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Health Psychology (PSYC345) - Week 1 Lecture Notes

by: Cindy Nguyen

Health Psychology (PSYC345) - Week 1 Lecture Notes PSYC 345

Marketplace > Rice University > Psychology > PSYC 345 > Health Psychology PSYC345 Week 1 Lecture Notes
Cindy Nguyen
Rice University
GPA 3.8
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These notes go over the syllabus, and chapters 1 and 2 from the textbook. They also give an overview of the health psychologist's profession, a quick review of statistics, and examples of the Bio...
Health Psychology
Class Notes
health, Psychology, clinical, medical, patients, mental, biomedical




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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Cindy Nguyen on Saturday August 27, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSYC 345 at Rice University taught by Fagundes in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see Health Psychology in Psychology at Rice University.

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Date Created: 08/27/16
PSYC345 Week 1 TUESDAY NOTES Health psychology – look at the patient level Chris looks at stressors that affect the immune system Leading causes of death  Cancers  Cardiovascular diseases  Diabetes  Respiratory diseases  Influenza Infections, disease, and lack of antibiotics killed many people one hundred years ago. Accidents – horse accidents, going across the seas We’ve had huge advances in medicine. All the leading causes of death have now shifted to diseases we bring onto ourselves – hence the need for health psychologists. Actual causes of death in the US now:  Tobacco – completely preventable, except many people cannot give it up o People wouldn’t even accept a nicotine patch o The behavioral component of smoking is what contributes to its addiction o It’s a social activity, you have fun while doing it o and people who are of low socioeconomic status and live in a vulnerable neighborhood – smoking is the only type of positive affect that these individuals often get – for immediate rewards of being happy  Poor diet and physical inactivity – obesity will soon be the leading cause of death. o In 1960, only 10% of US population were obese. Now, we have 35.9% as of 2010. o Obesity rate in Texas is 31.9%. Least obese state: Colorado only 21.3%  The difference: many people in Colorado go outdoors for physical activity, a higher portion of higher socioeconomic status  These are all environmental factors that impact people  Most obese state: Arkansas at 35.9%  It’s hot outside, lower socioeconomic status, easiest and cheapest food option is McDonalds. You work more, you don’t have time to exercise Health psychology:  Studies psychological influences on people o How they stay healthy o Why they become ill o How they respond when they get ill  Health: complete state of physical, mental, and social wellbeing o Wellness: optimum state of health  Focus: o Health promotion and maintenance o Prevention and treatment of illness o Etiology and correlates of health, illness, and dysfunction o Improvement of health care system and the formulation of health policy  Best treatment, psychiatraits, psychologists can only get 10% of smokers to stop the Biomedical Model  Why is it not suited to understanding illness? o Fails to recognize social and physiological processes as powerful influences o Emphasizes illness over health rather than focusing on behaviors that promote health o Reduces illness to low-level processes such as disordered cells and chemical imbalances The Biopsychosocial Model  Health and illness are consequences of the interplay of biological, psychological, and social factors  Advantages o Emphasizes both health and illness Example from BMED lab: 41% increase in mortality in first 6 months after loss of spouse  Appears to be cardiovascular related  Why? o Less engagement with daily activities due to grief o Losing half of your support system o Not taking care of yourself emotionally NIH: a big source of funds for biomedical health projects  Hyperactivation after an attack to the immune system helps you  But if you have chronic inflammation of the immune system, the hyperactivation can harm you Syllabus Overview Test questions will come from lectures, readings, textbook THURSDAY NOTES ACTIVITY: Health psychology is about how psychological influences impact your physical health  Mental/social predictors  Environmental factors, societal factors  Workplace, living situation All of these affect your physical health, Mental health is on the causal pathway to physical health Ex: How depression affects your physical health Ex: How social factors influence your psychology that influences your physical health Ex: drinking water affects people’s risk of cancer – NOT health psychology, because no psychological influences are involved Stats review **EXAMPLE: Stress affecting cardiovascular disease – positive correlation Stabbing in the heart – strong positive correlation Relationship between stress and being really happy- negative Stress in general doesn’t make you happy – negative correlation The strength of the relationship is called effect size  Stress and happiness- negative  Effect size of .04 at a population level is relatively huge  Air variance – psychology’s disadvantage = even one person’s response has variance o We try to get rid of air variance o Taking cortisol levels, hooking up to EKGs,  R^2 = 0.63 Moderator: a variable that has an effect on the correlation of another variable  Moderators can be race/ethnicity, gender Pathway of this class: studying the brain Basic neuroscience  Health psychology sort of interested in.. o Not as interested in medulla, pons, maybe cerebellum o Parts of forebrain  Thalamus: coordinates information, interstate highway  Hypothalamus: homeostatic balance o Cerebral cortex: high order processing  Health psychologists are interested in the limbic system o Plays a role in emotional responses and stress  Amygdala: detection of threat  Hippocampus: emotionally charged memories  Areas in the hypothalamus: emotional functioning o Emotions are important in many of your motivations and drives  Nervous system o Central – brain and spinal cord o Peripheral – somatic nervous system and autonomic nervous system  Somatic nervous system – voluntary  Autonomic – not really automatic as traditional classes teach  Importance of Parasympathetic nervous system: homeostasis, calming o High parasympathetic tone will drop if you see a tiger, causing fear o But it needs to bounce back up in order to maintain balance o You’re more likely to die earlier if you don’t have high parasympathetic tone o Parasympathetic tone matters much more for physical health outcomes** you’d rather have this than sympathetic o It is possible to have both high parasympathetic tone and high sympathetic tone o They’re on a cross - orthogonal dimension  Hot topic in health psychology: to assess parasympathetic tone o VAGAL TONE  The vagus nerves o When parasympathetic tone is activated: you get high vagal tone, assessed by high respiratory sinus arrhythmia (variability in heart rate due to respiration/breathing in and out)  Vagal tone: The best non-invasive index we know, measured with EKGs, to assess parasympathetic tone o People high in Parasympathetic tone are less likely to get cardiovascular disease…. But ALSO highly predictive ability to regulate people’s emotions o People’s tone went up when they had to go for the carrot over the cookie o People that have high arrhythmia were more likely to say no, eat the carrot o Many things in life come down to


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