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Flashcards in Health Psychology 2301 Deck (120)
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World Health Organization definition of Health

state of complete physical, mental and social well‐being

Note: not just the absence of illness


Infectious Disease

 bacteria or viuses in the body


Early Culture (3)


  • Magic/Supernatural: linked to bad "spiritual health"
    • undo spell
    • magical sucking
    • scare demon out (trephination- bore hole skull)
    • ceremony coax skull back
  • Greece: visit temples to be cured
  • Hippocrates: Humoral Theory (excess of either blood, black or yellow bile or phlegm led to disease) plus imbalance was due to "personality" 


Galen / Plato


  • illness can be localized  / different diseases have different effects


  • Mind has no relationship to health, separate entities


Middle Ages and the influence of Church (4)

  • Illness was God's punishment for evildoing
  • Only God can cure you / priest as physician
  • NO autopsies as the body was considered as sacred
  • pilgrammages to cure illnesses (stops on way to house sick were "hospices" thus "hospital" origin


Renaissance - Da Vinci (2) and Descartes

  • more human centered than God centered
  • autopsies now ALLOWED
  • Da Vinci's anatomical drawings
  • Cauterization - amputate to save lives


  • body as machine (pain pathway)
  • mind and body communicate through pineal gland
  • soul leaves at death 


Biomedical Model (2)

All diseases or physical disorders are caused by disturbances in physiological processes

  • psych. and social processes- independent of diseases
  • New definition of health: "Freedom from disease, pain or defect" so...if not sick, must be in good health


Illness today versus past

Early centuries:

  • illness due to disease
  • "person" not a part of it


  • chronic disease and injury (living longer, more exposure to stress / chemicals)
  • can vary with each person 
  • people are more aware of the signs and symptoms
  • able to find health care and better diagnostics


Definition Risk Factor

Characteristics or conditions associated with the development of a disease or injury


Breslow's Correlational Study

7 apsects of lifestyle:


  1. Health got better as lifestyle improved (as # of HB increased)
  2. Age not a determinent

Conclusion: behaviour matters




Health Care Models (5)

  1. Psychosomatic medicine
  2. Behavioural Medicine
  3. Health Psychology: behaviour, perception, lifestyle, cognition
  4. Biopsychosocial 
  5. Biomedical


Psychosomatic Medicine (3)

  • symptoms or illnesses caused / aggravated by psychological factors 
  • Freud: psychoanalyatic theory: some symptoms are converted from repressed emotional conflict)
    • patient converts the conflict into symptom
    • anxiety decreases as no long repressed
  • Canon:
    • stomach affected by emotional state
    • stress affects autonomic nervous system
    • Fight or Flight response (devp)
  • Today: moe than just conflict/stress/type to cause illness - variety factors


Classical / Operant Conditioning

  • Classical: (Pavlov) 2 stimuli repeatedly paired, response elicited by 2nd stimulus (potent) eventually elicited by 1st (neutral)
  • Operant: behaiour changes due to consequences 
    • reinforcement: strengthens behaviour
    • punishment: suppresses behaviour


Biopsychosocial Perspective

  1. Biological factors: genetics / strucutre & function body
  2. Psych. factors: cognition, emotion, motivation
  3. Social factors; social world, community, mass media

All above are interrelated - holistic perspective, human body is dynamic entity with components that are interrelated and we interrelate with society, family, community


Health Psychology (4)

  1. promote and maintain health
  2. prevent and treat illness
  3. identify causes and correlates of health, illness and related dysfunction
  4. analyze and improve health care systems and improve policy


6 terms used by Epidemiology

  1. Mortality - death (generally large scale)
  2. Morbidity - illness, injury or disability
  3. Prevalence - # cases of disease or ppl at risk
  4. Incidence - # NEW cases reported in spec. period
  5. Epidemic - incidence has rapidly increased
  6. Pandemic - epidemic that has increased to international or worldwide proportions


Sociocultural Perspectives (2)

Sociocultural differences:

  1. ethnic or income variations that impact on health
  2. health belief and behaviour: e.g. yin/yang (imbalance leads to bad health), inuit and view of cancer (sickness which cannot be fixed)


Non-experimental research

  • Quasi-experimental: good when can't randomly assign groups or manipulate independent variables
  • Correlational: relationship between variables
  • Experimental: controlled study in which researchers manipulate an independent variable to study its effect on a dependent variable
    • usually experimental, control and placebo groups


Correlational Study (4)

  • non-experimental investigation of the degree and direction of statstical association between two variables.
  • can help predict risk factors for health problems


Cause and Effect Conclusion


  • levels of independent and dependent variables corresponded together
  • cause precedes the effect
  • all other plausible causes have been ruled out


Retrospective / Prospective

  • Retrospective: look back at the history of subjects to find commonalities that may suggest why they developed (or not) a disease
    • caveat: relying on ppl's memories 
  • Prospective: look forward to see if differences in a variable at one point in time are related to a difference in the variable at a later date 


Developmental Approach

  • Cross section: diff people of diff ages observed at same time
  • Longitudinal: repeated observation of SAME person or ppl over long period of time
  • Cohort effect: influence of having been born and raised at different times
  • Single subject approach: case study (best for unusual medical or psych problem)


Genetics research

e.g. twin and adoption studies 

  1. heredity affects physiological functions (eg BP)
  2. genetic disorders can produce high levels of cholesterol in blood - at risk CHD
  3. heredity impacts early/ later it's lifestyle
  4. environmental factors stronger than heredity re cancer
  5. molecular genetics - identify genes that affect addictive behaviour, high cholest. etc.


Exampes genetic abnormalites

  • Sickle-cell anemia:
    • mostly ppl African and Caribbean
    • cells that are low oxygen clump together, can't fit thru capilleries
    • vital organs don't get enough oxygen
    • tissue damage, organ failure
  • Phenylketonuria (PKU)
    • more for white ppl
    • baby's body fails to produce enzyme needed to metabolize Phenylalanine
    • toxic acid builds up, causes brain damage


Stress - definition

transactions that lead a person to perceive a discrepancy between the physical and psychological demands of a situation and the resources of his biological, psychological or social system

(demand, resource or discrepancy can be real OR simply believed to exist)


Environmental Stressor

any environmental demand that creates a state of tension or threat (stress) and requires change or adaptation (adjustment). 



approach/approach - simultaneous attraction to two appealing possibilities, neither of which has any negative qualities.

avoidance/avoidance - facing a choice between two undesirable possibilities, neither of which has any positive qualities.

approach/avoidance - being simultaneously attracted to and repelled by the same goal


Chronic vs Acute Stress

Acute: short lived (e.g. writing an exam)

Chronic: ongoing conflict, illness

e.g. work - stressful job (no control or decision-making, heavy workload)

where you live: low SES and health can have a direct relationship (safety concerns, poor housing or hygiene, stress between neighbors)



Nervous System - definition

  • Controls the way we initiate behavioiur and respond to events
  • Stores information, allows us to think, reason and create


Myelin Sheath

  • increases speed of nerve impulses
  • prevents interference from adjacent nerve impulses
  • degenerates and nerves can become severed
  • developes top to bottom
  • poor nutrition can retard myelin growth