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Physical, Emotional and Cognitive Effects of Stress Psychological Factors and Health Psychological Factors in Physical Health Problems Factors in Health.

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Presentation on theme: "Physical, Emotional and Cognitive Effects of Stress Psychological Factors and Health Psychological Factors in Physical Health Problems Factors in Health."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Physical, Emotional and Cognitive Effects of Stress Psychological Factors and Health Psychological Factors in Physical Health Problems Factors in Health and Illness Becoming an Active Health Consumer

3 Health Psychology The field of psychology that studies the relationships between psychological factors and the prevention and treatment of physical illness.

4 Physical, Emotional and Cognitive Effects of Stress

5 The Body’s Response to Stress General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS): Selye’s term for a hypothesized three- stage response to stress. Stage 1: Alarm Reaction Stage 2: Resistance Stage 3: Exhaustion

6 The Nervous System Note: During stress, the sympathetic nervous system is activated.

7 Stage 1: Alarm Reaction The first stage of the GAS, which is triggered by the impact of a stressor and characterized by activity in the sympathetic division of the nervous system. Sympathetic division: The division of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) that is most active during activities and emotional responses—such as anxiety and fear– that spend the body’s reserves of energy.

8 Stage 2: Resistance Stage The second stage of the GAS, characterized by prolonged sympathetic nervous system activity in an effort to restore lost energy and repair damage. Also called the adaptation stage.

9 Stage 3: Exhaustion Stage If the stressor is not dealt with properly, we may enter the exhaustion stage. While individual abilities to deal with stressor vary, if the stressor continues, everyone will enter the exhaustion stage. The exhaustion stage is characterized by weakened resistance and possible deterioration. Continued stress during the exhaustion stage can lead to “diseases of adaptation” (hives, allergies and coronary heart disease).

10 Stress and Emotions While positive emotions such as love and desire fill our days with purpose, negative emotions can fill us with dread and make each day a chore to navigate. Stress can lead to anxiety, anger and depression.

11 Stress and Cognition Under stress, people may have difficulty thinking clearly or remaining focused on the task at hand. High levels of bodily arousal that characterize the alarm reaction stage can impair memory functioning and problem solving ability (example: test anxiety).

12 Immune System The system of the body that recognizes and destroys foreign agents (antigens) that invade the body. Stress can weaken the immune system, and consequently make us more vulnerable to disease. For example, during stress the body increases the production of corticosteroids. Corticosteroids suppress the functioning of the immune system. Note: Social Support has been shown to buffer the effects of stress and enhance the immune system.

13 The Immune System (cont.) White blood cells (shown here) are key to fighting off bacteria and viruses. However, stress suppresses white blood cell activity.

14 Factors in Health and Illness

15 Multifactorial Model The belief that health and illness are a function of multiple factors involving biological, psychological, and cultural domains, and their interactions.

16 Sociocultural Factors Ethnicity, gender and socioeconomic status all impact health. Ethnicity: The life expectancy of African Americans is seven years shorter than that of European Americans. Gender: Men are more likely than women to have Coronary Heart Disease. Socioeconomic Status: Less well-educated people are more likely to smoke and suffer from obesity.

17 Sociocultural Factors Deaths per 100,000 Women Aged 35 and Above from Heart Disease.

18 Psychological Factors In Physical Health Problems

19 Headaches Headaches are among the most common stress-related physical ailments. Two of the most common types are muscle-tension and migraine. Muscle-Tension: The single most frequent type of headache. Persistent stress can lead to constant contraction of shoulder, neck forehead and scalp muscles. Catastrophizing negative events can also bring on muscle tension headaches.

20 Headaches (cont.) Migraine: Throbbing headaches caused by wavelike firing of neurons on the brain, which creates ripples of neural activity that reach pain centers in the brain stem. Sensory and motor disturbances may precede the onset of the migraine. The underlying causal mechanisms of migraine are not well understood but appear to be related to changes in blood flow to the brain and subsequent imbalances of serotonin.

21 Treatment of Headaches Aspirin, acetaminophen, and prescription drugs are used to fight headache pain. Newer drugs combat migraines by balancing serotonin levels. Relaxation Training Identify triggers for attacks such as chocolate, MSG, red wine, fluorescent lights, etc.

22 Menstrual Problems Premenstrual Syndrome refers to a cluster of physical and psychological symptoms that afflict some women prior to menstruation % of women experience some discomfort prior to or during menstruation.

23 The causes of PMS are not fully understood, but researchers believe that a women’s sensitivity to estrogen and progesterone will contribute to PMS. PMS also appears to be linked to serotonin imbalances in the brain. GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid) also appears to play a role. PMS may ultimately be caused by a complex interaction between hormones and neurotransmitters. Causes of PMS

24 Coronary Heart Disease Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Some of the common risk factors: Family History Physiological Conditions Patterns of Consumption Type A behavior Hostility and Anger Job Strain Physical Inactivity

25 Job Strain Model Occupations with high demands and low control place workers at greater risk of heart disease.

26 Reducing Risk of CHD Stopping Smoking, controlling weight, and following a healthful diet. Reducing Hypertension. Lowering low-density lipoprotein serum cholesterol. Modifying Type A behavior. Exercising.

27 Cancer Cancer is the number one killer of women in the United States and the number two killer of men. Cancer is a disease characterized by the development of abnormal, or mutant cells that may take root anywhere in the body. Cancer cells are normally destroyed by our immune system, but people who have an impaired immune system (as a result of physical or psychological factors) are more likely to develop tumors.

28 Cancer Risk Factors Obesity High fat intake Diets low in fiber Depression Stress

29 Cancer Prevention Limit exposure to behavioral risk factors (such as smoking) Modify diet by reducing fat and increasing intake of fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage appear to be helpful. Exercise regularly Have regular medical checkups Regulate exposure to stress If living with cancer, maintain hope and a fighting spirit.

30 Becoming an Active Health Consumer

31 Tips for Talking with Your Doctor Describe your complaints clearly and fully. Don’t hold back, cover up or distort your symptoms. Don’t accept a treatment recommendation that you don’t want. Get another opinion. Insist on explanations in plain language. Don’t be swayed by a doctor who says your problems are “all in your head”.

32 Preventing Mismanaged Care Look under the hood before joining a health plan. Discuss coverage for hospital stays. Insist on your right to see a specialist. Learn what to do in case of emergencies.

33 To the Instructor: The preceding slides are intended to provide you a base upon which to build your presentation for Chapter 4 of Nevid’s Psychology and the Challenges of Life. For further student and instructor resources including images from the textbook, quizzes, flashcard activities and e-Grade plus, please visit our website:

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35 Copyright Copyright 2004 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, NY. All rights reserved. No part of the material protected by this copyright may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission of the copyright owner.


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