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Stress – Defining and Measuring Stress

2. How the Body Responds to Stress

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In this module, we think about the physiological processes our body undergoes when confronted with a stressor. We explore the role of the sympathomedullary (SAM) pathway in mounting the initial fight or flight response and of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in maintaining the body’s response to threat over a longer period of time. Next, we think about what assistance we can provide to those who have been exposed to an acute stressor, for example in a life-threatening situation. We discuss the importance of providing both medical and psychological care, focussing in particular on the concept of ‘psychological first aid’ as proposed by Alexander (2005).


In this course, Dr Sarita Robinson (University of Central Lancashire) discusses the topic of stress. We begin, in module one, by thinking about how we can define stress before moving on to examine how the body responds to stress in module two. Module three looks at the impact stress has on our health and well-being, while module four explores different methods of measuring stress. Finally, in module five, we think about how we can manage and cope with stressful situations.


Sarita Robinson (Psychology BSc - Lancaster University; Cognitive Sciences MSc - Manchester University) completed her PhD in Cognitive and Neuroimmune Responses to Threat at Lancaster University before joining the School of Psychology at UCLan in 2005. Sarita’s research interests mainly focus on cognitive neuropsychology and psychobiology in relation to people in survival situations. Sarita is also interested in the link between dental health and Alzheimer’s disease, the health benefits of Green space and Post-Traumatic Growth after trauma. Sarita is also passionate about science communication and undertakes extensive public engagement work.

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APA style

Robinson, S. (2019, November 28). Stress – Defining and Measuring Stress - How the Body Responds to Stress [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Robinson, S. "Stress – Defining and Measuring Stress – How the Body Responds to Stress." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 28 Nov 2019,

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