PSYC 215 Chapter Notes - Chapter Appendix: Psychological Stress, Health Psychology, Type A And Type B Personality Theory
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Appendix B Health
Health psychology: the study of physical health and illness by psychologists from
various areas of specialization
Stress and Health:
oStress is an unpleasant state of arousal that arises when we perceive that
the demands of a situation threaten or ability to cope effectively.
oEveryone experiences stress and it can be long or short term. People
cannot escape stress; however, they can cope with it.
o(Lazarus and Folkman) the stress-and-coping process is an ongoing
transaction between a person and his or her environment.
oAppraisal: the process by which people make judgments about the
demands of potentially stressful events and their ability to meet those
oCoping: efforts to reduce stress.
What Causes Stress?
oStressors: anything that causes stress.
oCrises and Catastrophes:
Natural disasters such as the earthquake in Japan and the
tsunamis at the Indian Ocean can cause the survivors to be
stressed and traumatized.
The intense stress imposed on a population by such a natural
catastrophe can also be caused by human beings such as 911 in
the U.S. Many reported to have stress symptoms such as recurring
thoughts, dreams, and memories, difficulty in falling asleep and
concentrating on work and outbursts of anger.
Other events such as war, accidents, plane crashes, death, and
abuse have similar stress effects.
High rates of psychological disorders such as anxiety, phobias,
depression, alcohol abuse, and somatic complaints are coming
among residents of areas that have been hit by these catastrophic
oMajor Life Events:
Change itself may cause stress by forcing us to adapt to new
Holmes and Rahe Social Readjustment Rating Scale: a checklist
of 43 major life events each assigned a numerical value based on
the amount of read adjustment it requires.
The idea that change is inherently stressful has an intuitive ring
about it, but there are two problems with this notion.
Although there is a statistical link between negative events
and illness, research does not similarly support the claim
that positive stressors are similarly harmful.
The impact of any change depends on who the person is
and how the change is interpreted.
Micro-stressors: The Hassles of Everyday Life
oThe accumulation of daily hassles contributes more to illness than do
major life events.
oInterpersonal conflicts are the most upsetting of our daily stressors and
have a longer-lasting impact than most others.
How Does Stress Affect the Body?
The General Adaption Syndrome (Selye):
oGeneral Adaptation Syndrome: a three-stage process (alarm, resistance,
and exhaustion) by which the body responds to stress) by which the body
responds to stress.
oAlarm Reaction (adrenaline, hormones are poured into the bloodstream,
creating physiological arousal. The body mobilizes all its resources to
ward off the threat)
oResistance stage (the body remains alert, and there’s a continuous
release of hormones)
oExhaustion stage ( if stress persist for prolonged period of times, the
body will fall into exhaustion)
oExhaustion occurs not only because our stress-fighting resources are
limited, but because their overuse causes other systems in the body to
break down, which puts us at risk for illness and even death.
oThe reason stress causes illnesses I because the response designed for
acute physical emergencies, yet we turn it on often and for prolonged
periods of time as we worry about our daily problems.
What Stress does to the Heart?
oPsychological stress that comes from work, marital troubles, and from
negative life events that plague people who lack resources encase of low
socioeconomic status are factors that increases the risk of developing a
oFriedman and Rosenman Type A personality individuals are more likely
to develop cardiovascular diseases (based on the observation that men
were more likely to develop heart diseases work stress related)
oType A personality a pattern of behavior characterized by extremes of
competitive striving for achievement, a sense of time urgency, hostility,
oThe link between Type A behavior and heart disease depends on how
people are diagnosed. Apparently, the type A behavior is more evident
when people are interviewed than we people do self-reports.
oThe primary toxic ingredient in coronary artery disease is hostility. People
who are always in a negative emotional state and are quick to exploded
are besieged by stress.
What Stress does to the Immune System
oThe immune system is a biological surveillance system that detects and
destroys “non-self” substances that invade the body.
oThe system contains more than a trillion specialized white blood cells
called lymphocytes that circulate throughout the bloodstream and secrete
chemical antibodies. They search and destroy cells protecting the body
and attacking trespassers.
oIt has been proven that compared with non-widowed controls, grief
stricken spouses exhibited a weakened immune response.
oPeople that have been sleep deprived for prolonged period of time have
weaker immune responses.
oEven people that are exposed to stressed for a short period of time shows
changes in the immune system
oBrief stressors can enhance the immune response in ways that are
adaptive in the short term, but chronic life stressors can suppress the
immune response over time, putting the organism at risk
The Links between Stress and Illness
oPeople who have endured chronic stressors that lasted more than a
month were more likely to catch a cold than those who had experienced
acute short term stress.
oThe more sociable people were in life, the more resistant thwy were to
developing the la induced cold.
oThe more positively people see themselves on the socioeconomic stats
ladder relative to others in the population regardless of their actual levels
of education, occupation, and income the less likely they were to catch the
lab induced cold.
oCancer appears more often than normal in people who are prone to being
in a negative emotional state.
oIndividuals who are clinically depressed or under great stress have
weakened immune systems and a heightened susceptibility to infectious
agents, which in some cases, may result in a higher death rate from
cancer and other diseases as well.
Processes of Appraisal