Discuss 2 Physiological, Psychologists or Social Aspects of Stress

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In this essay I am going to discuss the physiological and social aspects of stress. Stress happens when a person’s perceived environmental, social, or physical demands exceed their perceived ability to cope. Stress can affect anyone at any time. An example of a physiological aspect of stress is the effect that stress has on the immune system. When we feel stress there are 2 stress response systems that can be triggered to help us cope with the stress, it depends how great the stress is as to which system gets triggered. If it’s an acute stress (a stress that doesn’t last long but is intense) the SAM system is activated. In cases of chronic stress, which is stress that is long lasting but less intense, the HPA/ACTH system is activated. Both of these stress response systems have a direct effect on the body’s immune system. The immune system is there to protect the body from infections and viruses and research has been carried out that shows that, stress can suppress the immune system. The immune system may become under-vigilant; which lets in infections or over-vigilant which could make us ill. A study that tried to test the idea of stress suppressing the immune system was the Marucha et al experiment in 1998. Marucha was trying to test the effect an acute stressor had on the immune system. They inflicted a ‘punch biopsy’ in the mouths of students during the summer holidays and recorded how long it took to heal, then did the same thing 3 days before an exam. The results were that the wounds inflicted 3 days before the exam took 40% longer to heal than the holiday wounds. In this experiment the independent variable was when the blister was inflicted and the dependent variable was how long it took to heal. These results show that even something as predictable as exam stress can have a negative effect on the immune system. Marucha’s study was helpful because it made a
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