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Health Psychology

a subfield of psychology that provides psychology's contribution to behavioral medicine


the process by which we perceive and respond to certain events, called stressors, that we appraise as threatening or challenging.


a negative stress that can make a person sick or can keep a person from reaching a goal


sources of stress


annoyances of daily life that impose a stressful burden

Chronic Stress

unrelieved stress that continues to tax a person's resources to the point of exhaustion

Life Event

An episode marking a transition point in the life course that provokes coping and readjustment.


the blocking of goal-directed behavior


struggle between opposing forces

Approach-Approach Conflict

Conflict that results from having to choose between two attractive alternatives

Avoidance-Avoidance Conflict

Conflict that results from having to choose between two distasteful alternatives

Approach-Avoidance Conflict

Conflict that results from having to choose an alternative that has both attractive and unappealing aspects

Multiple Approach-Avoidance Conflict

a conflict in which one must choose between options that have both many attractive and many negative aspects

Traumatic Stressors

Situations that threaten your own or others' physical safety, arousing feelings of fear, horror, or helplesness.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

an anxiety disorder that involves enduring psychological disturbance attributed to the experience of a major traumatic event; characterized by haunting memories, nightmares, social withdrawal; jumpy anxiety, and/or insomnia that lingers for four weeks or more after a traumatic experience

Type A Behavior Pattern

A behavior pattern marked by a sense of time urgency, impatience, excessive competitiveness, hostility, and anger; considered a risk factor in coronary heart disease.

Type B Behavior Pattern

a pattern of behavior characterized by relaxed, noncompetitive, easygoing, and accommodating behavior

Acculturative Stress

stress resulting from the need to change and adapt a person's ways to the majority culture

Hans Seyle

The father of "modern stress theory." Defined eustress and distress. Stated that stress is a mutual action of forces in the body.General Adaptation Syndrome

General Adaptation Syndrome

Seyle's concept that the body responds to stress with alarm, resistance and exhaustion

Alarm Reaction

first stage of the general adaptation syndrome, involving mobilization of the body's resurces to cope with an immediate stressor

Fight-or-Flight response

a physical reaction triggered by the sympathetic nervous system preparing the body to fight or run from a threatening situation

Resistance Stage

second stage of the general adaptation syndrome, characterized by the body's attempt to adjust or adapt to persistent stress

Exhaustion Stage

third stage of the general adaptation syndrome, characterized by depletion of bodily resources and a lowered resistance to stress-related disorders or conditions

Corticotrophin-Releasing Hormone (CRH)

released by the hypothalamus
that signals the release of ACTH
by the anterior pituitary gland.

Adrenocorticotrophic Hormone (ACTH)

stimulates secretion from adrenal cortex

Adrenal Glands

a pair of endocrine glands just above the kidneys. the adrenals secrete the hormones epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline), which help to arouse the body in times of stress.


adrenal hormones that increase the body's resistance to stress by increasing the availability of stored nutrients to meet the increased energy demands of coping with stressful events

Adrenal Cortex

the ourter part of the adrenal gland that secretes many hormones, including cortisone and aldosterone

Adrenal Medulla

inner part of adrenal gland; secretes epinephrine and norepinephrine

Immune system

the cells, tissues, and organs that protect the body from disease.


Make antibodies to destroy foreign pathogens


Foreign material that invades the body


Specialized proteins that aid in destroying infectious agents

Psychological hardiness

A personality trait characterized by control, commitment, and challenge.


exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation, usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration

Coronary Heart Disease

the clogging of the vessels that nourish the heart muscle; the leading cause of death in many developed countries.


hardening of an artery


condition in which fatty deposits called plaque build up on the inner walls of the arteries


disorder in which some of the body's own cells lose the ability to control growth


a chronic allergic disorder characterized by episodes of severe breathing difficulty, coughing, and wheezing

Migraine Headaches

characterized by periodic attacks of pain, nausea, increased sensitivity to light and sound

Peptic ulcers

These are erosions that form in the esophagus, stomach or duodenum, resulting from an acid/pepsin imbalance

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