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Chapter 10

PSY100 Chapter 10

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University of Toronto St. George
Dan Dolderman

Chapter 10 - Health & Well-Being Health Psychology: field of psychological science concerned with the events that affect physical well-being Well-being: positive state in which we feel our best; it includes striving for optimal health and life satisfaction Biophysical Model: a model of health that integrates the effects of biological (genetic predisposition), behavioural (actions, thoughts, lifestyles, stress) and social factors (cultural influences, family relationships, social support) on health and illness • Everything interconnected Behaviour Contributes to Leading Cause of Death • Violence, accidents, obesity, lack of exercise, risky sexual behaviour (AIDS), use and abuse of drugs, smoking, poor eating Regression to the mean • For any range of events, a more extreme event will tend to be followed by an avent closer to the average or mean 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 effective • Person must believe it will work- mind body interconnected • Positive expectations activate same neural processes involved in responding to actual biologically active treatment Obesity • BMI: a ratio of body weight to height to measure obesity • According to BMI, 1/5 of Canadians currently obese • >Half the variability in body weight can be considered the result of genetics • Denmark study found that the BMI of adopted children strongly related to the BMI of their biological parents and not adoptive parents • Albert Stunkard- genetics determine whether a person can become obese, environment determines if they will become obese • Genetics determine sensitivity to environmental influences • >300 genes have been identified as playing some role in obesity • Huge stigma around obesity- correlation suggesting low self-esteem might cause weight gain • Other countries being obese= sign of being upper class, afford to eat luxuriously Restrictive dieting does not work • Vermont prison study- inmates challenged to ↑ body weight by 25%, for 6 months consumed huge numbers of calories to reach goal, few inmates actually gained that amount of weight, and often lost weight when returning back to their normal eating • Body responds to weight loss by slowing down the metabolism and using less E, after the body has been deprived of food it needs less food to maintain a given body weight • Polivy & Herman- “restrained eaters”- chronic dieters who as soon as they have eaten a high calorie food, blow their diets… “I might as well just keep eating” • Rely on perceptions of whether they’ve broken their diet • Don’t eat according to internal states of hunger and satiety Eating disorders Anorexia Nervosa: an eating disorder characterized by an excessive fear or becoming fat and thus a refusal to eat • 15-20% of those with anorexia eventually die- starve themselves to death Bulimia nervosa: an eating disorder characterized by dieting, binge eating, and purging • Binge eating disorder: binge eating, without purging  obesity *eating disorders have a genetic influence Smoking • Adolescents more likely to smoke if parents do • Adolescent smokers show a false consensus effect-they overestimate the # of adolescent and adult smokers • “power influence” thing- smokers viewed as being tough, sociable, good with members of other sex Exercise • PA ↓depression, enhanced memory, enhanced cognition, promotes neurogenesis • Additional neurons through exercise result in a larger brain- especially the hippocampus- area important in memory and cognition • Faster healing time of wounds Ethnic difference in health behaviour • Result from genetics, access to health care, cultural factors Stress: pattern of behavioural and physiological responses to events that match or exceed an organism’s ability to respond in a healthy way Stressor: environmental event or stimulus that threatens an organism by seeming overwhelming elicits coping response in order to reduce effects of stressor Major life stressors: changes or disruptions that strain central areas of people’s lives (ex: new born baby, earthquakes, getting married, losing a friend, new job, etc.) Daily hassles: small, day-to-day irritations and annoyances (ex: driving in heavy traffic, dealing with difficult people, waiting in line) Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis- stress sets off a complex chain of events in body Stressful event brain hypothalamus sends chemical message to pituitary gland secretes hormones into bloodstream to reach the adrenal glands secrete cortisol • Chronic stress associated with memory problems as cortisol damages neurons in brain including hippocampus (primary structure for memory) Sex differences in Responses to Stress • Most researchers avoid using women in their studies, responses might be influenced by circulating hormones that vary over the menstrual cycle • But, Taylor et al. – Tend and Befriend Response- female’s tendency to protect and care for their offspring and form social alliances rather than flee or flight in response to threat (makes evolutionary sense- running away with flock of offspring vs. forming alliances with other mothers) • Oxytocin- hormone important for mothers in bonding to newborns • ↑ levels during socially stressful situations • ↑ Estrogen levels better response to stress later in life (women live longer) Hans Selye Study- demonstrated how stress could affect physical health • Exposing animals to different chemicals, creating stressful situations • Noticed that each manipulation produced a) bloated adrenal glands b) damaged lymphatic structure (immune system) c) stomach ulcers = non-specific stress response (reduces an organism’s ability to resist additional stressors) • General Adaptation Syndrome (3 stage of physiological response to stress) 1. Alarm Stage: emergency response, physiological responses aimed at boosting physical abilities, immune system kicks in 2. Resistance Stage: defences prepare for a longer, sustained attack against stressor, defences maximized 3. Exhaustion Stage: system fails, weak body organs immune system fails Immune system • Short term stress boosts immune system, chronic stress weakens it • Chronic stress ↓lymphocyte production- body less capable of fighting off foreign substances • Cohen study- injected cold virus swabs into healthy voluntee
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