How Can Psychological Factors Affect Health

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Psych 202- Chapter notes
Chapter 11: Stress & Health
Can Psychological Factors Affect Health?
-behaviors and attitudes can affect our health
-Health Psychology a field that integrates research on health and on psychology; it involves the application of psychological principles to promote health and well-being. - the importance of lifestyle factors -Well Being a positive state that includes striving for optimal health and life satisfaction
The Biopsychosocial Model of Health Incorporates Multiple Perspectives for understanding and Improving Health
Biopsychosocial model: a model of health that integrates the effects of biological, behavioral, and social factors on health and illness

[pic] model is central to understanding the difference between the traditional medical model and the approach taken by health psychologists. in the traditional model, the individual is passive. for health psychologists, the individual thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are central to understanding and improving health

Behavior Contributes to the Leading Cause of Dealth
-people are more likely to die from causes that stem from their own behaviors, which they can learn to modify (ie: heart disease, accidents, flying vs driving idea) lifestyle behaviors that begin in early childhood and the teen years may decrease health or even lead to death accidents are a leading cause of death which can likely be preventable based on different behavior

Placebos Can be Powerful Medicine
- placebo effect an improvement in health following treatment with placebo- that is, with a drug or treatment that has no apparent physiological effect on the health condition for which it is prescribed placebos can powerfully affect health research suggests that placebos affect our neural processes in ways that are similar to biologically active treatments

How Do we Cope With Stress? stress does not exist objectively out in the world instead, it results from the ways we think about events in our lives stress is a pattern of behavioral, psychological, and physiological responses to events, when the events match or exceed the organisms ability to respond in a healthy way stressor is an environmental event or stimulus that threatens an organism a stressor elicits a coping response: any response an organism makes to avoid, escape from, or minimize an aversive stimulus stress is divided into two types: eustress- stress of positive events duress- stress of negative events stressors are also divided into two categories: major life stressors- changes or disruptions that strain central areas of people’s lives include choices made by the individual, not just things that happen to them ie: having a baby daily hassles- small, day-to-day irritations and annoyances ie: traffic, long lines

Stress has Physiological Components hypothalamic- pituitary- adrenal (HPA) the biological system responsible for the stress response.
a stressful event will set off a complex chain of responses in the body in the HPA axis, the hypothalamus sends a chemical message to the pituitary gland. the pituitary gland secretes a the hormone called ACTH this hormone travels to the adrenal glands the adrenal glands then secrete cortisol these actions help the body prepare to respond to the stressor

stressful events cause a cascade of physiological events- specifically the release of hormones from the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal gland stress-related hormones ( ie: cortisol, norepinephrine) circulate through the bloodstream, affecting organs throughout the body
There are Sex Differences in How We Respond to Stressors fight-or-flight-response: The physiological preparedness of animals to deal with danger within seconds or minutes, this response to a stressor allows the organism to direct all energy to dealing with the threat at hand. more conclusive for men, but this is bias because more men are studied for this type of response