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Chapter 4 of Managing Stress

Chapter 4 Study Guide

1.Identify the term Psychoneuroimmunology.

The study of the effects of stress on disease; treats the mind, central nervous system, and immune system as one interrelated unit.

2. Discuss the research of Kiecolt and Glaser.

Their research suggests that chronic stress accelerates the aging process (which entails many diseases) through overproduction of a specific proinflammatory cytokine.

3. Describe the Borysenko model and how it explains the relationship between stress and disease. Be able to identify the disorders that Borysenko’s discusses in his model.

This model states that stress can affect our autonomic and immune system. When we are under stress our autonomic nervous system may be over responsive, and this can lead to diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease and migraines. Stress may also cause a deregulation of the immune system, which may worsen or bring on diseases such as cancer or lupus. While stress is not a single cause of disease, it interacts with our genetic and biological predispositions to disease.

4. When the autonomic nervous system releases an abundance of stress hormones, several physiological repercussions can result.

Migraines, ulcers, and hypertension

5. Discuss some of the areas that Pelletier believes should be investigated further to develop a stress disease model.

The Pelletier Model is a theory that maintains that there may be a relationship between stress and disease, but he believes further research needs to be completed before any conclusions can be made. He points to several areas that he believes should be investigated further to help develop a scientifically valid stress disease model. He cites phenomena such as multiple personalities, spontaneous remission and hypnosis as areas that might shed light on the relationship between the mind and the body.

Multiple Personality disorder

Spontaneous remission


Placebos and nocebos

Cell memory

Subtle energy


6. Describe Pert’s stress disease model and the role that neuropeptides play in the stress disease relationship.

Another stress disease model is the Pert Model. Candice Pert discovered that chemical messengers known as neuropeptides link the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) with immune cells. Her research has led her to believe that emotional responses may actually suppress or enhance the functioning of these immune cells. Thus, our emotions may have a direct effect on our body's ability to protect us from disease. Therefore, your ability to enhance your immune system may be affected by your ability to reduce your stress and enhance the expression of positive vs. negative emotional responses.

Neuropeptides (messenger hormones) produced in the brain are able to fit into receptor sites of lymphocytes, much like keys fit into a lock. This communication system is altogether different from the efferent/afferent observed between neuromuscular tissue and the brain.

7. Identify the immune system related disorders covered in chapter 4.

Common cold and influenza


Rheumatoid arthritis and lupus

Ulcers and colitis


Critical Thinking Questions

1. Pick one of the stress disease theories from this chapter and discuss how this model explains the relationship between stress and disease. These models include: Pert, Lipton, etc.

2. Do you think this model does a good job of explaining the relationship between stress and disease, why or why not?

In Chapter Four of Managing Stress we learn about the different stress disease theories. One of the stress disease theories explored is the Gerber model. The Gerber model is different from the other models because it uses a holistic approach to how stress affects disease. The Gerber model hypothesizes that “stress related-symptoms that appear in the physical body are the manifestations of ‘problems’ that have occurred earlier as a result of a disturbance at a ‘higher energy level’” (Seaward 71).

The Gerber model is based on the theory that the human energy field or the electromagnetic field exists. The human energy field is believed to have many layers and each layer represents a state of consciousness. The believed levels of consciousness are physical body, etheric body, astral body, mental body, and casual body. Gerber says that in the optimal state of health all frequencies/layers of the human energy field are in complete harmony and a disruption of that harmony will lead to illness and disease. According to the Geber model thoughts like “This grade will put me on academic probation” (Seaward 71) paired with an emotion, in this case fear, will cause a disruption that will cascade through the energy levels. The result is an effect on some part of the body like a suppressed immune system.

The Gerber model uses the seven chakras to explain the different energy levels. The model goes onto explain what a disruption in each Chakra would cause as well as what each Chakra represents. The Gerber model teaches us that each chakra is unique and different. For example the first Chakra or the root chakra is associated with issues with safety and security, a disruption in the first chakra could cause lower-back pain, sciatica, and some forms of cancer. The fifth chakra, or the throat chakra, represents communication, personal expression, creativity, willpower, and a purpose in life. A disruption in the third chakra can result in throat and mouth cancers, stiffness in the neck, migraines, and cancerous tumors.

I feel that the Gerber model does a good job of explaining the relationship between stress and disease. I found that some of the other models were too technical in nature, for example the Lipton model goes into the study of molecular mechanisms and DNA. In contrast, the Gerber model is much easier to understand; it talks about chakras and energy levels, both topics that I do not need any prior medical or scientific background knowledge to understand.

forum question

Identify and briefly discuss two physical disorders or physical symptoms caused by stress.

In Managing Stress Chapter Four Brian Seaward introduces us to many different physical disorders and physical symptoms that are brought on by stress. Tension headaches is one such disorder; they are caused by “nervous tension in the facial muscles” (Seaward 83). The symptoms include pain in the lower-back, eyes, forehead, neck, and jaw. I have experienced pain in my forehead, neck, jaw, and lower-back. I have not experienced any type of pain in my eyes as a result of a tension headache. Another physical disorder caused by stress is temporomandibular joint dysfunction, also known as TMJD. TMJD is associated with the inability to express anger, excessive gum chewing, resting one’s chin on a hand, and nail biting. The symptoms of TMJD include clenching and grinding teeth, muscle pain, clicking or popping sounds when chewing, tension headaches, and earaches.

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