Introductory Psychology PSY 101
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Date Created: 09/19/15
CHAPTER 14 7 STRESS AND HEALTH Behavioral Medicine An interdisciplinary eld that integrates behavioral and medical knowledge and applies that knowledge to health and disease Health Psychology A sub eld of psychology that provides psychology s contribution to behavioral medicine I Stress and Illness Stress The process by which we perceive and respond to certain events called stressors that we appraise as threatening or challenging Appraisal determines response ie challengeopportunity stressillness Stress response Sympathetic Nervous System arousal 7 increases heart rate and respiration diverts blood from digestion to the skeletal muscles dulls pain and releases sugar and fat from the body s stores7fight or ight response Cerebral cortex via the hypothalamus and pituitary gland order the outer cortical part of the adrenal gland secretes the stress hormone cortisol General adaptation syndrome GAS Selye s concept of the body s adaptive response to stress in three stages7alarm resistance exhaustion Alarm Sympathetic nervous system arousal Resistance Temperature blood pressure and respiration remain high and there is a sudden outpouring of hormones Exhaustion Persistent stress depletes body s reserves vulnerable to illness or even in extreme cases collapse and death Research findings Prolonged stress shrinks hippocampus essential for new memories Stressors Catastrophes signi cant life changes daily hasslescon icts Chronic stress Decreases with age Perceived control Reduces stress related to longevity explains relationship between poverty and longevity Optimism Optimists cope better with stress healthier live longer Loss of control Stress hormones released and immune function decreased 11 7 Stress and the Heart Coronary heart disease Clogging of the vessels that nourish the heart muscle leading cause of death in many developed countries Behavioral and physiological factors Smoking obesity a highfat diet physical inactivity elevated blood pressure and an elevated cholesterol level The psychological factors of stress and personality also play a big role Type A Competitive harddriving impatient verbally aggressive angerprone Type B Easygoing relaxed Type A may be more prone to coronary diseases due to their behaviors smoking caffeine and physiological reactivity to stress 7 combat ready 7 stress hormones and buildup of plaque in artery walls May also be hostility anger and cynicism of Type As Pessimism and depression are also related to heart disease Type D Distressed Negative emotions and social inhibition prone to heart disease III 7 Stress and Susceptibility to Disease Psychophysiological illness A mindbody illness any stressrelated physical illness such as hypertension and some headaches Note This is distinct from hypochondriasis7 misinterpreting normal physical sensations as symptoms of a disease Immune System In uenced by Nervous System and Endocrine System Lymphocytes The two types of white blood cells B lymphocytes form in the bone marrow and release antibodies that ght bacterial infections T lymphocytes form in the thymus and other lymphatic tissue and among other duties attack cancer cells viruses and foreign substances Macrophage Identi es pursues and ingests harmful invaders Age nutrition genetics body temperature and stress all in uence the immune system s activity Immune system may overreact Attack the body s own tissues causing arthritis or an allergic reaction or underreact allowing say a dormant herpes virus to erupt or cancer cells to multiply Women are immunologically stronger than men and thus more susceptible to overreaction diseases MS and lupus Brain regulates the secretion of stress hormones which in turn suppress the diseasefighting lymphocytes Stress diverts energy from immune system to the fightor ight response Stress and AIDS Acquired immune deficiency syndrome caused by the human immunodeficiency virus HIV spread by exchange of bodily uids primarily semen and blood progresses more rapidly if stressed Stress and Cancer Stress may increase susceptibility to and progress of cancer more susceptible within a year of high stress depression modest relationship at best vs strong biological forces Conditioning the Immune System Conditioning provides an additional psychological in uence on the body s immune response e g sneeze to arti cial owers Can classical conditioning suppress the immune response Might be able to enhance immune response to placebo Everythingyj I I 39 Iis 39 I Iyl39 I 39 I IV Promoting Health Coping with Stress Aerobic exercise Sustained exercise that increases heart rate and lung tness reduces stress depression and anxiety by increasing arousal and brain serotonin norephinephrine endorphins modestly enhances cognitive abilities such as memory new brain cells in mice exercising daily strengthens heart increases blood ow keeps vessels open and lowers blood pressure Biofeedback A system for electronically recording amplifying and feeding back information regarding a subtle physiological state such as blood pressure or muscle tension may be no better than lessexpensive approaches such as Relaxation and meditation Relieves hypertension insomnia headaches Relaxation training is a component of many stressreduction programs Life style modi cation Can reduce recurrence of heart attacks eat slowly smile at others laugh at self Social Support may be related to health because those who have it 1 more likely to get medical treatment when needed 2 eat better and exercise more 3 sleep better 4 smoke and drink less 5 overcome stressful events 6 bolster selfesteem 7 someone to confide in tell troubles to Social support decreases in old age passing of friends and family Supportive environments may enhance immunofunctioning Calms the cardiovascular system lowers BP and stress hormones Spirituality andFaith Communities 1 After adjusting for age and education not smoking regular exercise and religious attendance all predicted a lowered risk of death in any given year 2 Relationship may be due to healthier lifestyle social support positive emotions of religious vs not religious attendees 3 Even controlling for gender unhealthy behaviors social ties and preexisting health problems there is still a faith effect on mortality Modifying Illnessrelated Behaviors Complementary and alternative medicine Unproven health care treatments not taught widely in medical schools not used in hospitals and not usually reimbursed by insurance companies acupuncture massage homeopathy spiritual healing herbal remedies chiropractic aromatherapy etc May seem effective but effects may be attributable to other factors e g remission time Smoking Leading avoidable cause of death starts in early teens socialcognitive theory modeling and rewards cool tough sociable risky 7 90 of smokers began as teens dependence and tolerance make it difficult to quit 7 l in 7 more difficult than heroin and cocaine reinforces itself by ending craving and giving a lift stimulates the release of neurotransmitters that calm anxiety and decrease sensitivity to pain increased dopamine release and epinephrine and NE that increase alertness improve mental function decrease appetite Reaches brain in 7 seconds Heritability about 60 responsiveness to dopamine Rates have decreased significantly but still high among lower SES groups and increasing in developing countries mostly among men Program that inoculated teens against peer pressure and ads were effective in preventing later smoking as is making it immediately costly Nutrition Carbohydrates increase brain levels of trytophan needed for make serotonin 7 sleepy relaxed less pain Proteins improve concentration and alertness Sweets replace better nutrition for children with adverse effects on health Salt and hypertension Balanced breakfast 7 less fatigue more alertness later in morning Good fatty acids may be related to less depression Obesity 65 of Americans Storing fat was adaptive and still is in developing countries where famines occur Obesity increases the risk of diabetes high blood pressure heart disease gallstones arthritis sleep disorders and certain types of cancer risks are greater for appleshaped people who carry their weight in pot bellies than for pearshaped people with ample hips and thighs shorter lives BMI Body Mass Index to determine obesity Negative stereotypes social rejection and job discrimination Obesity is perceived as a matter of choice lack of selfdiscipline or as re ecting a personality problem7a maladjusted way of reducing anxiety dealing with guilt or gratifying an oral fixation Fat cells size and number determine body fat