describe how the body responds to stress Essay

4602 Words Apr 17th, 2014 19 Pages
Describe how the body responds to stress (6 marks)
Acute stress causes the arousal of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS comprises of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) which prepares the individual for ‘fight or flight’ and the parasympathetic branch, which returns the individual to their original state of relaxation. Part of the SNS response is the sympathetic adrenal system (SAM), this system along with the SNS is collectively called the sympathomedullary pathway. The SNS is activated when the neurotransmitter noradrenaline is released and travels to the organs of the body preparing them for rapid action. Common responses to this would be increased heart rate, increased pupil size and metabolic changes such as a release of
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A high LCU score shows that the individual had been through significant amounts of stress (either positive or negative), and so a positive correlation with their illness score would suggest that experiencing stressful life changes does lead to more problems with health.
Michael and Ben-Zur (2007) – studied 130 men and women, half of whom had been recently divorced and half recently widowed. They looked at levels of life satisfaction and unsurprisingly found that in the widowed group there was a higher satisfaction before their bereavement than after their loss. However, in the separated group they found the opposite, that individuals in fact reported more life satisfaction following their divorce than they had had before the separation. There are several ways to explain this as it may be the result of a more positive outlook now they felt more in control of their lives instead of being ‘restricted’ by a partner, or perhaps they were now dating or living with someone new who made them feel happier.
The SRRS suggests that any life-changing event has the potential to be harmful to health; however critics like Jones and Bright (2001) claim that in fact it is the quality of the event which dictates its impact. Undesired, unscheduled and uncontrolled events seem to be the ones which cause greatest negative effect.
The key flaw in the SRRS is that it ignores individual differences, as

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