CHAPTER 14 – STRESS AND HEALTH
: An interdisciplinary field that integrates behavioral and medical
knowledge and applies that knowledge to health and disease.
: A subfield of psychology that provides psychology’s contribution to
I - Stress and Illness
The process by which we perceive and respond to certain events, called
, that we appraise as threatening or challenging.
response (i.e., challenge/opportunity, stress/illness).
: Sympathetic Nervous System arousal – increases heart rate and
respiration, diverts blood from digestion to the skeletal muscles, dulls pain, and
releases sugar and fat from the body’s stores—
fight or flight
Cerebral cortex (via the hypothalamus and pituitary gland) order the outer
(cortical) part of the adrenal gland secretes the stress hormone
General adaptation syndrome
: Selye’s concept of the body’s
adaptive response to stress in three stages—alarm, resistance, exhaustion.
: Sympathetic nervous system arousal.
: Temperature, blood pressure, and respiration remain high, and
there is a sudden outpouring of hormones.
Persistent stress depletes body’s reserves; vulnerable to
illness or even, in extreme cases, collapse and death.
shrinks hippocampus (essential for new memories).
: Catastrophes, significant life changes, daily hassles/conflicts
: Decreases with age
: Reduces stress; related to longevity; explains
relationship between poverty and longevity.
: Optimists cope better with stress, healthier, live longer.
Loss of control
: Stress hormones released and immune function decreased
II – Stress and the Heart
Coronary heart disease
: Clogging of the vessels that nourish the heart muscle; leading
cause of death in many developed countries.
Behavioral and physiological factors
: Smoking, obesity, a high-fat diet, physical
inactivity, elevated blood pressure, and an elevated cholesterol level. The psychological
factors of stress and personality also play a big role.