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Health Psychology

the branch of psychology that investigates the physiological factors related to wellness and illness, including the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental problems


the study if the relationship among psychological factors, the immune system and the brain


a person's response to events that are threatening or challenging


events that produce threats to our well being

Cataclysmic Events

strong stessors that occur suddenly, affecting many people at once

Personal Stressors

major life events, such as the death of a family member, that have immediate negative consequences that generally fade with time

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

a phenomenon in which victims of major catastrophes or strong personal stressors feel long-lasting effects that may include re-experiencing the event in vivid flashbacks or dreams

Background Stressors

everyday annoyances, such as being stuck in traffic, that cause minor irritations and may have long term ill effects if they continue or are compounded by other stressful events


minor positive events that make us feel good- even if only temporarily

Stress generates:

a rise in hormone secretions by the adrenal glands, an increase in heart and blood pressure, and changes in how well the skin conducts electrical impulses

Psychophysiological Disorders

medical problems influenced by an interaction of psychological, emotional, and physical difficulties

Ex. Psychophysiological Disorders:

high blood pressure, headaches, backaches, skin rashes, indigestion, fatigue, constipation, and common cold.

General Adaptation Syndrome

theory developed by Selye that suggests that a person's response to a stressor consists of 3 stages: alarm and mobilization, resistances, and exhaustion

Alarm and Mobilization

first stage of G.A.S.; people become aware of the presence of a stressor


second stage of G.A.S.; the body prepares to fight the stressor


third stage of G.A.S.; a persons ability to adapt to the stressor declines to the point where negative consequences of stress appear

Negative Consequences of Stress

physical illness, inability to concentrate, heightened irritability, disorientation, or a loss of touch with reality

Major Consequences from Stress:

-Direct Physiological Effects
-Harmful Behaviors
-Indirect Health-Related Behaviors

Direct Physiological Effects:

increased blood pressure, increase in hormonal activity, overall decline in the functioning of the immune system.

Harmful Behaviors:

increased nicotine, drug and alcohol use; poor eating habits; decreased sleep

Indirect Health-Related Behaviors:

reduction in likelihood if obtaining health care and decreased compliance with medical advice.


efforts to control, reduce, or learn to tolerate the threats that lead to stress

Emotion-Focused Coping

people try to manage their emotions un face of stress, seeking to change the way they feel about or perceive a problem

Problem-Focused Coping

attempts to modify the stressful problems or source of stress

Avoidant Coping

a person may use wishful thinking to reduce stress or use a more direct escape route, such as drug use, alcohol use, or overreacting

Defense Mechanisms

unconscious strategies that people use to reduce anxiety by concealing the source from themselves and others

Emotional Insulation

defense mechanism in which a person stops experiencing any emotions at all

Learned Helplessness

a state in which people conclude that unpleasant or aversive stimuli cannot be controlled- a view of the world that becomes so ingrained that they cease trying to remedy the aversive circumstances, even if they actually can exert some influence


a personality characteristic associated with a lower rate of stress-related illness, consisting of the components: commitment, challenge, and control


the ability to withstand, overcome, and actually thrive after profound adversity

Social Support

a mutual network of caring, mutually interested others


a disagreeable emotional and cognitive reaction that results from the restriction of one's freedom

Subjective Well-Being

people's own evaluation of their lives in terms of both their thoughts and their emotions


the process by which we encode, store, and retrieve information

Sensory Memory

the initial, momentary storage of information, lasting only an instant

Short-term Memory

memory that holds information for 15 to 25 seconds

Long-term Memory

memory that stores information on a relatively permanent basis, although it may be difficult to retrieve


a meaningful grouping of stimuli that can be stored as a unit in short-term memory


the repetition of information that has entered short-term memory

Working Memory

a set of active, temporary memory stores that actively manipulate and rehearse information

Declarative Memory

memory for factual information: names, faces, dates, and the like

Procedural Memory

memory for skills and habits, such as riding a bike or hitting a baseball, sometimes referred to as non-declarative memory

Semantic Memory

memory for general knowledge and facts about the world, as well as memory for the rules of logic that as used to deduce other facts

Episodic Memory

memory for events that occur in a particular time, place, or context

Semantic Networks

mental representations of clusters of interconnected information


memory task in which specific information must be retrieved


memory task in which individuals are presented with a stimulus and asked whether they have been exposed to it in the past or to identify it from a list of alternatives

Levels-of-processing Theory

the theory of memory that emphasizes the degree to which new material is mentally analyzed

Explicit Memory

intentional on conscious recollection of information

Implicit Memory

memories of which people are not consciously aware, but which can affect subsequent performance and behavior


a phenomenon in which exposure to a word or concept later makes it easier to recall related information, even when there is no conscious memory of the word or concept

Flashbulb Memories

memories centered on a specific, important, or surprising event that are so vivid it is as if they a represented as a snapshot of the event

Constructive Proceses

processes in which memories are influenced by the meaning we give to events


organized bodies of information stored in memory that bias the way new information is interpreted, stored, and recalled

Autobiographical memories

our recollections of circumstances and episodes for our own lives


the loss of information in memory through its nonuse


the phenomenon by which information in memory disrupts the recall of other information

Cue-dependent memory

forgetting that occurs when there are insufficient retrieval cues to rekindle information that is in memory

Proactive interference

interference in which information learned earlier disrupts the recall of newer material

Retroactive interference

interference in which there is difficulty in the recall of information learned earlier because of later exposure to different material

Alzheimer's Disease

an illness characterized in part by severe memory problems


memory loss that occurs without other mental difficulties

Retrograde amnesia

amnesia in which memory is lost for occurrences prior to a certain event

Anterograde Amnesia

amnesia in which memory is lost for events thats follow an injury

Korsakoff's syndrome

a disease that afflicts long-term alcoholics, leaving some abilities intact but including hallucinations and a tendency to repeat the same story

Approach/Approach Conflict

conflict in which the individual must choose between two attractive stimuli or circumstances

Avoidance/Avoidance Conflict

conflict in which the individual must choose between two unattractive stimuli or circumstances

Approach/Avoidance Conflict

conflict involving a single stimulus or circumstances that has both positive and negative characteristics

Type A personality

excessively competitive, hard driven, impatient, hostile (increased heart attack)

Type B personality

relaxed and easy going personality

Type C personality

keep emotions inside, higher increase of cancer

Behavioral Medicine

try to treat illness

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