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Research Paper - Effects of Stress in the Human Lifespan 1...

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Effects of Stress in the Human Lifespan 1 Running head: STRESS ON HUMANS Effects of Stress on the Human Lifespan Megan Kellen Minnesota State University KSP 235 Spring 2007 Section 4
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Effects of Stress in the Human Lifespan 2 Abstract The lifespan of a human can be negatively affected by many different factors. One of these negative factors can be stress. Stress has the most impact when it is experienced as a fetus, by the mother. Stress also negatively impacts children and adults. Changes within the family, schools or jobs, and relationships can all bring stress to a person. Among both children and adults, the impact that stress has depends on their upbringing, personalities, genetic makeup, coping methods and past experiences with stress. Without the ability to cope with stress in a healthy way, it can become a threat to both our physical and emotional well-being as human beings.
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Effects of Stress in the Human Lifespan 3 Effects of Stress in the Human Lifespan I. Introduction Life can be stressful. We all face different challenges and obstacles, and sometimes the pressure is hard to handle. When we feel overwhelmed, under the gun, or unsure of how to meet the demands placed on us, we experience stress. Stress is defined as pressure, tension, physical or mental strain, and/or distress (Oxford Dictionary, 2002). Stress is also what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work or drives you to study for your midterm when you'd rather be watching TV. But when the going gets too tough and life's demands exceed your ability to cope, stress becomes a threat to both our physical and emotional well-being. Because stress affects each of us differently, we all react differently. Some of us are better able to withstand great stress. Much of our reactions to stress depend on our upbringing, personalities, genetic makeup, coping methods and past experiences with stress. The level on which you are able to cope with stress, can affect how you keep your mental and physical being healthy. Sometimes people under a great deal of stress eat poorly, drink too much, smoke, and generally neglect their health (Cohen & Williamson, 1991). These behaviors can be damaging at any point of the human lifespan. Not only are the actions themselves bad for your body, but these behaviors cause great strain and damage to your physical and emotional health. It's a vicious cycle. Therefore, it is my goal for this paper to inform of the effects of stress on the human lifespan. II. Mother’s Stress Effects on the Fetus Stress on a human being begins with the mother and the fetus, whom may be negatively affected. The earlier that experiences of stress occur during pregnancy, the
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Effects of Stress in the Human Lifespan 4 more harm that is done to the fetus (Schneider et al., 2002). According to a study from the University of Miami School of Medicine, mothers with high rates of depression, anxiety, and stress have fetuses that weigh less than average at midterm (McAdams, 2006). These offspring are also more prone to physical and behavioral problems later in life (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2004). Scientists involved in the study found that cortisol, a
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