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Steven Olsen
Steven Olsen, Therapist
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12. Discuss the General Adpation Syndrom by Hans Seyle and

Resolved Question:

12. Discuss the General Adpation Syndrom by Hans Seyle and how it affects the ageing adult? Why do we "weather" life's stressors better as we age? This is a two part question.

13. What role of genetic in the disparities between ethnic groups and age groups in health? What did the Bell Curve (book) tell us about genetics?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Steven Olsen replied 5 years ago.

The GAS, or General Adaptation Syndrome is a principle of stress response that has been a basis for many articles and aspects of stress research. Essentially it states that the human body responds similarly to stressful conditions, and it is only the attitude of the person under stress that causes the perception of that stress to be different.


Simply said, stress is the same from your body's viewpoint, but your mind tells you if the stress is good or bad. For example: Getting a cavity filled at the dentist can be stressful. Your heart rate goes up as well as blood pressure. Your skin sweats more. Your stomach may be upset; and your mind tells you...this is unpleasant. Now, same person at an amusement park: They are about to get on a roller coaster. Blood pressure goes up; hands sweat. heart rate increases, exactly the same as the dentist's office. But, in this case the mind of the person says that this stress is "fun".


The GAS was instrumental in the design of modern stress surveys such as the Life Change Index Scale which shows that all stress, pleasant or otherwise, is still stress. So vacations and so on are stressful, even though pleasant from a mind/attitude perspective.


The second question looks at how genetic differences and age are related. This question is based on the fact that all normal bell curves show one key thing. The more you measure something the more the rule of central tendency takes over.


Simply, the more you study genetic and ethic issues in health, as the population of the study group goes up, the more you will find that the "tails" of the curve move toward the middle or average.


Again, simply said, culture and genetics and aging have less to do with health than other factors such as exercise and diet, which can affect all groups in a positive way. So, just because someone is Asian or African or European does not matter as much health wise as other life facts such as diet, occupation and exercise. Steven

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