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To what extent does research show a relationship between stress and physical illness?

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Introduction

To what extent does research show a relationship between stress and physical illness? In psychology, a person's stress is individual; it is unique and specific to them. This is because what other people may find stressful, others might not. So to be their reaction to stress and the effect it has on their bodies. But, what evidence is there to show that there is a relationship between stress and physical illness? How does stress cause illness? *Directly .by reducing the body's ability to fight illness. *Indirectly, by leading the stressed individual to adopt an unhealthy life style e.g. increased smoking and drinking. Those in society with stressful and time consuming jobs suffer physical illness as a result of their job. Cobb and Rose (1973) found that a significant relationship between hypertension and the degree of stress experienced by air traffic controllers. ...read more.

Middle

Life events are major factors in stress and what form of physical illness a person gets aft wards. Rahe et al (1974) investigated the link between coronary heart disease and stress in Finnish CHD patients. Some of the patients survived others died. In order to monitor this, life data was collected from the patients or from the relatives of those who had died. This data showed that they had experienced an increase in life changes. There was a way in which life evens and their effects were recorded. Holmes and Rahe (1967) examined 5000 patients' records; from this they devised a list of 43 questions. These questions varied in seriousness .This were then made into a test that a patient could take, using just a pencil and paper, on the understanding that the answerers were to be honest. ...read more.

Conclusion

Friedman and Rosenman (197) found that people who where time pressured, highly stressed and prone to anger and hostility were at risk of CHD than those who were more relaxed. Type A behaviour were on the "High risk way" of behaving. 70% of those with those with CHD were classified as Type A .Later studies have found that there is a link between type A behaviour and CHD. To conclude, I think that there is a very strong link between stress and physical illness. I believe that the research shown is sufficient, and you can see from a broad band of studies, that stress and life changes can make you feel a certain way, leading to stress. I think that the more stress a person has encountered in their life, the greater the risk of physical illness. This is due to the fact that their immune system is damaged, so that they cannot fight disease as efficiently. Laura Walton` ...read more.

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