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Behavioral and Health

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Queen's University
PSYC 100

Behavioral and Health Main Goals-health promotion and maintenance -prevention and treatment of illness -etiology and correlates of health, illness, and dysfunction -analyze and improve the health care system and the formulation of health policy -the need for health psychologists has increased due to lifestyle choices -deaths used to be caused by diseases, but medicine has controlled it -now deaths are caused by heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, inactivity, obesity, alcohol use, and tobacco use- all linked to behavior Smoking -causes health problems including lung, mouth, and throat cancer, heart disease, and pulmonary diseases such as emphysema -Life expectancy of an average smoker is 7-14 years shorter than a non-smoker Obesity -caused by increased food intake, decrease in physical activity, and increase level of alcohol consumption -risen with the culture of fast food and processed, prepackaged meals -causes cosmetic problems, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and some forms of cancer Osteoarthritis- degeneration of bone and cartilage material Body Mass Index (BMI) - a statistic used for estimating a health body weight that factors in an individual’s height Positive Energy Balance- lots of calorie intake, but not enough outtake Genetics- influence body type, metabolism, and other physiological process that contribute to body weight and size Set Point-a hypothesized mechanism that serves to maintain body weight around a physiologically programed level -genetics control initial set point VS. Environment controlling actual weight Sociocultural- culture and society can influence your eating habits -the cost of health care rises with BMI -modern conveniences has reduced physical activities -Hispanic adults have a greater prevalence to obesity Psychosocial Influences on Health -health and wealth increase together -health problems are magnified by stress Discrimination- can compromise physical and mental health -interpersonal relationships impact health, especially marriage -marriage causes stress -married people tend to live longer and have better mental and physical health, and enjoys the benefits of social support, combined resources, and healthier habits -women take in recognizing and supporting health behavior in marriages -marriage problems and divorces can emotionally and physically impact children Social Contagion- often subtle, unintentional spreading of a behavior as a result of social interactions Stress and Illness Stress- a psychological and physiological reaction that occurs when perceived demands exceed existing resources to meet those demands Cognitive Appraisal Theory of Stress -process of adjusting perceptions of existing stressors as being less threatening -Richard Lazarus and Susan Folkman 1. Individual perceives a potential threat and begins the primary appraisal, by asking ‘is this a threat?’ 2. If no, they will not feel stressed, if yes, they will experience a physiological and emotional stress reaction, self-efficacy 3. Secondary appraisal, where they must cope with the threat, they will determine if they can cope with the stress or the stressor goes beyond their ability to cope Appraisal- the cognitive act of assessing and evaluating the potential threat and demands of an event -life changes can cause stress -some levels of stress can be helpful because it causes motivation Self-Efficacy-confidence that we can perform the necessary actions to reach a satisfying outcome -the more we have of it for a particular task, the more likely we are to try it, persist at it and then succeed -more confident and has a stronger immune functioning Fight-or-Flight Response-Walter Cannon -set of physiological changes that occur in response to psychological or physical threats -physical changes reflect a shift in energy away from non-emergency tasks and toward fighting or fleeing General Adaption Syndrome (GAS) - theory of stress responses involving stages: Alarm- recognition of the treat and the physiological reactions that accompany it Resistance- fighting back, then coping with the event Exhaustion- experience depletes your physical resources and your physiological stress response declines Stress Pathways Automatic Pathway- originates in the brain and extends to the body where stress is felt the most (i.e heart races, palms sweaty) -the nervous system consists of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system, which includes the autonomic nervous system,. In responses to stress, the hypothalamus stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which then causes the adrenal glands (found in a region called adrenal medulla) to release epinephrine and norepinephrine which triggers bodily changes associated with the fight-or-flight response VS. Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis- a neural and endocrine circuit that provides communication between the nervous systems (the hypothalamus), and the endocrine system (pituitary and adrenal glands) -in a stressful situation, the hypothalamus releases a substance called corticotrophin-releasing factor, which stimulates the pituitary gland to release adrenocorticotrophic hormone, which releases cortisol Cortisol- a hormone released by the adrenal cortex that prepares the body to respond to stressful circumstances Three types of stress responses: Physiological Response: Short-term-fight or flight response -activation of the sympathetic nervous system -releases adrenaline and cortisol through the HPA axis -increased heart rate, blood sugar levels, and breathing, slowing digestion Long-term-negative health effects -weaker immune system Psychological- fear Behavioral Response Oxytocin Tend and Befriend- a response where stress causes people to seek close contact and social support Oxytocin-a stress-sensitive hormone that is typically associated with maternal bonding and social relationships -men and women are both influenced -women are more influenced because of their responsibility to avoid harm and protect offspring under stressful circumstances -high epinephrine and low cortisol levels are associated with elevated stress Stress, Immunity, and Illness Psychoneuroimmunology- study of the relationship between immune system and nervous system functioning -stress and physical health are closely related -relationship between intimate relationships and physical health -exams bad for you Coronary Heart Disease-a condition where cells gather cholesterol and form plaques that form in the blood vessels that supply the heart with blood and oxygen, resulting in restricted blood flow -caused by high stress levels, anger, anxiety, hostility, and
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