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42 Cards in this Set

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process by which we perceive and respond to certain events (stressors) that we appraise as threatening or challenging

stress as adaptive

stress used as

-motivation: studying for midterms or fear of death = motivation to get stuff done (terror management theory)

-adaptive: activates immune system (short lived stress mobilizes immune system to fight off infections and heal wounds), and can result in stronger self-esteem and life satisfaction when one successfully overcomes a stressor


positive stress; jogging/exercise, marriage, change in financial status (ex. winning lottery)


negative stress; often triggers fight or flight


Sympathetic Adrenal Medulla

-occipital lobe sends signal to medulla and hypothalamus

-hypothalamus sends signal to adrenal glands

-medulla of adrenal gland receives signal and releases adrenaline (epinephrine)

-fast route

HPA axis

Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal Axis

-signal received and sent to hypothalamus, then to pituitary gland

-sent to adrenal gland

-signal sent to cortex of adrenal gland

-cortex releases cortisol

it is slower because it is sent to much more thick and hardy cortex


glucocorticoid hormone

-keeps blood sugar increased

-regulates BP

-redirects energy to areas of demand


unpredictable, large scale, significant health outcomes - ex. trouble sleeping after 9/11

ex. war, meteor hitting earth

significant life changes

-increase vulnerability to disease


-ex. divorce

Daily Hassels

-annoying events in everyday life

-cumulative (additive)

-delongs et al. daily hassels add up over time = worse than significant life changes and 2 years down = significant health problems

when does distress become maladaptive?

when it is prolonged and accumulates over time

ex. zebras dont get ulcers because they only experience acute distress

general adaptive syndrome

Phase 1: stressor occurs, alarm reaction, stress resistance decreases, cortisol and epinephrine released = rebound back up in stress resistance

Phase 2: stress resistance: ability to cope with stressor

Phase 3: exhaustion (resistance depletes); longterm stress resistance wears down, no longer able to release cortisol and epinephrine and stress resistance decreases

Biopsychosocial Model of Threat and Challenge

-challenge state: increase cardiac output and vasodilation to allow more blood to reach areas of demand, increase blood pumping to heart

-threat state: increase in cardiac output, vasoconstriction harder to pump blood to areas of demand as well as heart

how we appraise the stressor determines our performance

Primary appraisal

consideration of demands; am i able to handle what is in demand? What is at stake?

Secondary appraisal

consideration of resources available? can i cope with the level of demand?

Emotional consequences

1) when primary appraisal and secondary appraisal are low = no emotional consequence

2) when primary appraisal and secondary appraisal are high, but secondary appraisal is greater than primary appraisal = challenge/low stress

3) when primary appraisal is much greater than secondary appraisal = threat/high stress


the study of how psychological, neural, and endocrine processes together affect the immune system and resulting health

- combination of how we appraise stressors, how the brain reacts, and involvement of the endocrine system

how does chronic stress affect our longterm health?

- reduces immune response (why we get sick when we are stressed)

- increases plaque (fat deposits) in blood vessels (restricts blood flow from arteries throughout body)

- increases inflammation

- suppresses the release of lymphocytes (release antibodies that fight bacterial infection

- impairs working memory

Mani et al.

For indian sugar cane farmers: poorest right before harvest, and richest after harvest. Poorest = experiences more stress. Mani et al. completed series of memory tests (raven's matrices and stroop test). farmers performed best right after harvest (bc no stress)

which personality type is more prone to stress?

those with type A personality experience more stress because they are:


-achievement oriented





alleviating stress using emotional, cognitive, or behavioural methods

problem-focused coping

attempt to relieve stressors directly; changing the stressor or the way we interact with that stressor

-ex. dealing with midterms "bracing" yourself

emotion-focused coping

attempt to alleviate stress by avoiding or ignoring a stressor; attending to emotional needs related to one's stress reaction

-ex. dealing with a pop quiz - more concerned over yourself freaking out that there is a pop quiz rather than the pop quiz itself

-we believe we cannot change the situation despite our best efforts

pros and cons of emotion-focused coping and problem-focused coping

emotion-focused coping:

Pro: move us towards better long-term health bc we seek emotional distance from a harmful relationship

Con: maladaptive when students worry about not catching up on readings, and go party to get it off their mind

problem-focused coping:

pro: directly deals with problem - ex. actually doing the readings instead of avoiding them

effectively reduces stress and promotes long term health and satisfaction

what factors affect our coping ability?

- feelings of personal control

- explanatory style

- supportive connections

how does perceived control of stress affect one's coping abilities?

- those with no control over the stressor experience more detrimental long-term stress related health problems (more vulnerable to ill health)

ex. elder home residents with little perceived control over activities decline faster and die sooner than those who are given more control

Seligman and Maier (1967)

dogs who were learned to panel press in a harness in order to escape shock had successfully been able to escape vs. dogs who had been yoked with inescapable shock were far less likely to escape the shock

Pike syndrome

pike placed in tank with minnows - able to eat and kill minnows. Glass barrier placed between pike and other minnows = pike tries to catch minnows but fails. After several failed attempts, the glass barrier is removed and the minnows swim around as freely as they please, without the pike attacking them. This is called pike syndrome: in which the pike has a learned helplessness which has lead him to believe he can no longer catch the minnows after the failed attempt with the glass barrier even after successfully catching the minnows in the same environment before the glass barrier was placed

Why does control have such a strong effect?

because control provokes release of stress hormones which increases blood pressure and decreases immune response. ex. captive animals experience higher vulnerability to disease than non-captive animals because they have diminished feelings of control

locus of control

the extent to which individuals believe they can control events affecting them

internal locus of control

extent to which you believe in your own fate. You create the future

external locus of control

extent to which you believe that outside forces beyond your control determine your fate. The future is pre-determined

which type of locus of control results in an increased stress resistance

internal locus of control:

-more likely to have less psychological stress

-lowered risk of high blood pressure

-less likely to be obese/overweight

-less likely to self-rate as poor health

marshmallow experiment
children who were able to wait for second marshmallow had higher SATs, lower substance abuse, more socially competent, and coped better with frustration and stress

optimistic coping methods of stress

expect to have more control, cope better with stressful events, and enjoy better health. Studies have shown that optimists have lower percentages of developing coronary heart disease

- they have stronger immune responses to stress, report less fatigue and fewer coughs, aches, and pains

-during setback: respond with attitudes to move forward

why does optimism work?

because it releases oxytocin which is important for social bonding - increases social support

pets and survival

-studies show that pets aid in reducing stress

- ex. friedmann and Thomas - 1 year survival rat of those with myocardial infarction

-only 1% w myocardial infarction and pet died

-7% w myocardial infarction and no pet died

social support

-promotes happiness and health because it releases oxytocin with friendships and disclosure of feelings = calms us and reduces blood pressure and stress hormones, and fosters stronger immune functioning

-those with ample social connectinos had about a 50% greater survival rate than those without. - - impact of meager connections with people appeared roughly equal to the effect of smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being alcohol-dependent

Coan et al. 2006

happily married women received electrical shock to ankle while in fMRI machine - those holding husband's hand had least activity in threat-responsive areas as opposed to those holding a stranger's hand, and those holding no hand (most activity)

Social Support reduces stress effects and lowers health problems how?

- reduces stress by being able to call on a friend when you're in trouble, knowing that people care helps you cope with stress more easily, and laughing is associated with lower cortisol levels

ways to reduce stress

aerobic exercise, meditation

how does meditation help to reduce stress?

-speeds up immune system functioning

-lowers cortisol level in event of stressor

-leads to greater sense of control of stress response