Stressors – Brief vs Acute

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    Hi All,
    Quick brain-pick if you have a moment…
    Page 149 of the Nelson Thornes AS text outlines brief naturalistic stressors and acute time limited stressors and proceeds to give what seem to be the same definition (effectively) for both.
    AT-LS = 5-100minutes, usually in laboratory type conditions, e.g. public speaking, mental arithmetic.
    BNS = everyday limited duration stressors, e.g. taking exams.
    I can’t see much difference between these examples or definitions, but it seems the human immune system can.
    On page 153 and 154, the 2 seemingly identical stressor types have notably different effects on the immune system.
    Are they so different?
    Does it matter/ is it likely to pop up in an exam?

    Many thanks,


    Hi Alastair

    I believe these terms come from Elliot and Eisdorfer’s taxonomy of stressors. Acute time-limited stressors involve laboratory-based stressors such as having to confront something you aren’t comfortable with while in a controlled situation (e.g. a phobic stimulus). The stressor would then only produce a stress response for a very brief moment. Brief naturalistic stressors involve a person confronting a real-life short-term challenge, such as an academic examination, and the stress response would last as long as they are in that situation. I can’t really comment on the content of the Nelson Thornes book as this site is part of the Complete Companion series, and I don’t even have a copy of the NT book!


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