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by: Erin Downey


Marketplace > University of Alabama at Birmingham > Psychlogy > PY 372 > SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY CHAPTER 14 STUDY GUIDE
Erin Downey
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This is the study guide for Chapter 14 (Health and Well-Being). The highlighted portions are what you should be sure to know for the final exam.
Dr. Bridgett Hill Kennedy
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This 7 page Study Guide was uploaded by Erin Downey on Sunday April 24, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to PY 372 at University of Alabama at Birmingham taught by Dr. Bridgett Hill Kennedy in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 29 views. For similar materials see SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY in Psychlogy at University of Alabama at Birmingham.




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Date Created: 04/24/16
CHAPTER 14: HEALTH AND WELL-BEING NOTE: THE THINGS HIGHLIGHTED ARE WHAT YOU SHOULD BE SURE TO KNOW FOR THE EXAM. HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY - The application of psychology to the promotion of physical health an the prevention and treatment of illness - But isn’t physical illness a purely biological event? o Health is actually a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. STRESS AND HEALTH - Stress: an unpleasant state of arousal that arises when we perceive that the demands of an event threaten our ability to cope effectively o Subjective appraisal (perception) of the situation determines:  How we experience the stress  What coping strategies we use o Appraisal: the process by which people make judgments about the demands of potentially stressful events and their ability to meet those demands o Coping is an effort to reduce stress. - The Stress and Coping Process—Figure 14.1 pg. 574 o This process involves a potentially stressful event, the appraisal of that event, and attempts to cope. Played out against a variety of background factors unique to each individual, the stress-and-coping process influences health outcomes. WHAT CAUSES STRESS? - Crises and Catastrophes o Stressors: anything that causes stress o Catastrophes: events that have harmful and long-term effects on mental and physical health of a large amount of people  E.g., tornados, tsunamis o Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): a person experiences enduring physical and psychological symptoms after and extremely stressful event - Major Life Events o Changes itself may cause stress by forcing us to adapt to new circumstances o Is change, positive or negative, necessarily harmful?  No support that positive “stressors” are as harmful as negative stressors.  E.g., getting married vs. a loved one dying  Impact of change depends on the person and how the change is interpreted  this is dependent on subjective appraisal - Microstressors: The Hassles of Everyday Life o Most common source of stress arises from the daily hassles that irritate us.  E.g., environmental factors such as traffic o “Microstressors” place a constant strain on us.  The accumulation of daily hassles contributes more to illness than do major life events—e.g., job, commuting, paying the bills, etc.  Socioeconomic status contributes to this as well.  Lower SES = more daily hassles HOW DOES STRESS AFFECT THE BODY? - General Adaptation Syndrome: a three stage process by which the body responds to stress o Three stage bodily response to stress:  Alarm  involved in the fight-or-flight response; is sparked by the recognition of a threat  E.g., a speeding car, enemy soldier, virus  Resistance  the body remains alert aroused and on the alert  Heart rate and blood pressure is increased, adrenaline is released, and growth, digestion, and operation of the immune system is inhibited  Exhaustion  occurs if stress persists for a long period of time; is a dangerous state o Stress may be short-term reaction to a threat, but over time it compromises health and well-being. o The General Adaptation Syndrome (Selye, 1936)—Figure 14.2 pg. 579  The human body responds to threat in three phases: alarm resistance, and exhaustion. - What Stress Does to the Heart o Type A behavior pattern: characterized by extremes of competitive striving for achievement, a sense of time urgency, hostility, and aggression  A risk factor for Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)?  Hostility appears to be the main toxic ingredient to CHD. When combined with type A behavior then the likelihood of CHD is increased. - Why is Hostility and CHD Linked? o Cardiovascular system becomes overworked. o Hostile people are less health conscious. o Hostile people are physiologically reactive.  In tense social situations, they exhibit more intense cardiovascular reactions. o Psychocardiology is a new field that has emerged that has emerged from this research that attempts to merge the heart and the mind. - What Stress Does to the Immune System? o Stress compromises the body’s immune system. o Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI): a subfield of psychology that examines the links among psychological factors, the brain and nervous system, and the immune system. - Pathways from Stress to Illness—Figure 14.3 pg. 584 o Hostility, stress, and other negative emotional states may cause illness in two ways: by promoting unhealthful behaviors (more alcohol, less sleep, and so on) and by triggering the release of hormones that waken the immune system. o Negative emotional states cause unhealthy behaviors and the release of stress hormones that in turn weaken the immune system leading to illness. - Links Between Stress and Illness o Research has shown that stress breaks down the body’s immune system.  The longer a stressor persists, the more likely the person is to get sick. o Personal characteristics can buffer adverse effects. o Stress Duration and Illness (Cohen et al., 1998)—Figure 14.4 pg. 585  276 volunteers were interviewed about recent life stress, then infected with a cold virus. The more months a stressor lasted, the more likely the person was to catch a cold. Over time, stress breaks down the body’s immune system. PROCESS OF APPRAISAL - Attributions and Explanatory Styles o Seligman (1975): Depression results from learned helplessness.  In his experiment, he found that dogs strapped in with a harness and administered an electric shock became passive and gave up trying to escape even after the creation of new situations where escape was possible. Dogs that had not been given the shock figured out how to escape quickly.  Seligman compared these results to humans and noted that when we become effected by uncontrollable events we develop symptoms similar to depression: discourages, pessimistic about the future, and lacking in initiative. o Abramson et al. (1989): Depression is a state of hopelessness brought on by the negative self-attributions people make for failure.  Depressive Explanatory Style: the tendency to attribute negative events to factors that are internal rather than external (“It’s my fault”), stable rather than unstable (“It will not change”), and global rather than specific (“It spreads to all parts of my life”)  Using Attributional Styles to Predict Depression (Ally et al., 2006)—Figure 14.5 pg. 587  Researchers measured the explanatory styles of first-year college students. As juniors 2 years later, those with negative rather than positive styles in their first year were more likely to suffer from a minor or major depressive disorder. - The Human Capacity for Resilience o Hardy individuals exhibit three characteristics:  Commitment: has to do with a person’s sense of purpose in regards one’s work, family, and other domains  Challenge: a person’s willingness to embrace change and openness to new experience  Control: the belief that a person has the power to influence future change or outcomes o Hardiness serves as a buffer against stress.  Perception of control is most important factor. - Self-Efficacy o The expectation that our behaviors can produce satisfying outcomes. o Self-efficacy: feelings of competence  A state of mind that varies form one specific task and situation to another o Research has shown the more self-efficacy one has, the more willing to take on a task, persist, and succeed. o Self-Efficacy: A Matter of Life or Death? (Sarkar, Ali, & Whooley, 2009)—Figure 14.6 pg. 589  1024 heart disease patients varying in cardiac self-efficacy were tracked over time. The higher their cardiac self-efficacy at the start of the study, the more likely they were to survive hospitalization up to 78 months later. - Dispositional Optimism o Optimism is a generalized tendency to expect positive outcomes.  Seligman argues optimism is characterized by a non-depressive explanatory style. He says that optimists tend to blame failures on factors that are external, temporary, and specific, and to credit success to factors that are internal, permanent, and global.  Segerstrom (2006) argues that even pessimists can retrain themselves to think in optimistic ways. o How can optimism promote positive health outcomes?  Through behavior and biological mechanisms.  Biological research on blood samples found optimists exhibit a stronger immune response to stress than pessimists do (Kamen-Siegel et al., 1991; Segerstrom et al., 1998).  Behavioral research found optimists that had filled out a questionnaire 50 years before (specifically those who had made global rather than specific attributions for good events) were less likely to have died an accidental, reckless, or violent death (Peterson et al., 1988). o Hopelessness and the Risk of Death (Everson et al., 1996)—Figure 14.7 pg. 591  Among middle-aged men in Finland, those initially high in hopelessness were more likely to die within 6 years—overall from cancer and from cardiovascular disease). Those who were moderate in hopelessness fell between the two extremes. - Pollyanna’s Health o Positive thinking cannot guarantee good health.  Victims of illness do not just have a “bad attitude.” o There are limits to positive thinking, especially if it leads us to see ourselves and events in ways that are not realistic.  Overly positive people are sometimes disliked by their friends and seen as being boastful, inconsiderate, and oversensitive to criticism.  Feeling like you can always control events may be detrimental. WAYS OF COPING WITH STRESS - Coping Strategies o Problem-focused o Emotion-focused o Proactive - Problem Focused Coping o In dealing with essential tasks, it is better to confront and control than to avoid. o Why is it not always a beneficial approach?  Can be physiologically taxing  Can lead to development of over-controlling, stress-inducing Type A pattern of behavior - Emotion-Focused Coping o People who cope well and are resilient tend to experience positive emotions in the face of stress.  Positive emotions help people to broaden their outlook in times of stress so they can cope with adversity.  By coping with positive emotions one situation after another, people over time build personal resources—learning how to stay calm, focused, in control, and capable of giving and receiving emotional support. o Shutting down and trying to deny or suppress the unpleasant thoughts and feelings.  Distraction can be an adaptive form of avoidance coping.  Concealing one’s innermost thoughts and feelings can be physiologically taxing. o Opening Up: Confronting One’s Demons  Two aspects to opening up as an emotional means for coping with stress:  One must acknowledge and understand one’s emotional reactions to important events.  One must express those inner feelings to themselves and others.  Why might opening up be more helpful?  Cathartic experience and helps to gain insight into the problem  Research supports it is better to discuss one’s problem than to conceal them.  However, despite the potential for gain, opening up can also cause great distress when the people we confide in react with rejection or unwanted advice or, worse, betray what was said to others. - Proactive Coping (stopping before the problem starts) o The helpful coping resources provided by friends and other people.  Has therapeutic effects on both our psychological and physical health. o Social support and contact related to longevity. - Does Being Popular Always Promote Health? (Hamrick, Cohen, & Rodriguez, 2002)—Figure 14.10 pg. 601 o Young adults were asked about recent stressful events and about their social lives— and then kept a healthy diary for 3 months. Social contact made no difference for people under low stress. For people under high stress, however, those with active social lives were more likely to get sick. Social contact increases exposure to infectious agents and can bring illness for those whose resistance is compromised by stress. - The Religious Connection o Religion provides an important source of social and emotional support for many.  Only 15-20% of the world’s population have no religious affiliation. o Is there a link between religiosity and health?  Research is suggestive that there is, but not yet conclusive. - Culture and Coping: o Do people in all cultures solve problems and cope in the same ways?  Not exactly o Collectivist vs. Individualistic Cultures  In individualistic cultures, people often use others to service their personal goals. Yet in collectivist cultures, where social groups take precedence over the self, people are reluctant to strain relationships by calling on others for support.  Implicit social support vs. explicit social support (Kim et al., 2008) o Explicit = disclosing one’s distress to others and seeking their advice, aid, and comfort o Implicit = merely thinking about or being with close others without openly asking for help o In their study, Asian-Americans reacted with more stress to an explicit social situation, while European-Americans found the more implicit social situation more stressful. TREATMENT AND PREVENTION - Treatment: The “Social” Ingredients o All healers provide social support. o All therapies offer a ray of hope.  All therapies communicate and instill positive expectations. o Patients can make meaningful choices about the treatment. - Prevention: Getting the Message Across o We live in what could aptly be described as the era of prevention in that many serious health threats are preventable. o Aiming for Good Health—Figure 14.2 pg. 607  Several major factors help convince people to engage in healthy practices. Recognition that a threat to health exists is a necessary first step. Positive models and healthy subjective norms encourage people to adopt health- protective behaviors. A sense of self-efficacy about being able to carry out healthy behaviors and the belief that such behaviors will be effective increase the likelihood of active efforts. THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS - Subjective Well-Being o One’s happiness, or life satisfaction, as measured by self-report. o In self-reports, 75% of American adults describe themselves as happy. o What predicts happiness?  Social relationships  people with an active social life, close friends, and a happy marriage are more satisfied than those who lack these intimate connection  Employment status  employed people are happier than those out of work regardless of income  Physical health  people who are healthy are happier than those who are not - Does Money Buy Happiness? o Perceptions of wealth are not absolute, but relative to certain standards.  Social comparison theory: people tend to naturally compare themselves to others and feel contented or deprived depending on how they fare in this comparison  Making upward comparison triggers negative feelings while making downward comparisons triggers positive feelings.  This is why the middle class worker whose neighbors can’t pay their bills feels fortunate, but the social climber that rubs elbows with the rich and famous feels deprived. o People use their own recent past as a basis of comparison.  Adaptation level theory: our satisfaction with the present depends on the level of success to which we are accustomed  Get married, buy a new house, get the job you are aiming for, or a promotion and you will surely enjoy it. However, before long, the new will wear off you will adapt to your better situation and you will raise your standard of comparison.  Wealth and Subjective Well-Being (Kassin, 1997)—Figure 14.13 pg. 609  Over a period of more than 40 years, Americans became twice as wealthy, as measured by adjusted per person income—but they were no happier, as measured in public opinion polls. - A Set Baseline Level of Happiness? o Ratings of happiness are higher among identical twins than among fraternal twins. o Fluctuations in mood that accompany positive and negative life events wear off over time. o Happiness levels are relatively stable over time and place. - Emerging Science on How to Increase Happiness o The pursuit of happiness is a powerful human motive that is still not fully understood. o The research described in this section offers some concrete advice on how people can maximize their levels of happiness. o What Yields More Happiness: Experiences or Material Objects? (Van Boven, 2005)— Figure 14.14 pg. 612  After recalling a time when they spent money on an experience or a material object, people in general said that the experiences they purchased made them happier than the material objects. o Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) Indicators (Ura, Alkire, & Zangmo, 2012)— Figure 14.15 pg. 614


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