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Chapter 13

Health Psychology Chapter 13

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PSYC 3170
Judy Pelham

13 Health Psychology The Field of Health Psychology Definition: Concerned with role of behaviour and psychological factors in preventing illness and maintaining good health 3 major killers in Canada: Heart disease, cancer, stroke - Causes: o Tobacco o Being Overweight (fat cells release a protein related to inflammation) o Inactivity (sitting down less is more important than exercise) o Stress o Diet & Alcohol Changing Patterns of Illness: - Decrease in illnesses related to viruses - Increase in illnesses like cancer, heart disease, and stroke Stress Definition: Physical and psychological response to perceived environmental threat Stressors - Threatening or challenging events that place demands on the person o Major life events (being fired from your job, relationship breakups/breakdowns, losing someone, etc. – not very frequent, maybe once or twice a year) o Daily hassles (conflict, relationship issues, household problems) o Catastrophic events (earthquakes, flooding, fire – events that threaten your personal safety, can lead to PTSD – a lot of us will never experience a catastrophic event) Factors that render events more harmful: - Unpredictability/Uncertainty - Pressure (time constraints, urgency) - Lack of Control - Repeated Exposure/Chronicity - Loss (not necessarily death) and Failure (didn’t reach a goal you set for yourself) - Conflict o Approach-Approach: Two things you want but have to choose one o Avoidance-Avoidance: Two things you dislike but have to choose one o Approach-Avoidance: Anything you want has both positive and negative aspects Appraisal and Coping with Stress - Events -> Appraisal -> Stress -> Emotional, physical, behavioural consequences - Primary Appraisal: Am I okay or in trouble? - Secondary Appraisal: How will I deal with this? – Consider your ability to cope - Defensive Coping: Avoiding negative feelings associated with stress through the use of defence mechanisms (e.g. denial) - Emotion-Focused Coping: Control or change emotional reaction (e.g. venting, drinking, meditating) - Problem-Focused Coping: Change or do something about the situation (e.g. study harder, get help – see constructive coping) Stress and Disease The Fight-or-Flight Response: - Stress -> Hypothalamus -> Pituitary Gland -> ACTH -> Adrenal Cortex -> Secretion of Corticosteroids (equipped to “flee”) - Stress -> Hypothalamus -> Autonomic Nervous System (sympathetic division) -> Adrenal Medulla -> Secretion of Catacholamines (equipped to “fight”) The Ph
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