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Stress and Health

Behavioral Medicine

An interdisciplinary field that integrates behavioral and medical knowledge and applies that knowledge to health and disease.

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. Arises less from events themselves than from how we appraise them.

General Adaptation Level Syndrome (GAS)

Selye's concept of the body's adaptive response to stress in three stages - alarm, resistance, exhaustion. ARE ye ready?

Coronary Heart Disease

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

Type A

Friedman and Rosenman's term for competitive, hard-driving, impatient, verbally aggressive, and anger-prone people.

Type B

Friedman and Rosenman's term for easygoing, relaxed people.

Psychophysiological Illness

Literally "mind-body" illness; any stress-related physical illness, such as hypertension and some headaches. Distinct from hypochondriasis - misinterpreting normal physical sensations as symptoms of a disease.


The two types of white blood cells that are part of the body's immune system: B Lymphocytes from in the Bone marrow and release antibodies that fight Bacterial infections; T Lymphocytes from in the thymus and, along other duties, attack cancer cells, viruses, and foreign substances.

Aerobic Exercise

Sustained exercise that increases heart and lung fitness; may also alleviate depression and anxiety.


A system for electronically recording, amplifying, and feeding back information regarding a subtle physiological state, such as blood pressure or muscle tension.

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.

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