Outline and Evaluate How Stress Makes Us Ill

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‘Outline and Evaluate Research into how Stress makes us Ill’ 12 Marks Cohen (1993) investigated the role of general life stress on the common cold virus. He did an investigation on 394 participants and asked them to complete a questionnaire relating to stressful life events and the degree of stress of the participant. Following the questionnaire, the participants were then exposed to the common cold which led to 82% becoming infested with the virus. Seven days post the experiment; the numbers of those affected by the virus were collected. The results were that the chance of developing a cold correlated with stress index scores. The life event lowered the immune function and increased vulnerability to the virus. However there were several problems with this research, one of which was that it was an indirect study- there was no direct measure of the immune system for example no blood test or medical test was taken as evidence. Consequently we cannot determine how far the participant’s immune system was affected in relation to the stress. Another key problem was that there were was no direct manipulation of the independent variable so the study doesn’t tell us which element of the stress index is most important and related to the decrease in immune function. Therefore a cause and effect relationship cannot be entirely confirmed, yet a strong correlation between the life stress and the common cold occurred, and for that reason it can be assumed that they were associated with one another. On the other hand the study measured the health outcomes of the participants which proved that there was a relationship between the variables. The results show that the higher the stress index it scored, the more susceptible the participants were to the common cold which subsequently supports Cohen’s theory. Also the study was covered by rigorous ethical considerations as all
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