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Chapter 6

SOC239H5 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Heredity, Psychodynamics, Church Attendance


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC239H5
Professor
Sarath Chandrasekere
Chapter
6

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Chapter 6
Some social psychological explanations for illness
It is always important to remember that socio psychological processes occur inside the
human mind and body, And are altered by the invisible and in adequate social structure
and the persons cultural context
Evidence from a wide range of studies indicates that the mind and body are related
many people visit doctors for psychosocial reasons such as stress, emotional distress,
social isolation, and information rather than for strictly disease-related reasons
At times, the cycle social difficulties become physical illnesses through biological
processes
o At other times, they may mimic physical illness and be considered
psychosomatic illness
ex. fatigue but as a result of depression
People also choose medical answers to large existential questions and even to small
aesthetic concerns such as breasts that they consider too small or too large, skin that is
considered to wrinkly, skin blemishes, cosmetic issues such as the size of the nose for
the slats of the eyes
o People choose medicine to transform their lives, sometimes in the context of the
new technologies that are all part of biomedicalization of the person
Stress
Stress occurs when an organism must deal with demands much greater then, or much
less then, they usual level of activity or perceived activity
As such, stress is ubiquitous. All of us are stressed to some degree. The presence of at
least some stress in life is beneficial
Stressful experiences can be healthy and can help us for positive and flexible
adaptations to increased stress and sometimes more complex and intransigent stress
later on
Or stress can be overwhelming that it leads to serious illness or death
Two prominent scientists, Cannon and Selye, where involved in the early articulation
and measurement of stress
o Cannon suggested that health is alternately defined not by the absence of
disease but rather as the ability of the human being to function satisfactorily any
particular environment in which he or she is operating
o People must constantly adapt to changes in perceptions of change two
altercations and weather, conflicts at work, traumatic event, failure in school,
great success on the hockey team, promotion, flu germs, etc.
o The process of maintaining a desirable bodily state is called Homeostasis
The body is prepared in many ways to meet threats by adapting in ways
that will attempt to continuously return it to the homeostatic State
o Canon described the typical bodily reactions to stress as fight or flight, and
detailed the accompanying psychological changes
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o Later, Selye define stress as a state that it included numerous specific changes
within the biological system of the organism
stress is a general reaction that occurs in response to any number of
different stimuli
both positive and negative events can cause stress
o Selye propose the General adaptation syndrome (GAS) as the ody’s reatio to
all stressful events
Three stages of the syndrome are: 1. An alarm reaction, 2. Resistance or
adaptation, 3. Exhaustion
During the first stage, the body recognizes the stressor and the pituitary-
adrenal cortical system responds by producing the arousal hormones
necessary for either flight or fight
The prolongation of The stress response can result in psychological state
ko as allostasis
The allostatic load, an excess of which can lead to allostasis, refers
to the wear and tear of the body that can lead to disease
During the final stage, bodily functions are slowed Down abnormally or
stop altogether
o Continued exposure to stress during the exhaustion stage can lead to what Selye
alls the disease of adaptatio
These include various diseases with the emotional, mental, and or
physical symptoms
o When doing the stress self-assessment checklist, a typical person will have a
score of between 42 and 75 in any given month
The higher the score, the greater the likelihood of illness developing,
including mental and physical illnesses
o Engel collected 170 reports of sudden death
He discovered that the death usually occurred within an hour of hearing
emotionally intense information, which could be either positive or
negative
o Stress is ubiquitous and can be short, medium, or Long in duration
Short dressers arise from small inconveniences for example, traffic jams,
lost keys, or waiting for the doctor
such things usually result in a temporary sense of anxiety which
are called daily hassles
Medium stressors developed from such things as dark winters, a layoff
from work, stress at work, or an acute sickness in the family
Long-term or chronic stressors result from such incidents or events as the
loss of a spouse or the loss of a job, as well as from living in poverty or in
a neighborhood characterized by vandalism, burglaries, drug deals
o Holmes and rahe have systemized the stress value attached to a list of life events
in a scale called the social readjustment rating scale (SRRS)
Ex table 6.2 on page 154
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