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Ch 5 Summary

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Western University
Psychology 2035A/B
Doug Hazlewood

Chapter 5- Psychology and Physical Health  The three leading chronic diseases (heart disease, cancer, and stroke) account for almost 60% of all deaths in the US  The biopsychosocial model holds that physical illness is caused by a complex interaction of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors o Asserts that biological factors operate in a psychosocial context that can also be highly influential  Health psychology is concerned with how psychosocial factors relate to the promotion and maintenance of health and with the causation, prevention, and treatment of illness Stress, Personality, and Illness  Coronary heart disease results from a reduction in blood flow through the coronary arteries, which supply the heart with blood  Atherosclerosis is a gradual narrowing of the coronary arteries  Temporary deprivation of blood flow to the heart is known as myocardial ischemia o This ischemia may be accompanied by brief chest pain, called angina  The abrupt interruption of blood flow can produce a full-fledged heart attack, or myocardial infarction  Established risk factors for coronary disease include smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure  Cardiovascular diseases kill women just as much as men but these diseases tend to emerge in women about 10 years later than in men o Greater risk when women reach menopause, usually around age 50  Inflammation plays a key role in the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis, as well as the acute complications that trigger heart attacks o The presence of stress and depression can be related to inflammation  Combined levels of CRP (C-reactive protein) and cholesterol appear to be related to coronary risk (increased levels of CRP & cholesterol = increased risk of heart attack)  There is an apparent connection between coronary risk and a pattern of behaviour called Type A personality, which involves self-imposed stress and intense reactions to stress  Type A personality includes three elements: o A strong competitive orientation o Impatience and time urgency o Anger and hostility  Type B personality is marked by relatively relaxed, patient, easygoing, amicable behaviour  Hostility refers to a persistent negative attitude marked by cynical, mistrusting thoughts, feelings of anger, and overtly aggressive actions o Argued that individuals who use anger as a response for dealing with interpersonal problems were at an elevated risk for heart disease o Experiment: among participants with normal blood pressure, the high-anger subjects experienced almost three times as many coronary events as the low- anger subjects o Experiment: participants with above-average hostility scores were twice as likely to exhibit atherosclerosis as participants with below-average hostility scores o There is some evidence that hostility plays a greater role in cardiovascular risk for blacks than for whites  Anger is an unpleasant emotion that is accompanied by physiological arousal, whereas hostility involves a social component- a negative attitude towards others  Anger-prone individuals appear to exhibit greater physiological reactivity than those lower in hostility  Hostile people probably create additional stress for themselves o Subjects high in hostility reported ore hassles, more negative life events, more marital conflict, and more work-related stress than subjects who were lower in hostility  Thanks to their antagonistic ways of relating to others, hostile people tend to have less social support than others o Social support may be an important coping resource that promotes health and buffers the effects of stress  Perhaps
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