PSYC 2301 C
Week One: Lectures + Reading
Health Psychology: is devoted to understanding psychological influences on how people stay
healthy, why they become ill, and how they respond when they do get ill.
Health: A complete state of physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence
of disease and infirmity. It is an achievement involving balance among physical, mental, and
^Two important aspects of the definition:
1. Health embraces a state of wellness and is not simply the absence of illness. Health is
more than just not being sick. Someone can look great on the outside but they smoke,
drink and do not exercise. They may not be sick, but they may not be healthy.
2. Health is not something that is just at the physical level of cells, muscles, etc, but also
covers mental and social status. There are different parts of health that all interact like
physical health and mental health. Social relationships can also affect the physical health
(example: if someone suffers a break up, it will affect their health).
Illness is not caused by one factor. For example, aids is caused by a virus (which means that a
physical part of the body is being affected, the immune system). But aids is also caused by other
things other than just physical functions. Someone who engages in more risky behavior might be
exposed to it, or someone who is poor (there are more causes than just that viral infection, there
are more factors that lead to diseases such as aids).
Health Psychologists: focus on health promotion and maintenance (such as promoting regular
exercise). Health psychologists also study the aspects of the prevention and treatment of illness
(teach people how to manage stress effectively). They also focus on etiology and correlates of
health, illness, and dysfunction. They're interested in behavioral and social factors that contribute
to health or illness and dysfunction. Lastly health psychologists attempt to improve the health
care system and the formulation of health policy.
Academic side: scientists who research the area. They make findings, they write a thesis
and learn how to study health in a focused way.
Applied side: take findings and make change. Promote health and illness prevention. Do
it at 2 levels:
1. Socio level (government policy, community)
2. Individual level (clinical health psychologist).
Etiology: refers to the origins or causes of illness.
Acute disorders: short term medical illnesses, often the result of a viral or bacterial invader and
usually amenable to cure. Chronic illnesses: slowly developing diseases with which people live for a long time. They
often cannot be cured and are usually managed.
Epidemiology: is the study of the frequency, distribution, and cause of infectious and
noninfectious disease in a population.
Morbidity: refers to the number of cases of a disease that exist at some given point in time.
Mortality: refers to the number of deaths due to particular diseases.
Case studies: in depth analysis of one individual.
Correlational studies: yield degree of relationship between two variables. They
correlate/associate two things. For example people who are hostile are more likely to have a
heart disease. The problem is that you don't know what came first, heart disease then hostility, or
hostility then heart disease.
Cross-Sectional Study Designs: Provides data on an entire population at one point in time. It is
a "picture" of a population at that one time. It can describe a feature of the population
(prevalence of illness), compare groups (age groups, disease groups), assess
associations/correlations (alcohol consumption related to liver disease).
Longitudinal design/ Prospective research: to gather data on the course of health or disease
over time. It tracks the same people over a long period of time. It reveals the order of events
(unlike correlation studies!). You survey people every 5 years and see what happens to them.
The only problem is that it costs a lot of money.
Experimental Designs: examines differences between experimentally manipulated groups. You
separate people into 2 groups, one group gets a treatment and the other doesn't. You then study
and see if there is a difference between the two groups (did the treatment work?). This is also
similar to randomized clinical trials.
Retrospective research: A research strategy whereby people are studied for the relationship of
past variables or conditions to current ones. Interviewing people with a particular disease and
asking them about their childhood health behaviors or exposure to risks can identify conditions
leading to an adult disease.
Qualitative research: A research method that can provide a rich understanding of the
experiences and factors related to the research question because it includes hte individual's voice
and perspective. Common forms of qualitative research include interviews, focus groups, case
studies, and open-ended questions on surveys. Early "health":
Centuries ago, people used to believe that disease came from:
Sorcery: witch cast a spell
Breach of social taboo: swore, cheated on your spouse, when you do these things back
then they'd think that you are 'sick'
Object intrusion: some object has entered your body and caused your illness. Such a
stick or hair
Supernatural possession: your body was taken over by a demon, and that made you
Losing one's soul
Treatment was very peculiar. If they thought an object was inside of you, they'd use sucking
powers, or they would burn witches, or they would try to drive the spirit out.
Treatment was more or less linked to the 'cause'
Trephination: drill a hole in someone's skull, apparently cures one of possession.
The ancient Greeks used to visit temples to be cured by the god of medicine, Asclepius. People
went to this temple and prayed, they used to make sacrifices hoping the god will heal them.
Hippocrates proposed the humoral theory, it was later expanded upon by Galen.
Humoral Theory: A view that disease occurs when four fluids (blood, black bile, yellow bile,
and phlegm) of the body are out of balanced. Depending on how much fluid a person had, it
determined their personality. When the fluids are imbalanced, it caused disease and
temperament. Viewed mental and physical health as closely related. Treatment attempted to
balance the fluids to restore balance. Tied the fluids closely to personality. So in essence the
Greeks ascribed disease states to bodily factors but believed that these factors can also have an
impact on the mind.
Hippocrates was moving in the right direction because he was saying that health had to do with
Eastern Medicine has a similar concern with balance and harmony. The easterners practiced the
idea of restoring balance.
Traditional Chinese medicine consisted of looking at signs (of the body) to see if there is a
pattern. Once they figure out the pattern (by looking at the pulse, skin temperature, sleep habits,
etc), they cna come up with a treatment based on that pattern.
Some methods of healing include: stop drinking cold water, prescribe herbal medications.
Middle ages: During the middle ages, the people went back to spirituality and left the 'balance' idea. They
were heavily concerned with religious and spiritual matters. Directed attention away from
They believed that God was in a divine decision.
You were sick because you were not close to God.
God was going to cure you in those days.
God was considered to be the 'divine physician'
People did pilgrimage to get closer to God so they can find a cure. People travelled far
distances to places where think they'll be closer to God (visiting were Jesus was born
Hospice: early hospital
During the 1400s, people started to take a look at the body (by performing dissections and
autopsies). It was peculiar to cut the body open because they believed you had a spirit inside of
Leonardo Da Vinci was very famous for performing autopsies. He drew a lot of pictures of the
The first text book on human anatomy was published in the 1500s.
Blood was thought of as liquidized moods that feeds the muscle.
Amputation, dressing woods, and artificial limbs were made in the late 1500s.