Stress Related Illness

Flashcards by , created over 6 years ago

Psychology (Stress) Flashcards on Stress Related Illness, created by smita089 on 04/16/2013.

Created by smita089 over 6 years ago
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Question Answer
Explain the process of the immune system. 1. Create a barrier to prevent antigens entering - e.g. mucus in your airways. 2. Detecting and eliminating antigens if they do enter the body before it can reproduce, preventing you from getting ill. 3. Eliminating the antigen once it has started to reproduce, i.e. getting you better once the virus/illness has started.
What is the role of cortisol in the immune system? Under-vigilance - lets infections enter without being dealt with effectively. Over-vigilance - the immune system mistakenly attacks cells which are not antigens, creating illness.
Explain a piece of research into stress related illness due to chronic stressors. Malarkey et al (1994) - 90 newlyweds 24 hour period discussion to resolve marital issues. Changes in adrenaline and noradrenaline, poor immune. Kiecolt and Glaser (1987) - women separated with matched married controls. Poorer immune functioning in women recently separated. Kiecolt and Glaser (2005) - blister wounds on arms of married couples healed slower after conflicting discussions discussions not supportive.
Explain a piece of research into stress related illness due to acute stressors. Kiecolt-Glaser et al (1984) - medical students exams, blood samples month before and during exam period. NK cell activity reduced in exam period.
Evaluate the explanation of stress related illness. Research Support: Segerstrom and Miller (2004) - 293 studies over previous 30 years. Acute stress; boost immune system, chronic stress; supress immune system. Marucha et al (1998) - punch biopsies students summer and 3 days before exams. Took 40% longer to heal near exams. Stress Can Enhance Immune System: Evans et al - short term stress can increase levels of slgA, which help protect against infection. Individual Differences: Kiecolt-Glaser et al - women show more adverse immunological changes in the way they react to chronic stressors. Segerstrom and Miller - as people age, stress has greater effect on immune system functioning making it harder for body to regulate itself. Not Simple Relationship: Lazarus (1992) - suggested a number of reasons why it is difficult to establish a relationship between stress and illness; Health is affected by many factors. E.g. lifestyle may affect health and stress. This is a problem of using correlational data. Health is slow to change, so is difficult to show the effect of specific stressors. For long term effects, longitudinal research would have to be conducted. This is expensive and time consuming so is not done often.