Outline and Evaluate research (theories/ and studies) into the relationship between stress and physical illness.

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Outline and Evaluate research (theories/ and studies) into the relationship between stress and physical illness. 18 marks

Stress is an example of a behavior and experience explained in physiological and psychological terms. Recently awareness has been highlighted concerning harmful effects of stress on our lives and how it can be managed and prevented. Stress is often associated with anxiety, strain, tension, distress and fatigue. The effects of stress include biochemical physiological and psychological changes, most show with ill health or unusual behavior. Therefore medical and psychological research findings in this area are crucial in aiding our understanding of the issue.

Stress is usually the way we perceive stressors e.g. divorce, and the way we feel we are able to cope with things. If we cannot cope with the situation we are faced with, then we experience psychological and physiological responses to the stressor. In the short term, stress can be quite stimulating and motivating. In the long term stress can result in illness and even death. During a state of stress, the sympathetic area of the nervous system stimulates the adrenal medulla to release the hormones adrenaline and non-adrenaline into the bloodstream. These hormones stimulate heart rate and cause the body to use extra energy resources in the body. This enables the body to deal with the stressor by activating a 'flight or fight' response. Seyle produced a model known as the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) to explain the short term effects of stress, it also helps us understand the development of stress related illnesses e.g. ulcers. He identified the following three stages of a physiological response to stress:

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- Stage 1, Alarm - When the threat or stressor is recognized as stress.

- Stage 2, Resistance – The body adpats to stressor but becomes more susceptible to damage from the stress responses.

- Stage 3, Exhaustion – The body’s systems can no longer maintain normal functioning, possibly resulting in damage to immune system or stress related illness.

There is increasing evidence that stress can cause illness by interfering with the immune system. The immune system protects the body from harmful viruses. When the stress response is activated, the activity of the immune system is slowed down. One ...

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The Quality of Written Communication is flawless. The candidate takes great care in the written expression, and there are no causes for concern with regard to spelling, grammar or punctuation anywhere in the answer. The use of Psychology--related terminology is proficient and indicates a great level of intelligence and confidence to the examiner as well. All in all a brilliant essay.

The Level of Analysis is very good. The candidate provides plenty of evidence suggesting their is a strong link between stress levels and physical illness and a balanced counter argument suggesting otherwise. The balance is required so that it shows examiner show a candidate can formed a fair evaluation of theoretical psychology with the use of empirical psychology to support the theories. There is a touch of personal awareness in the answer and, whilst not obligatory, does help the answer feels more personsalised and the candidate more invested in their answer. This is great for examiners who have to mark long essays with similar topics, and it really helps the answer stand out as a fresh, innovative style of writing, which can help the examiner become more engaged and will ultimately mark more accurately.

This answer would achieve every one of the 18 marks available for it, because the candidate reads the question, understands the task they propose, and forms and answers clearly, intelligently, and precisely pertaining to what the question asks. They use a wide variety of psychological knowledge, showing the examiner they have learnt extensively about the nature of stress and physical illness, and have shown evidence of ability to use psychological empirical evidence to fortify their answer. This indicates to the examiner a candidate with an aptitude to write analytically whilst using facts as a basis - a very confident style of writing that works on many levels to satisfy mark schemes.