Exam-style Questions: Stress

  1. Explain what psychologists mean by the term 'stress'.

    (Marks available: 3)

    Answer

    Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 1

    Here is a mark scheme - greater detail will earn more marks:

    3 marks Stress is an alarm reaction, involving heightened mental and bodily states - it is both a psychological and a physiological response to the environment. Your brain produces a stress reaction - a cascade of stress hormones (for example, adrenaline and cortisol) when you are in a situation that is physically or mentally demanding. Stress occurs the demands of a situation seem greater than your ability to cope.
    2 marks Stress is a psychological and physiological response to the environment. It occurs when we are presented with demanding conditions.
    1 mark Stress is experienced when the demands of a situation exceed the ability to cope.

    (Marks available: 3)

  2. Describe one research study into the relationship between stress and physical illness.

    (Marks available: 6)

    Answer

    Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 2

    There are many studies into the relationship between stress and physical illness (for example, effects on the immune and cardiovascular systems). Remember to stick to physical illnesses rather than psychological disorders.

    The following table gives you a mark scheme:

    5-6 marks Detailed description of aim, method, results, conclusions and implications of study or area of research.
    3-4 marks Description of study or area of research lacks detail and/or some aspects of study are omitted.
    1-2 marks Simple or anecdotal description of relationship between stress and illness.

    (Marks available: 6)

  3. Assess one physiological and one psychological method of coping with the negative effects of stress.

    (Marks available: 12)

    Answer

    Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 3

    You will be awarded a maximum of 6 marks for your assessment of each method of coping with the negative effects of stress. Physiological approaches include drugs and biofeedback and psychological methods include stress inoculation therapy (SIT) and meditation.

    Make sure you include one physiological and one psychological method.

    The following table gives a break down of the marks for each assessment:

    9-12 marks You have provided a thorough assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your chosen methods of coping with the negative effects of stress. You have compared the relative merits of the two methods.
    5-8 marks You have provided a fair assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your chosen methods of coping with the negative effects of stress.
    1-4 marks You have provided basic analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of your chosen methods of coping with the negative effects of stress. There is only superficial evaluation.

    (Marks available: 12)