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Chapter 13

PSYC 1F90 Chapter Notes - Chapter 13: Psychoneuroimmunology, Autonomic Nervous System, Reaction Formation

Course Code
John Mitterer

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Chapter 13: Health, Stress and Coping
Health Psychology
Health psychology: study of the ways in which behavioral
principles can be used to prevent illness and promote health
Behavioral medicine: the study of behavioral factors in medicine,
physical illness, and medical treatment (pain control, coping with
chronic illness, stress related diseases, self screening)
Behavioral Risk Factors
People in the current time typically die from lifestyle diseases
(diseases related to health damaging personal habits such as
heart disease, stroke and lung cancer)
Behavioral risk factors: behaviors that increase the chances of
disease, injury or premature death
Most behavioral risks can be reduced, ex. 440,000 people die a
year from smoking related diseases, being overweight doubles
the chances of dying from heart disease of cancer while 65% of
Americans are overweight
Behavioral risk factors include high stress levels, untreated high
blood pressure, cigarette smoking, abuse of alcohol, overeating,
lack of exercise, unsafe sexual behavior, excess sun exposure
and violence
Disease prone personality: a personality type associated with
poor health; marked by persistent negative emotions, including
anxiety, depression and hostility
Unhealthy lifestyles usually lead to multiple risks
Health Promoting Behaviors
Lifestyle diseases can often be combatted by small changes (ex.
hypertension or high blood pressure can be reduce by consuming
less sodium or salt)
Health promoting behaviors include exercise, limited alcohol and
smoking, a balanced diet, good medical care and managing
Both healthy and unhealthy behaviors can be a2ected by those
around you
Early Prevention
The best way to avoid the health risks associated with smoking is
to prevent it (only 1 in 10 smokers is has long term success when

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Refusal skills training: program that teaches youths how to resist
pressures to begin smoking, and can also be applied to other
drugs and health risks
Life skills training: a program that teaches stress reduction, self-
protection, decision making, self-control and social skills
Community Health
Community health campaign: a community wide education
program that provides information about how to lessen risk
factors and promote health
E2ective campaigns often provide role models to show people
how to improve their health
Health campaigns may reach people through media, public
schools, health fairs, worksites, or self-help programs
Positive Psychology: Wellness
Wellness: a positive state of good health; more than the absence
of disease
Those who attain wellness are both physically and
psychologically healthy
They usually have supportive relationships, do meaningful work
and live in a clean environment
Stress: the mental and physical condition that occurs when a
person must adjust or adapt to the environment (work pressures,
marital problems, 9nancial woes, travel, sports, dating etc)
Stress can be a major behavioral risk factor if it is prolonged or
severe but isn’t always bad
A healthy lifestyle may include a fair amount of
stress) through activities that are challenging, rewarding and
Stress is a matter of how people perceive or react to events,
meaning it can be managed and controlled
Stress reaction: the physical response to stress, consisting
mainly of bodily changes related to autonomic nervous system
Short term
stresses rarely do damage, but
long term
stresses can
be harmful
General Adaptation Syndrome
General adaptation syndrome (GAS): a series of bodily reactions
to prolonged stress; occurs in three stages; alarm, resistance and

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The body responds the same way to any stress
Alarm reaction: 9rst stage of the GAS, during which bodily
resources are mobilized to cope with a stressor
Stage of resistance: second stage of the GAS, during which
bodily adjustments to stress stabilize, but at a high physical cost
Stage of exhaustion: third stage of the GAS, at which time the
body’s resources are exhausted and serious health
consequences occur
Emotional signs
: anxiety, apathy, irritability, mental fatigue
Behavioral signs:
avoidance of responsibilities, extreme
behavior, self neglect, poor judgment
Physical signs:
excessive worry about illness, frequent
illness, exhaustion, overuse of medicines, physical ailments
If stress cannot be relived, a
psychosomatic disease
, serious loss
of health or complete collapse could occur
Stress, Illness and the Immune System
Psychoneuroimmunology: study of the links among behavior,
stress, disease and the immune system
The immune system is weakened during stress, which explains
why physical illness can accompany stress
When is Stress a Strain?
Stressor: a speci9c condition or event in the environment that
challenges or threatens a person
adds to stress
Pressure: a stressful condition that occurs when a person must
meet urgent external demands or expectations
People generally feel more stress when they do not feel in
Emotional shock are intense or repeated, unpredictable,
uncontrollable and linked to pressure
Burnout: a job related condition of mental, physical and
emotional exhaustion
Appraising Stressors
Stress depends on how you perceive an event
If a stressor is perceived as a
, a powerful stress reaction
Primary appraisal: deciding if a situation is relevant to oneself
and if it is a threat
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