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Chapter 16

PSYC 3110 Chapter Notes - Chapter 16: Cognitive Model, Social Representation, Ingroups And Outgroups

Course Code
PSYC 3110
Kieran O' Doherty

of 4
Chapter 16: 366-379
Cognitive Approaches
Illness Perceptions
Howard Leventhal (1989)- created the most developed cognitive model of illness
o From work on the ompact of dear communication
o No matter the level of fear, the message coveyed was effective if a plan
of action came withit
o Key factor how the treat was represented or understood
o Dual processing model was created
Dual processing model- when faced with a threat, a cognitive and emotional
representation of the threat is created
o End up coping the way they have it represented
Self regulation model- thoughts on illneesss could be organized along four
o Identity- signs, symptoms, and the illness label
o Consequence- perceived physical, social and economic consequences of
the disease and the felt emotional consequences
o Causes- perceived causes of the disease
o Time line- perceived tiem frame for the development and duration of the
illness threat
Common sense model (CSM)- Lau and Hartman added a fifth dimension for
those resistant to treatment
o Cure/control- extent to which the illness is responsive to treatment
Illness perception questionnaire (IPQ)- measured the orginal five dimensions
o Originally used to investigate relationship of illness representations and
work behavioour after a heart attack
Illnss beliefs are formed by information before becoming ill
Revised illness perception questionnaire- created a measure of “illness
coherence” and emotional representations of illness
o Look at how illness makes sense as a whole
o Divided the cure/control dimension into ‘personal control’ and
‘treatment control’
Allowed a distinguishment of perceived control of the illness and
of the treatment
Illness representations are not just the patients perspective but also
interpersonal and cultural experiences
Highest distress found among women who reported low levels of controllability
when their partner reported high controllability
Causes of Disease
Perceived cause is one of the central components of Leventhal’s original model
Attribution theory- psychological interest how people explain the onset of
o People attempt to create causal explanations for events in their world
Especially if they are unexpected
Swartzman (1996)- looked at the character og causal explanations of physical
o Originally discovered 14 categories
o Labeled three dimensions
Non physical-physical
o Four Factors labeled
Health related
Phenomenological Approaches
Explore participants perspective on the world instead of confirming that of the
o Researcher should adopt an open ended qualitative approach to research
Try to understand subjective experience of the patient in their own words
Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
o Developed by Smith 1996
o Human characteristic is a tendency towards self reflection
o No structure
o Need to describe from the perspective of another
o Four super-ordinate themes:
Relationship with the body
Personal challenges
Impact of relationship
Changing and adapting
o Women tend to identify complex causes of a disease and link them to
their everyday lives
o Most use semi-structured interviews with first hand accounts of health
Illness narratives
o Intrinsic part of making sense of the world
o Enables the person to give meaning to their constantly changing world
o People generate stories about illness experiences
Enables people to grasp its meaning and try to control it
o Frank (1995)- three parts to illness narratives
Restitution narratives- participant minimized the experience of
illness (just temporary)
Chaos narrative- ill person loses a sense of order in their life and is
unable to develop a way of dealing
Quest narrative- illness is a challenge to be met
o Ezzy (2000)- extension to Frank
Restitutitive linear narratives- future controlled through current
Chaotic linear- no prospect of exerting control
Polyphonic- emphasis on present rather than the future
o Written narratives seem to be becoming more popular accounts
o Autoethnography- reflection on the researchers own experiences
Chapter 16: 384-386
Social Approaches
Social Representations of Health and Illness
Social is the centre of the process of sense making of health issues
Concerned with the process of how representations are created in social
Look at content of representations and how they operate to shape engagement
in the world
Herzlich (1973)- central concept of health and illness beliefs is activity
o For most people:
Healthy- active
Unhealthy- inactive
o Three reactions to illness:
As destructive: experience of those actively involved in society
As liberator: experience of those with excessive social obligations
As an occupation: experience of those who accept illness and feel
they must contribute to its alleviation
Original theory included science in shaping common sense
Western society- biomedicine is important in shaping understandings of health
and illness
Many are interested in how media reports illnesses and how people understand
o Transforms scientific thinking into everyday language
Moscovici (1984)- two processes
o Anchoring- unfamiliar concepts are given meaning by connecting them
with more familiar concepts
o Objectification- more abstract concept acquires meaning through
association with more everyday phenomena
Forming social representations creats groups, promotes ingroup solidarity, and
protects from outgroup threats