You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or sign in to view the full course.

Psychopathology – The Impacts of Stress

1. The Physiology of Stress

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or sign in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


This first lecture is on the physiology of stress, introduced by recognising that a stressor takes the body out of its default state of homeostasis, requiring it to return to that state once the stressor has passed – a process Hans Selye coined as General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS). The lecture then splits into discussion of two stress response systems, the fast sympathetic adrenomedullary system (SAM) and the slow hypothalamus pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis. Dr Tomova elaborates on the biological steps in each of these systems, the functional outcomes for the body, and how those outcomes tie into the stress response being referred to as the ‘fight or flight’ response. The last part of this lecture approaches the negative outcomes of chronic stress. These include immune function suppression, increased blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol levels, arterial plaque build-up, and engagement with unhealthy behaviours e.g., smoking and overeating.


In this course, Dr Livia Tomova (University of Cambridge) explores the topic of stress. The first lecture discusses the physiological stress response, detailing the key hormones, organs and neurotransmitters involved in these complicated biological processes. The second lecture looks at sources of stress and the methods researchers have used to measure someone’s stress level or response. The third lecture expands on this by outlining individual differences in people’s responses to stressful situations, focusing on the concepts of hardiness and personality types. The fourth lecture describes four key methods for coping with stress: drug therapies, cognitive behavioural therapies, biofeedback, and social support. The fifth and final lecture explores how stress can impact cognition, specifically memory processes.

Note: Dr Livia Tomova is currently looking for 16-19 year old males in the Cambridge area to take part in a research project looking at how being alone affects young people’s cognition. Click here for more information.


Dr Livia Tomova is a research associate in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, with an interest in how stress, loneliness and social isolation affect the brain and mind. Dr Tomova’s current research focuses on biological markers indicating vulnerability to the effects of isolation and loneliness in adolescents and young adults. Her recent publications include investigations into how social isolation can evoke cravings in the brain akin to the hunger response, and how acute stress can alter value representation. Dr Tomova’s other research interests include whether social media can fulfil social needs.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Tomova, L. (2021, December 03). Psychopathology – The Impacts of Stress - The Physiology of Stress [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Tomova, Livia. "Psychopathology – The Impacts of Stress – The Physiology of Stress." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 03 Dec 2021,

Get instant access to over 4,000 lectures