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PSYC 2740 (173)
Chapter 18

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University of Guelph
PSYC 2740
Stephen Lewis

Chapter 18 Models of the Personality-Illness Connection - an early model of the personality health relationship is the interactional model which suggests that objective events happen to people, but personality factors determine the impact of those events by influencing peoples ability to cope - it is called the interactional model because personality is assumed to moderate the relationship between stress and illness; events like exposure to microbes or chronic stress cause illness, but personality factors make a person more or less vulnerable to those events - the interactional model was developed into a more complex and more realistic model-the transactional model where personality has the 3 potential effects: it can influence coping, it can influence how the person appraises or interprets the events and it can influence the events themselves - the health behaviour model adds another factor; this model states that personality does not directly influence the relationship between stress and illness but personality affects health indirectly, through health promoting or health degrading behaviours - the predisposition model holds that personality and illness are both expressions of an underlying predisposition - the illness behaviour model holds that illness behaviour is the action that people take when they think that they have an illness The concept of stress - stressors are extreme in the sense that they produce a state of feeling overwhelmed or overloaded, the one just cannot take it much longer - stressors often produce opposing tendencies, such as wanting and not wanting an activity or object - stressors are uncontrollable, outside our power to influence, such as an exam we cannot avoid - the physiological fight or flight response is just the first step in a chain of events termed the general adaptation syndrome (GAS); the stages are alarm, resistance and exhaustion - people with the most ‘stress points’ are most likely to have a serious illness - the relationship between increased stress and lowered resistance to viral and bacterial infection has been demonstrated repeatedly; stress is thought to lower the functional ability of the immune system to mount an effective response to the presence of microbes,therefore leadying to lowred immunity to infection and then illness - the major sources of stress in most peoples lives are termed daily hassles - acute stress is what most people associate with the term stress; can lead to headaches, emotional upsets, pressure, gastrointestinal disturbances, e
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