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Discuss the relationship between stress and illness

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Discuss the relationship between stress and illness Stress can be defined in many different ways but one of the major definitions accepted in psychological circles is the dynamic interaction between the person and their environment. The transactional model of stress states that stress arises when the person perceives that s/he is unable to cope adequately with the demands being made on them or cope adequately with threats to their well-being (Lazarus, 1981), when coping is of importance to them (Cox, 1987) and when they are anxious or depressed about it (Cox & Ferguson, 1991). A great deal of research has been done on the effects of stress on mental and physical well-being and has consistently shown that prolonged stress has a negative effect on the body and can lead to illness. For example: One of the first researchers to make this link was Selye (1956) who, based on his experimental research with animals into the relationship between prolonged stress and illness, produced a theory known as the general adaptation syndrome (also known as GAS). ...read more.


3) on the perceived stress scale, the carers did actually indicate that they were feeling more stressed. The researchers concluded that the findings support the view that chronic stress depresses the functioning of the immune system and that this, in turn, makes the sufferer more prone to ill health. Research has shown that one significant source of stress is the workplace. Furthermore research has shown that work related stress can result in serious consequences for the both employees - including ill health and low job satisfaction - and employers - such as high rates of absenteeism and the financial burden on employers associated with this. For example: Cobb and Rose (1973) studied the medical records for air traffic controllers and second-class airmen were studied. The air traffic controllers had higher blood pressure compared with the airmen. There was found a relationship between high blood pressure and the amount of air traffic the controllers handled. There was matching for age, as blood pressure increases with age. Researchers have identified that one source of stress in modern life, including the workplace, is daily hassles. ...read more.


research also found a significant positive correlation between daily hassles and negative psychological effects such as anxiety, depression, and distress and a significant negative correlation between daily hassles and self-worth. Luthar and Zigler (1991) have carried out research which has suggested that daily hassles may provide a better predictor of illness than major life events (e.g. death of a spouse, divorce). They suggest that this is because knowledge of major life changes tells us very little about the day-to-day events that can lead to stress and therefore probable illness. Technology in the workplace has also been shown to be a source of stress, for example: The Kensington Stress and Technology Group (1999) surveyed 501 American adults in full-time, traditional and home-based office workers. The findings showed that nearly 46% of the workers said that their level of work stress had increased in the past year and more specifically 47% said that this was specifically because of the demands of technology such as voice and e-mail demands, computer crashes, etc. Therefore according to the Survey, technology is a double-edged sword that enhances workplace productivity at the cost of increasing stress on workers. In conclusion most research appears to suggest that there is a strong relationship between stress and illness. ...read more.

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