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Chapter 14

Chapter 14

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Western University
Psychology 2035A/B
Doug Hazlewood

Chapter 14: Psychology and Physical Health (P440-450) - People’s health is now more likely to be compromised by chronic diseases (ones that develop over many years) rather than contagious diseases - Lifestyle and stress play a much larger role in the development of chronic diseases than they do in contagious ones - Chronic diseases (heart disease, cancer, stroke) account for 60% of all deaths in the US - Psychological and social factors also contribute to many other less serious illnesses such as headaches, backaches, skin disorders, asthma, and ulcers - These new shifting patterns of disease and findings about the influence of stress relating to physical illness has us moving away from the previously thought purely biological model of disease - The biopsychosocial model holds that physical illness is caused by a complex interaction of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors - Health psychology which emerged in the late 70s 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 - Guiding assumption, is that a person’s characteristic demeanour can influence his/her physical health Personality, Emotions, and Heart Disease - Heart disease accounts for nearly 30% of the deaths in US/yr - Coronary HD results from a reduction in blood flow though the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart causes ~90% of heart related deaths - Atherosclerosis is a gradual narrowing of the coronary arteries and is the principal cause of CHD and is caused by the build up of fatty deposits and other debris on the inner walls. It progresses slowly over many years, is more prevalent in men than women, and tends to increase with age - Narrowed coronary arteries may eventually lead to situations where the heart is temporarily deprived of adequate blood flow, causing a condition called myocardial ischemia which may be accompanied by a brief chest pain called angina - If a coronary artery is blocked completely (w/ maybe a blot clot), this can cause a heart attack, or myocardial infarction - Other established risk factors for CHD are smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure - Smoking and diabetes are stronger risk factors for women than men - Cardiovascular diseases kill women just as much as men but then tend to emerge in women ~10 years later than in men - Recently, there has been attention given to the fact that inflammation may contribute to atherosclerosis and elevated coronary risk by initiating its progression, as well as other complications that trigger heart attacks - C-reactive protein (CRP) is a marker in the blood that helps estimate individuals’ coronary risk - Combined levels of CRP and cholesterol appear to be related to coronary risk - They are also predictive of the development of high blood pressure, which suggests that hypertension may be part of an inflammatory syndrome Hostility and Coronary Risk - In the 60-70s cardiologists Meyes Friedman and Ray Rosenman found a connection b/n coronary risk and a Type A personality, which involves self-imposed stress and intense reactions to stress - They divided people into Type A and Type B personalities - Type A personality includes 3 elements 1. strong competitive orientation 2. impatience and time urgency 3. anger and hostility o these people are ambitious, hard-working perfectionists who are exceedingly time conscious, try to do many things at once, achievement-oriented workaholics, they are easily aggravated ,and get angry quickly - Type B personality is marked by relatively relaxed, patient, easygoing, amicable behaviour they are less hurried, less competitive, and less easily angered - Researchers in recent years have found a stronger link b/n coronary risk and a specific component of a Type A personality: anger and hostility - Hostility: persistent negative attitude marked by cynical, mistrusting thoughts, feelings of anger, and overtly aggressive actions - STUDY: 13,000 men and women who had no prior history of heart disease, investigators found an elevated incidence of heart attacks among participants who exhibited an angry temperament. They were followed for a median of 4.5 years, and were classified low (37.1%), moderate (55.2%), and high (7.7%) in anger. Along participants with normal BP, the high-anger subjects experience 3x more coronary events as the low-anger subjects - STUDY: CT scan used to look for signs of atherosclerosis in 374 M/F who cynical hostility was assessed a decade earlier when they were 18-30. participants with above avg hostility scores were twice as likely to exhibit atherosclerosis as participants with below-avg hostility scores - Thus, recent trends suggest that hostility may be the crucial toxic element that accounts for the correlation b/n type A personality and heart disease - Some evidence says that hostility plays a greater role in blacks than whites - STUDY: a sample of healthy young African Americans who exhibited high hostility showed a greater elevation in cardiovascular risk factors than a similar group of young white adults - STUDY: showed that African American men are at a greater risk then African American women and white men - Why is hostility associated with coronary risk? o Anger-prone individuals exhibit greater physiological reactivity than those who are lower in hostilityhe frequent ups/downs in heart rate and BP
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