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PSYB10H3 (611)
Chapter

Social Psychology in Action - Social Psychology and Health

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYB10H3
Professor
Elizabeth Page- Gould
Semester
Summer

Description
Social Psychology in Action 2Social Psychology and HealthChapterStress and Human Health We need to consider the amount of stress in our lives and how we deal with that stress A great deal of anecdotal evidence indicates that stress can affect the body in dramatic waysA New Zealand woman eats a piece of fruit and then learns that is cam efrom forbidden supply reserved for chief She is horrified and her health deteroiates The next day she dieseven though it s a perfectly okay piece of fruitA man in Africa has breakfast with a friend eats heartily and goes on his wayA year later he learns that his friend made the breakfast from a wild hen a food strictly forbidden in the mans culture The man immediately begins to tremble and is dead within 24 hoursAn Australian mans health deteoriates after a witch doctor casts a spell on him He recovers only when the witch doctor removes the spell When people undergo major changeupheaval in their lives ie losing a spouse declaring bankruptcy or being forced to resettle in a new culture their chance of dying increasesOur physical and psychological health is closely tied to amount of stress in our livesEffects of Negative Life Events Stress is the bodys physiological response to threatening events Hans Selye Stress is the degree to which people have to change and readjust their lives in response to an external event The more change required the more stress occurs This definition of stress applies to happy events in ones life a s well if the event causes a person to change hisher daily routine ie if a spousepartner dies just about every aspect of a persons life is disrupted leading to a great deal of stress To assess life change Holme and Rahe 1967 developed the Social Readjustment Rating Scale Respondents get a list of life events such as divorce and trouble with bosseach of which has been assigned a certain number of points depending on how stressful it is People check all events that have occurred in their lives over the past year The points assigned to each event are added up to get over life change score Several studies have found that the higher peoples score the worse their physical and mental healthProblem 1Most studies in this area use correlational designs rather than experimental designs Just because life changes are correlated with health problems DOES NOT MEAN THAT LIFE CHANGES CAUSED THE HEALTH PROBLEMS People argue that its to life changes that cause health problems but people with certain personality traits ie tendency to experience negative moods are more likely to experience life difficulties and to have health problemsProblem 2 Focuses on stressors experienced by middle class and underrepresents stressors experienced by poor and members of minority communitiesPerceived Stress and Health Simply adding upof negative events violates a basic principle in SP Subjective situations have more an impact on people than objective situations There are events that seem to have ONLYeffects on people who defineconstrue them inways ie for some students writing a term paper is a major hassles for others its a minor inconvenience or even enjoyable Form Richard Lazarus it is subjective not objective stress that causes problemsStress is the negative feelings and beliefs that occur whenever people feel unable to cope with demands form their environment
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