Class notes - What is stress Stressors(things that cause...

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09/24/2007 What is stress? - Stressors (things that cause stress) o Major vs. Minor stressors (death, divorce vs. traffic, tests) o Stressors don’t have to be negative events - Lazarus and Folkman: cognitive appraisals o Talked about how we interpret things that happen to us determines whether or not they’re stressful o Theory: there are two kinds of appraisals that we make Primary appraisal: whether a situation is important to you Secondary appraisal: whether or not we have the resources to cope with the event. o This is why we get stressed out by even the positive events in our lives. Example: having a child or getting married is stressful because it is so important to us. - Anxiety is very physiologically similar to sexual arousal (don’t know what this relates to) - Major stressors are often discrete, one-time events that are unpredictable. - Minor stressors are often every day, predictable things - The stress response o Fight or flight o Autonomic nervous system takes over - Hans Seyle: general Adaptation Syndrome o Three stages in stress response 1. Alarm response (similar to fight/flight) 2. Resistance (= How you’re coping. Did you chose fight or flight?) 3. Exhaustion (If your body isn’t able to relax) o He figured out that if rats were stressed for too long, they got sick, their immune system started to fail, they got ulcers, etc. Stress and the Body - Stress and general illness o Study: people were given a stress quiz to assess how stressed they were. They were then injected with a cold virus. The results showed a pretty much linear direct relationship between how sick a person got and how stressed they were. o Minor, everyday stressors lead to more illnesses (like colds), and reduced the effectiveness of vaccinations - Specific diseases o Hypertension, heart disease, herpes flare-ups (or other chronic viral infections), susceptibility to herpes virus and HIV, cancer(?), obesity (caused by cortisol, which is the hormone released by stress), chronic pain - Demographic differences o Men are more likely to have heart disease Women’s estrogen delays heart disease until menopause Mechanisms - Immune system o Lymphocytes: B-cells o Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI)
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Field of study o Cortisol also gets our immune system going. With chronic stress, there is cortisol in you all of the time. So the white blood cells aren’t as responsive to cortisol anymore. So when there is an actual virus, the cells won’t respond to it and won’t act like they should. Stress and the immune system - the uncontrollable stressors that lead to the worst immune system functioning. Mechanisms - Dysregulation of feedback loops o If a system gets activated, our body has a lot of feedback loops that tell your body to not be activated anymore o Stress may mess these loops up - High risk behavior o Stress can cause us to engage in behavior that is more risky to our health Not sleeping, not eating, eating poorly, not exercising, etc.
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