Chapter 1 Health Psychology
o understanding psychological influences and how ppl stay healthy.
o Why they become ill
o How they react to getting ill
o “complete state of physical, mental and social well-being not merely the absence of
o Some use ‘’wellness’’ instead
Health psychologists focus on:
o Health promotion and maintenance
o Prevention and treatment
o Etiology, correlates of health, illness, dysfunction.
Etiology -is origins that cause illness: tend to look at social factors, and states of
mind to determine illness’ cause. Also habits and learned activities.
o Develop recommendations to improve health care and promotion
Early Philosophers: evil spirits cause of disease.
Greeks: bodily functions to attribute health.
o Hippocrates/Galen: disease caused by bodily factors, which also impact on mind.
Middle ages: evils and punishment
Morgannis 1682- autopsy and rejection of humoral theory of illness
o Freud: conversion hysteria
Unconscious conflicts produce psychological disturbances
o Psychosomatic Medicine
Dunbar/Alexander: linked patterns of personality to specific conflicts and illness
Conflicts produce anxiety; takes physiological toll on body via
autonomic nervous system.
Medicine: profiles of particular disorders caused by psychological disorders
Current view of Body-Mind Relationship
o Good habits, under ones control, culture, social factors, socio-economic factors, stress
all attribute to health.
o Body n mind together determine health/illness; study both.
o Health and illness are consequence of interplay between biological, psychological and
o Biomedical model:
Biomedical model is the basis that all illness can be explained by biochemical
imbalances or neuropsychological abnormalities
Is a reductionist model Reduces illness to low level processes(disordered cells/chemical)
Rather than to habits and social/psychological processes
Single cause model of illness
Assumes a mind-body dualism.
o BioPsychological bases on many factors at all levels and uses system theory:
System theory: hierarchy of linked systems affecting each and every levels
Reductionist Macro/micro levels considered
Single cause factor Multiple cause and factors
Mind-body dualism Inseparable mind/body
Emphasizes illness over health Both health/illness emphasized
Clinical implications of BioPsycho-model
o Interdisciplinary approach
o Recommendations for treatment must examine all three sets of factors
o Explicit significance relationship b/w patient and practitioner
Changing Patteths of Illness
o Until 20 century
Acute illnesses such as TB, pneumonia, infections, were leading illnesses in
Chronic Illnesses(slowly developing, stay for long time) such as heart disease,
cancer, diabetes, disabilities
Therefore Health Psychology has come about to investigate the cause/effect
relationship and habits which cause or prevent these illnesses
Help them adjust psychologically/socially to the changing illnesses
o Identifying genes to attribute a disorder or to inspect early in life
o Identify carriers of life threatening diseases...
o Study of frequency, distribution, cause for infectious diseases
Based on investigations of Physical and Social environments
Search why some places have more prevalent than others
o Morbidity: number of cases of diseases at any point in time
o Mortality: number of deaths attributed to a particular cause
Both statistics are essential to creating safer environments
(Car accidents a good example)(along with the precautions instituted)
o Concerned not only with biological outcomes, but also health related quality outcomes
o Not only prevention, but also improving quality of life to symptomatic complaints from
Changing Perspectives on Health/Health Care
o WHO: health is a positive state rather than a mere absence of disease o Lalonde Report:
4 main cornerstones to health :
Human biology, environment, lifestyle, health-care organization
o Health is the ‘’capacity of ppl to adapt, respond, and control one life’s challenges
o Health psychs need to understand these determinants and to inform policy makers,
safety boards ,schools boards, news, and the like
o Health Psych represents an important perspective on these issues for several reasons:
Containing health-care costs and targets is important in modifying illness
through PREVENTION :
Changing ppl’s risky behaviour/habits before they become ill
Design user-friendly healthcare systems to better ones care and quality of care
Its impact on ppl is enormous, employees, patients, practitioners, tax money
Increased Medical Acceptance
o Caregivers are recognizing that psychological/social factors are always important for
health n illness
o Techniques which take minutes to teach, will have life-lasting effects of benefit
o Randomized clinical trials also act as experiments in treatment and their effectiveness
o How ppl adjust to cancer in groups or not by comparison
o By manipulating variables they can judge cause-effects