Psychology discussing stress

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Stress is a transaction between the individual and their environment. An event only becomes a stressor when a person perceives or interprets it as such. A good is ‘divorce’. One person may see as being brilliant, a relief. The other may see this calamity. The person who sees the divorce as a calamity will probably be experience as a stressor. Stress as a transaction sees stressors and the stress response resulting from the meanings and interpretations people give to the events and their ability to cope with these events.

If these people cant cope they will experience psychological and physiological aspects of the stress response. Task Two What did Walter Cannon mean by ‘fight or flight’ response? Walter Cannnon’s (1932) idea of the fight or flight response gives us an understanding of the relationship between arousal and stress. Cannon saw the flight or fight response as a reaction to stressors.

The fight or flight response sees stress as a biologically based survival mechanism which evolved prepared the body for rapid activity. Task Three How are the autonomic nervous and the endocrine system involved in stress behaviour? The processes of the brain are involved in every aspect of stress behaviour from interpreting an event as a stressor to organising and directing stress responses.

Below are some of the brain processes that are involved. Our brains receive information from the outside world through our senses: – Sight – Hearing – Smell – Touch – Taste The information is processed, interpreted, organised and given meaning.

We make decisions about how to respond to incoming information. Both the interpretation of an event as a stressor and the activation of the stress response are directed by the nervous system. An understanding of stress therefore requires an understanding of how the nervous system works. The autonomic system is in charge of a variety of functions that keep the body in a suitable and stable state. This includes the control of heart rate, perspiration, eye sensitivity and digestion. All of these functions are involved in the stress response.

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