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Chapter 16

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Steve Joordens

Chapter 16 – Lifestyles, Stress, and Health Cultural Evolution: Lifestyle Choices and Consequences - cultural evolution: a culture’s adaptive change to recurrent environmental pressures o driven mainly by psychological forces o a product of human intellect and physical capacity - lifestyle: the aggregate behavior of a person; the way in which a person leads his/her life o cultural evolution is the primary agent involved in shaping these o everyday processes are characteristic of a lifestyle; many decisions as well - cultural evolution gives us the choice on which lifestyle to lead, which culture to follow - there are threats in the modern day world and a lifestyle that does not avoid these threats may lead to ill-health o THUS; a chosen lifestyle is good but SOME PEOPLE choose bad lifestyles - we know that unhealthy lifestyles are bad for us but WHY do we maintain them? o negative effects biologically, but the behaviours themselves can be acquired and maintained by both biological + psychological factors - law of effect: behaviours that produce favorable consequences tend to be repeated, and those that produce unfavorable consequences tend not to be repeated o good thing? yup! will be repeated o bad thing? yikes! don’t repeat - BUT … many unhealthy behaviours have reinforcing consequences in the short run o but have damaging consequences in the long run o ex/ teens that smoke receive immediate physical/psychological stimulation from smoking and gain acceptance from peers  in the long run? lungggggg canccccerrrrrrr Stress and Health - stress: a pattern of physiological, behavioural, emotional, and cognitive responses to real or imagined stimuli that are perceived as blocking a goal or endangering or otherwise threatening our well-being o a product of natural selection o behavioural adaption that helped our ancestors fight/flee from wild animals and enemies o changes in environment bring forth stress - stressors: stimuli that are perceived as endangering one’s well being o things that inflict stress The Biological Basis of Stress - physical response to stressors?  governed by the autonomic nervous system which is controlled by the hypothalamus - sense a stressor? hypothalamus sends signals to the autonomic nervous system and to the pituitary gland  both respond by stimulating body organs to change their normal activities o 1) heart rate increases, blood pressure rises, blood flow is directed away from extremities and toward the major organs o 2) breathing becomes deeper and faster and air passages dilate, which permits more air to enter lungs o 3) digestion stops and perspiration increases o 4) adrenal gland secretes adrenaline which stimulates heart and other organs - each other the above prepare the body for a physical state of alertness and action Selye’s General Adaption Syndrome - chronic exposure to severe stressors produce a sequence of three physiological stages: alarm, resistance and exhaustion - ^^ general adaption syndrome (GAS) ^^ - alarm reaction: o arousal of the autonomic nervous system and occur when the organism is first confronted with a stressor o an organism’s resistance to the stressor drops drastically at first response  thus impairing normal physiological functioning - stage of resistance o autonomic nervous system returns to normal functioning o resistance to the stressor INCREASES then eventually goes ABOVE normal levels o organism’s adaption TO THE STRESSOR - stage of exhaustion o organism loses its ability to adapt, resistance goes down to below-normal levels  this leaves organism susceptible to illness/disease - flight or fight response: the physiological reactions that prepare us for the strenuous efforts required by fighting or running away o after we fight/flight the risk/threat is gone and we return to homeostasis - when stress is continuous as opposed to episodic, we produce a continued stress response Physiological Mechanisms Involved in Stress - adrenaline releases the stored form of glucose that is present in the muscles, thus providing energy for strenuous exercise - cortisol: the steroid secreted by the cortex of the adrenal gland upon stress - cortisol = a glucocorticoid: influences the metabolism of glucose o help break down protein and convert it to glucose  increase blood flow and helps make fat available for energy - short term effects of glucocortoroids are essential, prolonged secretion of them is harmful - severe stress  brain damage in humans as well Cognitive Appraisal and Stress - some people will find some situation stressful while others will not o thus; perception is an important characteristic in determining whether or not one will be stressed by something o Lazarus; our perception of the stressor determines to a large extent the stress we experience - cognitive appraisal: one’s perception of a stressful situation o 2 stage process  1) evaluate threat  threat is real? we go to the second stage  2) asses whether we have the resources necessary to cope adequately with the threat o when we find out the threat is real and we do not have the adequate resources to deal with the threat  STRESS LEVEL may be high - people who are not easily afraid/stressed?  hardy o found that hardy individuals take stressful occurrences as challenges - how we initially size up the stressor determines our response to it Stressful Lifestyles and Impaired Health Stress and CHD - risk factors for CHD  high blood pressure AND high level of cholesterol in blood - likelihood of CHD is dependent on how an individual reacts to stress - type A patter
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