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health psychology

subfield of psychology that is concerned with how psychological and social variables affect health and illness


a person's ability to bounce back or rebound psychologically after being confronted by stress

positive psychology

a movement within the field of psychology that stresses healthy psychological functioning, positive emotions, and resilient coping


nonspecific response of the body to any demand made of it


anything that causes an organism to adjust and display the nonspecific stress response

general adaptation syndrome (GAS)

typical series of responses to stressful situations that includes the alarm, resistance and exhaustion stages

acculturative stress

the stress of adapting to a new culture

posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

set of symptoms that may follow deeply disturbing events; symptoms include reliving the event, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances, anxiety, and guilt

primary appraisal

the first step in coping with stress; consists of determining whether the event is a threat or not

secondary appraisal

the second step in coping with stress; consists of deciding how to deal with the stress-producing situation

immune system

system that protects the body against foreign substances such as viruses and bacteria


foreign substances such as bacteria that trigger an immune response

human immunodeficiency virus (HIV

a virus that is usually contracted through the transfer of semen, blood, or vaginal secretions and is the cause of AIDS

acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)

viral disease transmitted via bodily fluids such as blood and semen, usually during sexual relations or by sharing needles used by a person infected with HIV; the virus attacks the body's immune system, resulting in vulnerability to infections and diseases, which eventually cause death


cognitive and behavioral efforts that are used to reduce the effects of stress

social support

availability of comfort, recognition, approval, advice, money, or encouragement from others

progressive relaxation

series of exercises consisting of alternately tightening and relaxing major muscle groups

relaxation response

relaxation technique that involves the use of a mental device


providing information about some ongoing biological process such as muscle tension in the hope that the person will learn to adjust the process

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