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Chapter 10

PSY100H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 10: Natural Killer Cell, Biopsychosocial Model, Lymphatic System

Course Code
Dan Dolderman

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Chapter Ten: Health and Well-being
Can psychosocial factors affect health?
people often think about health and wellness in biological terms → people's behaviors and attitudes affect their health
people are passive recipients of disease and the medical treatments designed to return them to health after illness
+ drugs are designed to rid people of disease
psychologists and many medical professionals believe people's behaviors and attitudes are critical in keeping people healthy, helping them regain
health following illness, and helping them achieve well-being
health psychology: the field of psychological science concerned with the events that affect physical well-being
+ one of psychology's many subdisciplines, is an area of study that integrates research on health and on psychology's
well-being: a positive state that includes striving for optimal health and life satisfaction
+ a striving for optimal health ;; to achieve optimal health, people need to actively participate in maintaining wellness through health-enhancing
The biopsychosocial model of health incorporates multiple perspectives for understanding
and improving health:
biopsychosocial model: a model of health that integrates the effects of biological, behavioral, and social factors on health and illness
+ illustrates how health and illness result from a combination of factors
+ psychological factors: thoughts/actions, lifestyles, stress, health beliefs
+ biological characteristics: genetic predispositions, exposure to germs, brain and other nervous system development
+ social conditions: environments, cultural influences, family relationships, social support
Behavior contributes to the leading causes of death:
people are most likely to die from causes that stem from their own behaviors, which they can learn to modify
+ ie: heart disease → obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, high fat diets, some personality traits.
+ not always to lame for their conditions because it also occurs in healthy individuals
= people can change their behaviors in ways thast reduce the likelihood of heart disease or postpone it until late in life
Placebos can be powerful medicine:
“sugar pills” to keep people happy, according to doctors
+ people feel better because they believe that the pills will work because the doctor said it would
+ have no apparent physiological effect on the health conditions for which they are prescribed
+ often a drug or treatment will be studied by being compared with a placebo
research participants typically assigned at random to either an experimental or control group – a
drug/treatment group or the placebo group.
Placebo effect: a drug or treatment, unrelated to the particular problem of the person who receives
it, may make the recipient feel better because the person believes the drug or treatment is
+ its validity is complicated
+ for a placebo to improve health, the participant must believe it will and must not know that the
pills are chemically inert
+ some portion of placebo effect is attributable to decreased anxiety → reduce pain and help
recovery from an illness
+ how much pain people feel depends on many variables including context, expectations, and
thoughts about the pain
+ when people are calmer, their pain is less intense so an important part of getting well lies in
finding ways to reduce anxiety.
+ Placebos reduce pain perception when people believe they will
How do people cope with stress?
stress is a basic component of people's daily lives
+ small amount may be beneficial
+ results directly from the ways people think about events in their lives
stress: a pattern of behavioral, psychological, and physiological responses to events that match or
exceed an organism's abilities to respond in a healthy way
stressor: an environmental event or stimulus that threatens an organism by seeming

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+ elects a coping response: any response an organism makes to avoid, escape from, or minimize
an aversive stimulus
when too much is expected of people or when events are worrisome/scary, people perceive a
discrepancy between the demands of the situation and the resources of our biological,
psychological, and social systems.
+ positive and negative changes are stressful
+ the greater the number of changes, the greater the stress and the more likely the stress will
affect people's physiological stress
divided into two types: eustress, the stress of positive events and distress, the stress of negative
stressors falling into two categories: major life stressors and daily hassles
+major life stressors: changes/disruptions that strain central areas of people's lives. Can be
choices made by individuals, not just things that happen to them. Unpredictable and
uncontrollable catastrophic events such as earthquakes are especially stressful. Life changes are
stressful. The greater the number of changes, the greater the stress, and the more likely stress is to
have an impact on physiological state.
+ daily hassles: small, day-to-day irritations and annoyances. Also stressful, and their combined
effects can be comparable to the effects of major life changes. Low level irritations are
ubiquitous, they pose a threat to coping responses by slowly wearing down personal resources
Stress has physiological components:
hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis: the biological system responsible for the stress
+ a stressor activates a complex chain of events
+ stress begins in the brain with the perception of some stressful event
in the HPA axis, hypothalamus sends a chemical message to the pituitary gland that secretes
hormones that travel through the bloodstream until they reach the adrenal glads located near the
kidneys which secretes cortisol.
+ cortisol responsible for many of the feelings people have when they are stressed
HPA axis results in increased energy
+ because hormones have long-lasting effects, stress affects organ after the stressor has been
excessive stress disrupts working memory, especially when the demands on working memory are
+ chronic stress has also been associated with memory impairments caused when cortisol
damages neurons in brain areas including the hippocampus, which is a primary structure for
+ stress interferes with the ability to recall previously learned information
There are sex differences in responses to stressors:
people's ability to deal effectively with stressors is important to survival and reproduction
+ physiological and behavioral responses that accompany stress help mobilize resources to deal
with danger
fight-or-flight response: physiological preparedness of animals to deal with danger
+ within time, this response to a stressor allows the organism to direct all energy to dealing with
the threat at hand
+ physical reaction includes increased heart rate, redistribution of the blood supply from skin and
viscera (digestive organs) to muscles and brain, dilation of the pupils, inhibition of gastric
secretions, and an increase in glucose released from the liver. At same time, less critical
autonomic activities such as food digestion, which can occur after the stressor is removed, are

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Tend-and-befriend response: females' tendency to protect and care for their offspring and form
social alliances rather than flee or fight in response to threat
+ females typically bear a greater responsibility for the care of offspring, and responses that
protect their offspring as well as themselves would be maximally adaptive.
+ theory cannot be universally applied to all women and men;; almost always overlap between the
behaviors of males and of females.
Oxytocin: a hormone that is important for mothers in bonding to newborns
+ produced in hypothalamus and released into the bloodstream through the pituitary gland
+ levels tend to be high during socially stressful situations
+ exists naturally in men and women, it seems especially important in women's stress response
+ when high for women, have reduced responses to stress, relative to men and to women in later
sex differences in response to stress may be one of the reasons women live an average of 5-8
years longer than men
The general adaption syndrome is a bodily response to stress:
lymphocytes: specialized white blood cells known as B cells, T cells, and natural killer cells that
make up the immune system
+ in the blood, and stomach uclers
immune system: the body's mechanism for dealing with invading micro-organisms, such as
allergens, bacteria, and viruses
three responses (manipulation that produced a pattern of bloated adrenal glands, damaged
lymphatic structures, and stomach uclers) reduce the organism's potential ability to resist
additional stressmarks – hallmarks of a non-specific stress response
general adaptation syndrome: a consistent pattern of responses to stress that consists of three
stages: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion
+ syndrome occus in addition to specific physiological responses to particular stressors
+ alarm stage: an emergency reaction that prepares the body to fight or flee, physiological
responses aimed at boosting physical abilities while reducing activities that make the organism
vulnerable to infection after injury. The body is more likely to be exposed to infection and
disease, so the immune system kicks in and the body begins fighting back
+ resistance stage: the defences prepare for a longer, sustained attack against the sensor;
immunity to infection and disease increases somewhat as the body maximizes its defences. When
body reaches the exhaustion stage, a variety of physiological and immune systems fail. Bodily
organs that were already weak before the stress are the first to fail.
Stress Affects Health
prolonged action of stress hormones such as cortisol, negatively affects health
+ stress hormones essential to normal health, over the long term they are associated with
problems such as increased blood pressure, cardiac disease, diabetes, declining sexual interest and
dwarfism (suppression of growth hormones)
people who have very stressful jobs tend to have many health problems → effects of chronic
+ associated with the initiation and progression of a wide variety of diseases
stress leads to specific physiological responses that affect health and many people cope with
stress by engaging in damaging behaviors
+ alcohol, smoke, eat junk food, drugs
The immune system:
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