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Lecture 8

PSYB10H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Thyroid Cancer, Melanoma, Testicular Cancer

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Health Psychology: Lecture #8
Challenge midterm by 5:30 Friday
Issues surrounding chronic illness
- Quality of life
- Changing self
- Adjustment
The Scope of the issue
At any given time 58% of Canadian population has some chronic condition
- 81% of senior population
Accounts for 2/3 of Canada’s health spending
Spectrum of chronic conditions= mild (partial hearing loss) to severe and life
threatening (cancer, diabetes)
Self-management: patient’s involvement in their illness
- Medication, changes to their life, coping…
Chronic conditions are more common among lower-income Canadians, women and seniors
Bar graph from the textbook
Females have more chronic illness than males do.
There is an effect of socio-economic status, age and gender
What is the impact of chronic disease?
1. Causes premature death
- 2005: >60% of deaths globally result from chronic disease
- Prevalence rates highest in developed countries
2. Economic and social burden to families, communities and society
- Direct (health care) + indirect (disability) cost of chronic disease
- $10 billion diabetes, $18 billion cancer, $20 billion arthritis
3. Compromise quality of life
Quality of life
Historically measured only by length of life and signs of disease
- No consideration of psychological or social effects
- Psychological distress often experienced by chronically ill
Quality of life: degree to which a person is able to maximize their functioning
- Physical: limit activities? Pain? Energy?
- Psychological: depression? Anxiety?
- Vocational: return to work?

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- Social: limit interactions? Intercourse?
Why do we need to study quality of life (QOL) among the chronically ill?
1. Document effects of illness
- Basis for interventions designed to improve quality of life
2. Pinpoint which particular problems patients with particular disease may expect
3. Address impact of treatments on quality of life
4. Quality of life information can be used to compare therapies
5. Inform decision-makers: which treatment maximizes survival and quality of life
How is the “self” is changed by the diagnosis?
How is the self changed by chronic illness?
Mental self= physical self, achieving self, social self, and private self
Our image of ourselves can suffer.
Physical self
Body image: perception and evaluation of physical functioning
- Poor body image low self-esteem, increased likelihood of depression and
- Influences adherence to treatment and how willing patient is to adopt co-
management role in treatment
- Can be improved through psychological and educational intervention
Achieving self
Most of us gain a sense of achievement from our jobs or leisurely activities
- Brokered a deal today
- Saved a patients life
- Got on A on my midterm
- Ran marathon at personal best time
Illness limits work & non-work activities reduced achievement
Self-concept suffers
Social self
Illness limit social interactions
Hard to rebuild social relationships
Family and friends= source of self-esteem
Source of support
Fears about withdrawal of support among most common worries of chronically ill
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