The Prefrontal Cortex and Stress

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The following information didn’t quite make the final cut of our new eBook: “Stress: A Student’s Guide to IB Health Psychology.”  The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is important in stress because it’s connected with the amygdala through numerous neural networks. The PFC can increase or decrease amygdala activity depending on the thoughts generated by the PFC (i.e. how threatening we think …

Key Studies: Workplace stress, status and the Whitehall Studies

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This material was in the first draft of “Stress: A Student’s Guide to IB Health Psychology.” It was removed from the final edition in favour of studies about teenagers. The information is here instead as extra optional content for extended and/or interested students. Executive Stress Syndrome Hypothesis In the 1950s and 1960s, psychologists thought that high-ranking individuals had higher stress. …

How stress can kill: The HPA Axis & Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)

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This material was in the first draft of “Stress: A Student’s Guide to IB Health Psychology.” It was removed from the final edition and the information is here instead as extra optional content for extended and/or interested students. What is stress? In laboratory experiments stress can also be measured in multiple ways, including physiological responses to the Trier Social Stress …

Key study: Subjective social status and stress in teenagers (Rahal et al. 2019)

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Social status is an important predictor of numerous mental and physical health problems. Generally speaking, the lower your social status, the more at risk you are for developing health problems, like chronic stress and heart disease. While socioeconomic status has been extensively researched, more modern studies are focusing on subjective social status. This is particularly relevant for understanding stress in teenagers. …

Example Exam Essay: Prevalence rates of one health problem (IB Health Psychology)

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Discussing “prevalence rates” is easy when you’re writing about psychological disorders. That’s because these disorders have standardized diagnoses. You can calculate a specific % of the population who have depression, for example, and that is your “prevalence rate.” It might be more difficult in Health Psychology. For some health problems the same is true. Obesity, cardiovascular disease and addiction are …

Cognitive explanations of one health problem: Appraisals and stress

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The following content is adapted from our eBook Stress: A Student’s Guide for IB Health Psychology. Stress is one health problem that students could explain for IB Psychology’s Paper Two. In this post we’ll look at the most common cognitive explanation of stress – cognitive appraisals. Humans are different from other animals in that stress can be caused completely by …

Key Study: Stress beliefs and health problems (Fischer et al., 2016)

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The following information is adapted from our eBook: IB Health Psychology – A Revision Guide. Why do people develop physical health problems? One answer could be based on stress beliefs – if you think stress is bad you might be more likely to have health problems. This was one finding from the following study.  Stress is correlated with a number …

Exam Question Bank: Paper 2: Health Psychology

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The following are a list of practice exam questions for IB Psychology’s Health Option in Paper Two. This list contains past exam questions and some written with our best guess as to what the probable exam questions may look like. You could watch this as a video here. READ MORE  IB Psychology Exam Question Banks Paper 1: Biological approach (Link) …

Key Study: Cognitive appraisals and the stress response (Lazarus, 1963)

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The most influential cognitive explanation of stress is based on “cognitive appraisals” – how we assess the relevance and potential harm of a stressor. The following study is one of many that supports this explanation. Stress is a complex phenomenon that involves biological, psychological and environmental factors. Richard Lazarus was a pre-eminent psychologist in the field of stress research. Along …