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Chapter 1

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Nevena Simic

PSY333 - Health Psychology Chapter 1 – What is Health Psychology?  Health psychology: devoted to understanding psychological influences on how people stay healthy, why they become ill, and how they respond when they do get ill  WHO defines health as a complete state of physical, mental and social well- being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity  Health psychologists look at: o Health promotion and maintenance o Prevention and treatment of illness o Etiology and correlates of health, illness and dysfunction o The health care system and the formulation of health policy  Mind-body relationship views the mind and body as inseparable influences on health  In the earliest times, the mind and body were considered a unit. Early cultures believed that disease arose when evil spirits entered the body and these spirits could be exorcised through treatment o Trephination was a procedure that allowed the spirits to leave the body while the ‘physician’ or ‘shaman’ performed treatment rituals  Greeks were among the earliest to identify the role of bodily functioning in health and illness. They developed humoral theory of illness (proposed by Hippocrates, expanded by Galen) where disease arises when the four circulating fluids of the body – blood, black bile, yellow bile and phlegm – are our of balance  In middle ages, mysticism and demonology dominated concepts of disease, which were seen as God’s punishment for evildoing  cure often consisted of driving out evil by torture, prayer, penance and bloodletting o Church was the guardian of medical knowledge  Scientific advances resulted in dualism, where physicians were guardians of the body and philosophers & theologians were caretakers of the mind o The view began to change with the rise of modern psychology, particularly Freud’s work on conversion hysteria where the unconscious conflicts can produce particular physical disturbances that symbolize the repressed psychological conflicts  in C.H., the patient converts the conflict into a symptom via the voluntary nervous system; they then become relatively free of the anxiety the conflict would otherwise produce  Dunbar and Alexander’s works helped shape psychosomatic medicine which refers to particular disorders believed to be psychosomatic in origin— that is, bodily disorders caused by emotional conflicts: ulcers, hyperthyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, bronchial asthma  researchers believe personality isn’t sufficient enough to produce illness  Behavioral medicine developed to demonstrate the connections between body and mind suggested by psychosomatic medicine PSY333 - Health Psychology  Biopsychosocial model assumes that health and illness are consequences of the interplay of biological, psychological and social factors  Biomedical model maintains that all illness can be explained on the basis of abnormal somatic processes, such as biochemical imbalances or neurophysiological abnormalities o Assumes psychological & social processes are independent of disease o It’s a reductionist model,
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