• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Stress on the immune system

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Outline and evaluate research on the effects of stress n the immune system In this essay I am going to outline and evaluate research on the effect of stress on the immune system, to do this I will include Glaser's study on the effects of stress on the immune system, also Selye's study and finally I will include the methods used to reduce stress. To begin with i will talk about stress, stress is the process that occurs as individuals adjust to or deal with environmental circumstances that disrupt, or even to disrupt their physical or psychological functioning. There are also stressors this is a physical or psychological well being. The immune system on the other hand is a system that protects the body against infection, it also is known as a network of cells and chemicals that seek out and destroy invading particles. There are many effects of stress on the body, for starters there are short term effects, in this the stress is an emotion and therefore physiological reactions are similar. Also in short term effects the stress activates the hypothalamus and the pituitary in the brain, which stimulates the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and the production of ACTH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone). ACTH leads to production of adrenaline from the adrenal glands located just on the top of both kidneys. The result is ANS arousal which causes increases in heart rate, respiration, sweating and so on. ...read more.

Middle

The finding were that NK cell activity was significantly reduced in the second round in the second blood sample, taken during their final examinations, compared with the first sample which was taken one month before their final examinations, NK cell activity was most reduced in participants who also reported high levels of life events and loneliness. Glaser concluded that examination stress reduces immune function, potentially leaving the individual vulnerable to illness infections, also that the immune function is also affected by psychological variables such as the stress of life events and feelings of loneliness. These long term stressors may make individuals more vulnerable to the added effect of short term stressors such as examinations. Overall this was essentially a correlated study, so a strong conclusion about a cause and effect relationship cannot be drawn, also it was a natural experiment using a natural source of stress and therefore had reasonable ecological validity, but the students may be a special group of generalization should be made with caution. Glaser also said even short term predictable and relatively benign stressors can increase vulnerability to illness. She included individuals who have stronger close personal relationships are less likely to show adverse immunological consequences when stressed, for example when she followed students through exams she found lonelier students had lower NK cell activity than those were not lonely. In Glaser's studies she said the most consistent gender differences occurred in response to material conflict, for instance she said the relationship between adverse hormonal and immunological changes, and negative or hostile behaviours, were stronger for women than men. ...read more.

Conclusion

The pituitary gland secretes hormones that control the other glands, the most important in the stress response being the adrenal glands which are responsible for producing the adrenaline rush which is often felt in stressful situations. There are many methods used to reduce stress, some methods are physiological while the other are psychological. Lazarus and Followman distinguished between problem and emotion focused strategies. There was direct action where the problem was focused, in some case the stressor can be removed. There is also other problems where you do something else to take you mind off the problem, there is also taking control this is where a person who feels in control suffers less harmful consequences of stress, another method used to reduce stress is biofeedback and relaxation where by the emotion is focused. Other emotion focused strategies are anxiolytic drugs such as Librium and Valium act directly on ANS and synapses. Stress management programmes such as time management or assertiveness training teach people to pace themselves better and avoid stress, while a physical activity and exercise promote better circulation which strengthens the heart, Goldwater and Collins found that exercise was positively to decrease anxiety. In conclusion I have realised that stress has an effect on the body both mentally and physically, this could alter the perception of the way the person see life. Glaser found that certain stress reduces the immune function, potentially leaving the individual more vulnerable to the illness and infections, she also verifies that the immune functions is also affected psychological variables such as stress of life event and feelings of loneliness. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Physiological Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Physiological Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Managing stress through Exercise and Therapy

    3 star(s)

    This ensures that you have time to relax outside of your busy work day. The attitude to have to use time management is to concentrate on results, and not just on the activity itself. In using this attitude it should force you to embrace a range of skills that help

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Outline and evaluate research into the effects of stress on the immune system and ...

    3 star(s)

    In addition, it is known that people with no/little control over their own lives experience high levels of stress- that this research does not explain. Nonetheless, studies of stress on the immune system have also been carried out on humans and support the theory of immunosupresssion.

  1. Stress can be explained as the stimulus in the environment that triggers a stress ...

    A western stereotype has been that men are less open about their feelings. So, they may be less open about feeling stressed & more likely to use harmful coping methods like drinking & smoking.

  2. Describe and evaluate what psychological research has shown us about stress and the immune ...

    Many studies have found links between stress and the onset of illness; however measures to judge reliability of each study need be in place in order to reach a conclusion. In 1993 the study carried out by Cohen et al involved investigations into the role of general life stress on the vulnerability of the common cold virus.

  1. M.E (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)

    A GP will be able to assess the situation and discuss medication, therapies and self-help strategies that can be beneficial. Many people find that their condition woth M.E. stabilises once they accept their illness, understand how it works, and follow a realistic and achievable approach to getting better.

  2. Depression - Gender Differences.

    While women feared for physical safety, men were in fear only as far as crime against them, not necessarily that of physical endangerment. Age was influential and found to be especially true for men. Anxieties about declining health and strength were sometimes expressed and are perceived to be in direct

  1. Reticular Activating System.

    Freud believed that behaviour is an interaction of these 3 systems. With the Id being repressed by the Ego and Superego, causing anxiety during waking hours. During dreams the Superego is partially asleep And the Id can get through. The Superego Disguises the Id thoughts, (to stop nightmares.)

  2. Outline and evaluate research into the relationship between the immune system and stress.

    Due to this it can only be concluded that there is a link between stress and a suppression of immune system. No cause and effect cam therefore be established without the knowledge of a mechanical system because there is the possibility that there is another factor that effects both sets of data.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work