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of physiological changes that occur in the body when undergoing stress, which allow us to either fight the stressor by creating a fight or flight response fight the stressor or run from it, or build enough glucose in the body to allow for further energy to out-run the stressor. There are two paths in the H-P-A axis, both paths have the same initial route . The stressor is acknowledged by the hypothalamus, which is located at the brain. Then the CRF (corticotropinreleasing factor) activates the pituitary glands, which directs the endocrine system (internal organs that produce hormones and release them into the blood stream, which includes thyrotropin-releasing hormone, dopamine, growth hormone-releasing hormone, somatostatin, gonadotropin-releasing hormone, corticotropin-releasing hormone, oxytocin and vasopressin) to secrete ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone), stimulating the adrenal gland where steroids are secreted. This is where the two paths begin. The first path heads towards the adrenal medulla, then the autonomic nervous system (ANS), providing a fight or flight response. The second pathway heads towards the adrenal cortex, secreting cortisol, which provides energy to out-run the stressor. However, the second pathway affects the rate of digestion, which may lead to the loss or gain of weight. This explains the physical causes of stress, as stress allows the body to secrete extra hormones to provide a higher awareness rate and supply sufficient energy to overcome the stressor. This is the first theory towards the physical distress one is provided with during a stressful situation. The second theory is GAS General Adaptation Syndrome. This theory consists of three phases/stages, the alarm reaction stage, the resistance stage and the exhaustion stage. This theory was created according to Hans Seyle. It explores the general process of reactions when confronted by a stressor. Stage one of GAS is the alarm reactionstage. This is the physiological response, which is triggered by the stressful stimuli. During the alarm reaction stage the H-P-A axis is activated and the autonomatic nervous system (ANS) is galvanised, increasing the body s heart rate, blood pressure, and consequently the rate of breathing. At the same time specific hormones are released, this includes: a. Adrenaline (also known as epinephrine), which is secreted by the adrenal glands, increasing the rate of blood circulation in preparation for muscle exertion b. Noradrenaline (also known as norepinephrine), which is released bythe adrenal medulla and sympathetic nerves, functioning as a neurotransmitter c. Glococorticoids, which increase the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats All three hormones secreted allow for a fight or flight response. Stage two of GAS is the resistance stage. This stage is dependent on the success/ failure of the first stage if the stressor persists, the body seeks to maintain physiological adjustments at a low, constant level, and must adapt to the stressor whilst the chemicals are produced to bring the body back to it s normal state. The third and final stage is the exhaustion stage. At this time the body becomes exhausted due to it s continued high levels of bodily resources (i.e. hormones), producing negative physiological and psychological effects, which weakens the immune system as the body has no energy to sustain high resistance to viruses. This 5may lead to psychosomatic illness, as studied upon in Brady s Executive Monkeys (1958) and Cohen et al (1993) experiment. Cohen et al (1993) To find if stress affects the immune system in terms of a participant s susceptibility to catching a cold Method y Participants to live their lives whilst infected with cold virus y Natural experiment Procedure Participants were infected with a cold virus and underwent different measures of stress, of which after the results were recorded according to which participants inherited the cold, and which did not Findings Participants infected with a cold virus were more prone to developing colds/ upper respiratory infections (URI) if they had experience higher levels of stress, negative emotions, and stressful life events. Also, it was found that the longer the duration of stressful life events, the greater the risk of becoming infected Conclusion y The study s findings prove that one is more prone to sickness when under stress, therefore saying that stress is a direct portal (or door) for germs to attack and infect oneself Cohen et al (1993) shows the physical causes of stress through its participants lowered immunity to viruses. Stress led to an increase susceptibility to infectious viruses, allowing us to deduce that stress led to a weakening of the immune system. Name Aim
therefore saying that the findings of the studies may be faulty/ incorrect. and if the control over the electric shocks affects the outcome of results Method y Two monkeys one executive monkey and one yoke monkey y Lab experiment y Opportunity sampling monkeys that were available at the time Procedure Two caged monkeys. 1984 Findings over amounts of stress brought Findings over amounts of stress reduced along asthma attacks to the participants the T-cell count. Name Aim Other than hard evidence proving the physiological aspects of stress. Another opposing point to this theory is if the participants did other activities outside of the experimental results that may affect the findings. . all of the studies lack a cause and effect relationship although the studies show a link between sickness and stress. To cope with this stressor. which brought along psychosomatic illness Brady s Executive Monkeys shows the physical causes of stress due to the presence of stomach ulcers when put under amounts of stress. therefore may have gone through. It is because the cause and effect relationship cannot be controlled that conclusions are impossible to deduce. therefore increasing the vulnerability to infection. y Having control over the stressor created extensively more stress. increasing mobility and speed. to explain the impact of stress on a person s body in terms of physiology. 1987 y Brady. 6 hours of rest) The yoked monkey s lever was fake and pressing it did nothing against the shocks. both with levers but only the executive monkey had control over the electrical shocks could postpone the shock by 20 seconds The electrical shocks came every 20 seconds and lasted over a period of 6 hours at a time (6 hours of shocks. which affected the overall results of the study. 1958 Findings over amounts of stress brought Findings over amounts of stress gave the along headaches to the participants monkeys stomach ulcers y Miller and Strunk. if one were to be in a 100-metre sprint.. many people tend to smoke. as it cannot be certain that the illness was the cause or result of the stress. For example. perhaps. Findings The yoked monkey who experienced the continuous shocks and had no control over the shocks remained healthy. Many studies have been taken throughout the many years to prove this theory correct: y Gannon et al.. the theories presented shows a great support of evidence how stress affects a person s immune system to such an extent that the person falls ill.Brady et al (1958) OR Brady s executive monkeys To find if the stress caused by electric shocks would lead to stress-related illness in primates. the more reliable the theory of physiological affects of stress. mid-terms at the same time. For example. 1987 Findings over amounts of stress gave participants a cold However. which is what this theory has. However. lots of adrenaline is pumped into the person s muscles to enable full-on exertion. but the executive monkey who had control over postponing the shocks had a psychosomatic illness gastric ulcers. especially since the participants included were university students. despite the reliability due to the numerous studies conducted.. Moreover. there are the more simple aspects that we feel ourselves in terms of the adaptation to stress in our bodies. The more supporting evidence. which led to the production of stomach ulcers Conclusion y Shocks were not stressful on their own only having control over the shocks made it stressful y Brady showed how control of electrical shocks led to more stress. stress adversely affects the immune system as corticosteroids (a steroid hormones produced at the adrenal cortex) suppress its activity. stress would build up due to the pressure of winning the race. the psychologists were enable to state what was the actual cause of the stress was. Physical adjustments to stress are most common in sporting events. 1979 y Kiecolt-Glaser et al. which weakened the participants immune system y Stone et al.
which are social aspects of stress and which affect a person s physical health. Because. which influences the immune system. in terms of expecting either negative or positive outcomes of a disease. which is apart of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). principle two states that we are all unique beings individuals. even though it is the physiological aspect that directly affects our immune system and the susceptibility to viruses. out individual behaviour is influenced by our society and culture. which further emphasizes everybody s difference in views and perceptions to an extent tells us that everyone has their individual differences in stress due to their personality and physiology i. There are the cognitive aspects and the social aspects of stress that also affect our physiology.. especially for this theory. thus saying that negative relationship lead to negative emotions/ feelings. especially since his theory is prima rily based on a lab experiment on rats. as GAS only states the physiological adaptations when under stress. in disproving the physiological aspects of stress. ethnocentrism is an important point to consider. Therefore saying psychological views impact physiological adjustments. as states before. therefore lasting longer. 1979 found that denial and a fighting spirit predicted longer survival for breast cancer patients. Reed et al. This means that the physiological adjustments to stress aren t the initial reaction.e. thus lacking in validity. predicts health outcomes whether the immune system weakens or strengthens. The social aspects of stressstates that we are independent on other human beings this links to the cognitive aspects of stress. which found that the more pessimistic patients developed HIV-related symptoms faster and died of AIDS sooner. according to the sociocultural level of analysis. In 2006. as they have a want to shut down. as stressful social relationships cause a weakness in the immune system. as the explanation of the impacts of stress on our bodies is much too simplistic. stress hormone secretion. Furthermore.. Moreover. the social aspects of stress deny Selye s GAS theory. such as the cognitive and social aspects of stress. thus contributing to the flaws of the studies findings. as there are many studies that back up this theory. Finally. there are the cognitive aspects of stress and the social aspects of stress: The cognitive aspects of stress explains that cognitive appraisal. in relation to the sociocultural level of analysis. such as Diazepam and Valium. This is based on the idea that one s psychological state can affect the immune system via the nervous system. which once again makes Selye s GAS inaccurate. Kemeny et al explained that pessimistic expectations led to patients giving up. which impacts on the immune system. 1999 was a study experimenting on HIV patients. there are still those other theories that contradict this theory. therefore saying that GAS is invalid. . This once again makes the physiological aspects to stress an incomplete argument.drink (alcohol) or take drugs when stressed. The application of the physiological aspects of stress to the real world is strong and highly benefits us humans. there are those who already have a weak immune system. Stress is much more complicated than just the physical causes to our bodies. Also. This with principle one society and culture influence our individual behaviour. Furthermore. Greer et al. Through this theory we have learnt how our human physiologies adjust when faced with stress. as it does not generalise it s theory to the wider population would a person with a brain tumour act the same way (in terms of their physiology) when tackles by stress? How about a person with a mental disability? Or even someone with growth problems? Additionally. Of course. This shows a link between emotion and physiology. This increases knowledge in the impact of stress on our immune system. however. those who generally get sick at a monthly basis. this theory is very reductionist. those who are not impacted by stress. which allows scientists to create medicine to prevent high amounts of stress. the reliability. is very strong. as this study shows that a strong feeling towards something (wants to beat the cancer) will directly affect the immune system in making it stronger. All the above are classified as psychophysiological processes. as different cultures have not been considered in the studies taken part.
as it could contradict a theory s progression in the world of psychology. However.e. due to their low self-esteem. as it was not generalised to the wider population in terms of cultures around the world. such as Hindus. This also occurred when tested on depressed participants. such as stress. . Therefore saying the fact that other cultures were not considered in testing this theory. Christians and Asians. the reliability of this the ory is hence lacked. weather or sleeping late). An example of this is the selfserving bias theory. This makes the theory bias. The effects of ethnocentrism in a theory are very important. when this theory was testes on other cultures.we all have different responses and perceptions when looking at certain objects. This stated that everyone attributes their successes to their hard work and their failures on the situation (i. they attributed wins to luck and losses to lack of work. the results did not meet the theory s expectations.