Stress: The physiology of stress and it's role in illness


A Level


5m 50s
In this podcast we are going to discuss the physiology of stress by looking at the general adaptation syndrome, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system and the Sympathomeduallary pathway (SAM), as well as examining the role of stress in illness through focus on immunosuppression and cardiovascular disorders’


Jean Marc Lawton


Physiology of stress & the role of stress in illness – task

  • Listen to the podcast on physiology of stress and the role of stress in illness and answer the following questions

1] Outline the three stages of Seyle’s General Adaptation Syndrome

2] Explain why Seyle’s study which involved subjecting rats to stressors suggests there is just one bodily stress system

3] Explain one criticism of Seyle’s theory

4] Outline the workings of the sympathomedullary pathway in terms of how it relates to acute stressors

5] Explain how males and females respond differently to acute stress and why this contradicts the sympathomedullary pathway explanation

6] Outline the workings of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system in terms of how it relates to chronic stressors

7] Explain the role that cortisol plays in the body’s reaction to stress

8] What is the immune system? Explain its main purpose

9] Explain what is meant by immunosuppression

10] Explain why and how stress can lead to cardiovascular disorders

  • You may find that you need to listen to the podcast more than once to achieve this

Used by British and International schools around the world