed (Y/N): Date: Signed:
  5. 5. Task 3: Life changes. Due… Complete the gaps below: A LIFE CHANGE is... Examples of life changes which may cause stress include... Two doctors, HOLMES and RAHE (1967), observed that many of their patients who were in poor health had recently (normally in the past year) experienced major life change events. They suggested that experiencing these life changes absorbs a person’s ‘psychic energy’, which leaves less energy available for other things, such as physical defence against illness. To develop this idea, Holmes and Rahe developed the SOCIAL READJUSTMENT RATING SCALE (SRRS) as a way of assessing the impact of different life change events. They analysed 5000 patient records and identified 43 life events which seemed to be related to illness. In order to establish how ‘stressful’ each event was, they then asked 349 people to assess each event in terms of how much readjustment would be needed to overcome the event. From the averaged scores, each event was given a LIFE CHANGE UNIT (LCU) and the theory was the higher the LCU of the event, the more readjustment would be needed and therefore the more stress it would cause. Some of the major stressful life events established by Holmes and Rahe (1967) were... Key Study on life changes: Holmes and Rahe (1967) Define this term... Give some examples of life events which may cause stress... List at least 3 of Holmes and Rahe’s stressful life events and give their LCU score
  6. 6. Read through in your textbook and fill in the boxes below using the APFC format. AIM: ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ PROCEDURE: ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ FINDINGS: ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ CONCLUSIONS: ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ CRITICISMS: However, some researchers have questioned the relationship between stressful life events and illness, and their studies appear to reduce the validity of RAHE’S conclusions.  DeLONGIS, et al, (1998) found that there was a much stronger relationship between daily hassles and illness compared to stressful life events and illness. This suggests other factors may be more stringly associated with illness.
  7. 7. EVALUATION of the relationship between Life Changes, stress and illness. *NB. These are general evaluation/commentary points but they can be easily adapted to each piece of research, should you be asked specifically about research in your exam.  Research only demonstrates a CORRELATION between stressful life changes and illness  Many studies in this area use RETROSPECTIVE SELF REPORT ACCOUNTS, (e.g. through questionnaires, interviews) about experienced life events  Many studies use a LIMITED, UNREPRESENTATIVE SAMPLE (EXTENSION POINTS) Explain why this is a problem Explain why this is a problem Explain why this is a problem and use the RAHE (1970) study to elaborate
  8. 8.  However, there are PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS FOR SOCIETY from the research into life changes, stress and illness  The relationship between life changes and illness is more complex than first thought Subsequent research has identified that a number of factors can influence the impact of life change events. For example, a supportive family, flexible working hours, etc, can all reduce the stress of a life change event. These factors should also be taken into account when considering the relationship between life changes, stress and illness. Additionally, factors such as DAILY HASSLES are argued to have more of an impact on a persons health (see next section). Completed (Y/N): Date: Signed: Explain this point
  9. 9. Task 4:Daily hassles. Due… For most of us, unless we are very unlucky, major life changes are very rare. The fact that many people experience regular stress therefore suggests that other factors may be influential. LAZARUS argues that DAILY HASSLES are a more significant cause of stress and related illnesses compared to major life changes Daily hassles are... Examples of daily hassles include... However, it is also argued by Lazarus that specific aspects, known as UPLIFTS, could counteract the negative effects of daily hassles Uplifts are... RESEARCH into Daily Hassles, Stress and Ilness Again, a number of studies have investigated the link between daily hassles, stress and illness. The key studies:  BOUTYERE ET AL (2007) • Conducted a study using first-year psychology students. They administered both Hassles and Uplifts Scales (HSUS) and the Beck’s Depression Inventory to measure depression. They found a positive correlation between students suffering from depression (41% of total) and scores on the daily hassles. This shows transition from school to university has frequent daily hassles, which are a risk factor for developing depression.  GERVAIS (2005) • Asked nurses to keep diaries for one month, recording all daily hassles and uplifts. Gervais found daily hassles (i.e., lack of beds, other staff members who don’t pull their weight) increase job strain. However, uplifts (i.e., compliments from patients, praise) increased job performance. This shows daily hassles may decrease job performance whereas daily uplifts may counteract daily hassles, and may increase job performance. WORKPLACE STRESS and ILLNESS As well as looking at what causes stress in the workplace, research has also investigated the impact of workplace stress on a person’s health. A key study in this area is MARMOT (1997) – The Whitehall II study Define the term DAILY HASSLES Give AT LEAST 3 examples of daily hassles from your own life Explain this term and give some examples to support
  10. 10. In addition to the factors identified earlier, RESPONSIBILITY has also been investigated as a possible source of workplace stress. MARGOLIS and KROES (1974) found that foremen (who had a lot of responsibility) were SEVEN TIMES more likely to develop gastric ulcers compared to shop floor workers (who had little responsibility). EVALUATION of research into WORKPLACE STRESS  Many studies use SELF REPORT METHODS (questionnaires and interviews) to gather data This is a weakness as people may give unnatural responses due to demand characteristics (e.g. the social pressure to ‘look good’ (halo effect); the fear that they cannot make any negative comments about their job in case these are reported to the ‘boss’, which may have serious consequences). This reduces the ecological validity of the data and the resulting conclusions  The link between workplace stress and illness is purely CORRELATIONAL Again, research only finds a RELATIONSHIP between the various workplace factors and stress related illnesses. This means we cannot imply CAUSE and EFFECT and we cannot be sure that the illness is being directly caused by workplace factors and not other aspects (e.g. lifestyle, smoking, family relationships).  INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES are often not taken into account Most research assumes everyone responds in the same way to the workplace factors identified. However, this is not the case - some people are just ‘better’ at coping. For example, JEPSON and FOREST (2006) found that peoples PERSONALITY TYPE influences the impact of workplace stressors. They found people with a TYPE A personality were more likely to experience stress in the workplace and were more likely to suffer from stress related illnesses. This means we have to consider a range of individual, personal factors (e.g. personality type) when assessing the impact of workplace stressors. Summarise the MARMOT study in the usual format. Summarise the Johansson study in the usual format.
  11. 11.  There are SAMPLE ISSUES with some studies into workplace stress Some research in this area uses UNREPRESENTATIVE, BIASED SAMPLES (e.g. only using works in one job field; only using people in one organisation; only using workers from a particular area). For example, MARMOT’S study used London based civil servants. This is a very limited sample and therefore the participants may be very different (on a number of levels) to other workers in different occupations. To further highlight this problem, we can look at similar research which uses different samples and finds different results. For example, JOHANNSON (1978) found higher levels of stress and stress related illnesses in a group of highly skilled sawmill employers who had little control over their work rate but who had a repetitive job– a direct contrast to Marmot’s findings! This means we have to be cautious when generalising results and conclusions to the wider population of workers outside the sample of the study.  However, there a significant PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS FOR SOCIETY which can be generated from this research. Research has allowed us to identify which factors in the workplace are likely to cause stress and possibly illness. We can use this knowledge in organisations to make suggestions about how to improve the work experience. For example, give workers a greater sense of control, offer flexible hours to ensure they can establish a work-home balance easily. This should improve the experience of workers by reducing stress and should also, ultimately, reduce the rate of illness. This will not just benefit employees but also employers as it should lead to improved productivity and fewer absences due to illness. Completed (Y/N): Date: Signed:
  12. 12. Task 5: Personality factors and stress. Due… TYPE A vs TYPE B FRIEDMAN and ROSENMAN studied the characteristics of patients who suffered coronary heart disease (CHD). They discovered that a particular pattern of behaviour seemed to be associated with a vulnerability to CHD. In fact, people with these behaviours were almost TWICE as likely to suffer from CHD. They defined this pattern of characteristics as TYPE A BEHAVIOUR (TAB). Type A behaviour / personality involves the following traits… Behaviour Pattern Example of Behaviour TIME PRESSURED COMPETITIVE HOSTILITY NOTE - Type B behaviour is literally the opposite of the behaviours listed here! TAKING IT FURTHER! WHY DOES A TYPE A PERSONALITY MAKE A PERSON MORE LIKELY TO SUFFER THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF STRESS? There are a number of theories as to why people with a ‘Type A’ personality are more prone to the negative effects of stress. Some researchers argue that Type A personalities are more susceptible to illnesses like CHD because their hearts are more sensitive to activity in the sympathetic nervous system – when a type A person gets stressed, their bodies are less able to cope with the physical changes and therefore stress related illness are more likely. Alternatively, some researchers argue that the stress responses (in particular the ‘fight or flight’ biological changes) are easier to trigger in a person with a Type A personality. As a result, they are more likely to have stress hormones present over a long period of time, which increases the persons susceptibility to stress related problems. A slightly different view is that someone with a Type A personality is more likely to engage in stressful activities and jobs. This leads to a vicious circle as the personality exposes them to stressful environments, these environments lead to persistent stress, which then ultimately results in negative effects. Additionally, a Type A person may be less likely to have adequate support structures which buffer the effects of
  13. 13. FRIEDMAN AND ROSENMAN (1959) – Type A behaviour AIM - To assess the relationship between TYPE A BEHAVIOUR and CHD METHODOLOGY and PROCEDURE Q. What was the sample population used by Friedman and Rosenman? Q. What RESEARCH METHOD was used by Friedman and Rosenman? Q. How were participants categorised as either Type A or Type B? Q. Give an example of behaviours which were used to OPERATIONALISE type A behaviour RESULTS Q. For how long were participants followed and assessed? Q. What % of heart attacks suffered by the sample were experienced by those in the Type A group? Q. Give examples of the ‘Lifestyle factors’ controlled by Friedman and Rosenman Q.(extension) What does it mean when we say Friedman and Rosenman ‘CONTROLLED’ lifestyle factors? CONCLUSIONS Q. What conclusions can we draw from Friedman and Rosenman ‘s results (extension – aim for at least 2 conclusions)
  14. 14. EVALUATION of ROSENMAN (1976) – join the boxes together to form 3 complete evaluation points! You will need to complete some of the boxes! EXTENSION – Try to develop another 2 evaluation points for the study on your own. Think about the classic areas! A Strength is that the results have been replicated in subsequent research For example, Freidman and Rosenman (1974) found that in a sample of 3000 people, 70% of those who developed coronary heart disease were type A personalities. This increases the relibilty of the study and th ________________________of the conclusio that TYPE A behaviour increases the risk of ill A weakness is that there are problems with the SAMPLE The participant group is culture and gender bias as it is made up of middle aged men from the US. This means the sample is unrepresentative an therefore results and conclusions may not G______________________ to the populatio large A weakness is that the study is largely __________________________ Even though Rosenman controlled a number of lifestyle factors, there are a range of other factors which could have contributed to the stress and illness as well as the participants personality type This means we cannot imply ____________ a _____________ and so we cannot be sure he attacks are a direct cause of having a Type A personality
  15. 15. RESEARCH INTO HARDINESS KOBASA (1979/1982) Produced a questionnaire which measured ‘HARDINESS’ – a personality defined by various traits. She found that managers of large companies who were assessed as ‘HARDY’ were less likely to suffer stress related illness. From these studies, many Psychologists have concluded that having a hardy personality can buffer the effects of stress and can in fact protect a person from stress related illness. EVALUATION of Research into Hardiness  A weakness is that again research is largely correlational. We cannot be sure that hardiness is the only thing which is buffering the negative effects of stress so we cannot imply direct cause and effect.  As with research into other personality types, Hardiness is often measured using questionnaires. A weakness of this is that participants may give unnatural responses due to social pressures and demand characteristics. This means we may not have an accurate impression of the participant. Completed (Y/N): Date: Signed:
  16. 16. Task 6: Methods of stress management. Due… BACKGROUND Psychological treatments are many and varied, however, they generally involve the use of techniques which help a person cope with the stressful situation as opposed to dealing directly with the physiological symptoms of stress. Many Psychological method of stress management take a COGNITIVE- BEHAVIOURAL approach. These techniques focus on adapting the IRRATIONAL THOUGHTS people have about situations as it is believed that it is these irrational thoughts (e.g. during appraisal of the situation) which cause stress.  For example, if a person appraises a situation and THINKS that the demands of the situation outweigh their ability to cope, then a person will experience stress. Psychological methods aim to adapt this way of thinking. 1. Psychological methods: STRESS INOCULATION THERAPY (devised by MEICHENBAUM) Stress inoculation therapy (SIT) is a particular Psychological cognitive-behavioural therapy which has been developed specifically for stress management. It involves a person identifying the causes of stress (e.g. the features of the stressful situation) and the irrational thoughts which accompany these before offering cognitive and behavioural skills which will help a person better cope with the demands of the situation SIT is normally split into THREE STAGES… Stage 1: CONCEPTUALISATION Stage 2: _________________________________________________ For e.g. as part of phase 2 clients may be taught to use “coping self-statements” which they are trained to repeat to themselves (like a mantra) during stressful situations An example of a helpful self statement is… This involves... This involves...
  17. 17. Stage 3 ___________________________________________________ EVALUATION of SIT as a Psychological Method of coping with stress  One strength with SIT is that there is EVIDENCE which shows it is an EFFECTIVE method of managing stress MICHENBAUM (1977) compared SIT with other treatments for stress, including systematic desensitisation, on a number of SNAKE phobic’s. He found that SIT was significantly more successful at reducing the phobia and also that it helped clients better deal with different future stressful events. This shows SIT is an effective therapy for current problems but that it also INOCULATES (protects) against future stressors. SHEEHY AND HORAN (2004) examined the effectiveness of SIT for students. First year law students were offered four weekly sessions of SIT, each lasting 90 minutes. Compared to a control group who did not receive SIT, those who did displayed significantly lower levels of stress during examinations and, additionally, more than half of those who received SIT achieved grades that were higher than predicted. This shows SIT is an effective form of stress management that can also lead to major improvements in a person’s task performance.  A further strength of SIT is that it is EFFECTIVE IN THE LONG TERM SIT provides a client with cognitive skills and behaviours which can be applied to future stressful situations as well as current stressors. The effectiveness of the treatment therefore continues well beyond the completion of the therapy, which is an advantage over, say, many drug treatments.  However, a weakness with SIT is that it DOES NOT HAVE IMMEDIATE POSITIVE EFFECTS and has to be delivered by WELL TRAINED INDIVIDUALS A course of SIT is time consuming and often takes weeks before positive effects start to be seen. Clients have to persevere with the treatment, which may be disheartening. Also, SIT is a complex therapy which requires a great deal of input from trained professional therapists – the client can’t self administer as they can with drugs. It may be difficult to find a suitable therapist or one may not be available, which may be a major problem for clients.  Additionally, SIT may NOT BE APPROPRIATE for all clients Although SIT has been used successfully with a range of clients, from business people to sports stars, the nature of the treatment means it is INAPPROPRIATE for some people This involves...
  18. 18. 2. Physiological methods: BENZODIAZEPINES AND BETA BLOCKERS Physiological methods of stress management focus on alleviating a persons physical symptoms of stress (think back to your work on the body’s response to stress) as opposed to changing the situation or thoughts which caused them. There are a number of Physiological methods that can achieve this; however, the most common physiological method of stress management is the use of DRUGS. Each drug has a specific effect on a persons biological systems. Two of the most commonly prescribed stress management drugs are BENZODIAZEPIES and BETA-BLOCKERS, however, each one has VERY different physiological effects. BENZODIAZEPINES (BZ’S) How do they work... Specific examples... Research into the effectiveness... Specific Advantages / disadvantages
  19. 19. BETA BLOCKERS How do they work... Specific examples... Research into the effectiveness... Specific Advantages / disadvantages EVALUATION of the use of Drugs as a Physiological method of stress management  A key strength is that there is CONTROLLED RESEARCH EVIDENCE which shows that drug treatments are an effective way to reduce stress For example, KAHN (1986) followed 250 patients who were diagnosed with high levels of stress over an 8 week period. He found that BZ’s were more effective at reducing stress compared to a placebo.  Further, an advantage of Drugs is that they are EASY TO USE and often have IMMEDIATE EFFECTS Explain this point
  20. 20.  However, a key weakness of drug treatments is that many have NEGATIVE SIDE EFECTS  A further weakness is that there are ETHICAL ISSUES associated with the use of drugs, due to their ADDICTIVE properties.  Another weakness is that the drugs are only effective for as long as the patient is taking them and they may not be appropriate for certain types of people / HOWEVER, there are alternative methods of stress management which are also effective and do not suffer from the weaknesses of drugs. There are a number of alternative methods of stress management which have found to be equally – and sometimes more – effective than physiological methods and which do not have the negative side effects associated with drugs. Psychological methods are an alternative (e.g. CBT, SIT) . Completed (Y/N): Date: Signed: Identify and explain some specific side effects associated with drug treatments. You could link specific side effects to specific drugs! You could also make a however point about recent drug developments... Explain this point Explain this point. You could make reference to the ‘root cause’ of stress or that drugs are a ‘chemical straight jacket’ and you should explain which types of people drugs are not appropriate for
  21. 21. EVALUATION of Hardiness Training.  HINT – do not just limit yourself to the evaluation points in your textbook – you are much better than this! Think about the therapy and try to come up with your own evaluation points using your Psychological knowledge.  Write the points IN FULL using the normal ‘3 part’ technique  You may find it useful to refer to the evaluation points for SIT as the therapies have a number of similar elements. Some general evaluation points can be re-used (as long as the detail is adapted correctly!

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