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Introduction to Health Psychology . Christine L. Whitley. Reference. Health Psychology : Leslie R. Martin, M. Robin Dimatteo (Hardcover, 2001) ISBN: 0205297773. Positive Reinforcers : Stimuli that strengthen a response if they follow that response.

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Introduction to Health Psychology

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  • Health Psychology : Leslie R. Martin, M. Robin Dimatteo (Hardcover, 2001)
  • ISBN: 0205297773
Positive Reinforcers: Stimuli that strengthen a response if they follow that response.
  • Negative Reinforcers: The removal of unpleasant stimuli that strengthens the response that precedes the removal.
drawbacks of punishment
Drawbacks of Punishment
  • Does not “erase” an undesirable habit.
  • Can produce unwanted side effects.
  • Often ineffective unless it is given immediately after the undesirable behavior and each time the that behavior occurs.
  • Can become aggression, even abuse, when given in anger.
  • Signals that an inappropriate behavior has occurred but does not specify what should be done instead.
guidelines for effective punishment
Guidelines for Effective Punishment
  • Specify why punishment is being given.
  • Emphasize that the behavior, not the person, is being punished.
  • Without being abusive, make sure the punishment immediate and noticeable enough to eliminate the undesirable response.
  • Identify and positively reinforce more appropriate responses.
promoting healthy behaviors and preventing unhealthy behaviors
Promoting healthy behaviors and Preventing unhealthy behaviors
  • Identifying unhealthy behaviors
  • Understanding the (immediate) consequences of unhealthy behaviors
  • Designing programs to change the unhealthy behavior
  • Identifying the healthy behavior
  • Understanding the (immediate) rewards from the healthy behaviors
  • Designing programs that would combine both promotion of healthy behaviors and prevention of unhealthy behaviors.
promoting health

Life events

Personal appraisal



Personality type

Easy going, Nondepressed,


Hostile, Depressed,


Personal habits

Nonsmoking, Regular exercise, Good nutrition

Smoking, Sedentary,

Poor nutrition

Level of social support

Close, enduring


Tendency toward



Promoting Health
the immune system
The Immune System
  • The Immune system is a group of cells and organs that work together to fight infections in our bodies. Some of these organs are the thymus, spleen and lymphocytes.
  • The Immune System protects our body from pathogens, disease-causing agents, such as bacteria.  
  • There are two parts of the Immune System called nonspecific defenses and specific defenses. 
  • Nonspecific defenses, also known as the innate immune system, guard infections.  These defenses can find foreign tissues, but do not recognize a particular invader. 
  • Specific defenses, also known as the adaptive immune system, can track down pathogens that passed through the nonspecific defenses. 


stress and illness
Stress and Illness
  • Stress
    • the process by which we perceive and respond to certain events, called stressors, that we appraise as threatening or challenging
diathesis stress approach to psychopathology
Diathesis-Stress Approachto Psychopathology

James D. Laird and Nicholas S. Thompson, Psychology. Copyright © 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Reprinted by permission.


MAJOR SOURCES OF MENTAL DISORDERSMunson, Carlton E. (2001) The Mental Health Diagnostic Desk Reference: visual guides and more for learning to use the Diagnostic and statistical manual (DSM-IV-TR), 2nd Edition, Binghamton,NY: Haworth Press, p.39

  • STRESS: prolonged exposure to psychological and/or physical stessors (Identification of a traumatic event or stressor(s) is one of the criteria for the diagnosis of PTSD)
  • BIOLOGY: Aging, neural and CNA changes, mental disorders due to general medical conditions)
  • SUBSTANCES: illegal drugs, alcohol, medications, toxins)
  • PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSAULTS (Physical and sexual abuse, head trauma)
  • GENETICS: Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia

Found on:

stress appraisal




(“Yikes! This is

beyond me!”)

Panic, freeze up

Stressful event

(tough math test)


(“I’ve got to apply

all I know”)

Aroused, focused

Stress Appraisal
schachter s two factor theory of emotion




Sight of



(perception of






“I’m afraid”

Schachter’s Two-Factor Theory of Emotion
  • To experience emotion one must:
    • be physically aroused
    • cognitively label the arousal


Raw information from the senses


The process through which people take raw sensations from the environment and give them meaning, using knowledge, experience, and understanding of the world.

Elements of a sensory system

Perception = passive process

Ex. Sweet =) chocolate, cold =)snow, …

elements of a sensory system
Elements of a sensory system

CEREBRAL CORTEX receives input and produces the sensation and perception

ENERGY contains information

Accessory structure modifies energy

Sensory NERVES transfer the coded activity to the CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM

THALAMUS processes and relays the neural response

Receptor TRANSDUCES energy into a neural response

sources of motivation
Sources of Motivation
  • Biological factors: needs for food, water and proper temperatures
  • Emotional factors: panic, fear, anger, love and hatred
  • Cognitive factors: perceptions, beliefs about yourself, and expectations about others
  • Social factors: parents, teachers, siblings, friends and television
incentive theory
Incentive Theory
  • external stimuli that motivate behavior

gaining positive incentives and avoiding negative ones

  • Hunger:
    • If we don’t eat, we (individuals) die
  • Sex:
    • If we don’t reproduce, we (species) die
  • Belonging:
    • If we don’t get along, we

(group) kill each other and… die

  • Achievement:
    • If we don’t adjust to change

we (humanity) die

defense mechanisms
Defense Mechanisms
  • Repression
    • the basic defense mechanism that banishes anxiety-arousing thoughts, feelings, and memories from consciousness
  • Regression
    • defense mechanism in which an individual faced with anxiety retreats to a more infantile psychosexual stage, where some psychic energy remains fixated
defense mechanisms31
Defense Mechanisms
  • Reaction Formation
    • defense mechanism by which the ego unconsciously switches unacceptable impulses into their opposites
    • people may express feelings that are the opposite of their anxiety-arousing unconscious feelings
defense mechanisms32
Defense Mechanisms
  • Projection
    • defense mechanism by which people disguise their own threatening impulses by attributing them to others
  • Rationalization
    • defense mechanism that offers self-justifying explanations in place of the real, more threatening, unconscious reasons for one’s actions
defense mechanisms33
Defense Mechanisms
  • Displacement
    • defense mechanism that shifts sexual or aggressive impulses toward a more acceptable or less threatening object or person
    • as when redirecting anger toward a safer outlet
social cognitive perspective
Social-Cognitive Perspective
  • Personal Control
    • our sense of controlling our environments rather than feeling helpless
  • External Locus of Control
    • the perception that chance or outside forces beyond one’s personal control determine one’s fate
social cognitive perspective36
Social-Cognitive Perspective
  • Internal Locus of Control
    • the perception that one controls one’s own fate
  • Learned Helplessness
    • the hopelessness and passive resignation an animal or human learns when unable to avoid repeated aversive events
biases in attributions
Biases in Attributions
  • Fundamental Attribution Error: The tendency to overattribute the behavior of others to internal factors.
  • Actor-Observer Bias: The tendency to attribute one’s own behavior to external factors, especially when the behavior is inappropriate or inadequate.
  • Self-Serving Bias: The tendency to take personal credit for success but blame external causes for failure.
humanistic approach
Humanistic Approach
  • Emphasis on subjective meaning, a rejection ofdeterminism, and a concern for positive growth rather than pathology

Abraham Maslow


Carl Rogers


  • Want to know more?

promoting healthy behaviors and preventing unhealthy behaviors42
Promoting healthy behaviors and Preventing unhealthy behaviors
  • Identifying unhealthy behaviors
  • Understanding the (immediate) consequences of unhealthy behaviors
  • Designing programs to change the unhealthy behavior
  • Identifying the healthy behavior
  • Understanding the (immediate) rewards from the healthy behaviors
  • Designing programs that would combine both promotion of healthy behaviors and prevention of unhealthy behaviors.
basic principles in prevention


Two Definitions:

1) Prevention is a proactive process which focuses on capacity-building for individuals, families, institutions, and organizations-- including specifically identified high-risk individuals and/or groups within the population.

2) Prevention is an active process of creating conditions and personal attributes that promote the well-being of people.

Prevention strategies may operate in the host, (e.g., individual, group), the agent, (e.g., alcohol, cocaine), or the environment, (e.g., university campus, city).

three levels of prevention
Three Levels of Prevention
  • Primary prevention: Efforts to preclude the onset of substance abuse.
  • Targeted Prevention: Efforts targeting individuals of groups which are characterized by identifiable risk factors for substance abuse.
  • Early Intervention: Efforts targeting individuals or groups which are characterized by problematic use of alcohol or other drugs in order to reduce the likelihood that patterned abuse or dependence will develop.
some basic premises regarding prevention have been established
Some basic premises regarding prevention have been established:
  • Prevention strategies must be comprehensively structured to reduce individual and environmental risk factors and to increase resiliency factors in high-risk populations.
  • Community involvement is a necessary component of an effective prevention strategy; a shared relationship among all parties is essential in the promotion of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention efforts.
  • Prevention must be intertwined with the general health care and social services delivery systems and it must provide for a full continuum of services.
  • Prevention approaches and messages that are tailored to differing populations groups are most effective.
prevention strategies
Prevention Strategies
  • Information Dissemination: This strategy provides for a.) awareness and knowledge of the nature and extent of unhealthy behavior b.) their effects on individuals, families, and communities c.) information to increase perceptions of risk associated unhealthy behavior d.) knowledge and awareness of prevention policies, programs, and e.) set and reinforce norms
  • Prevention Education: This strategy aims to affect critical life and social skills, including decision making, refusal skills, critical analysis (for example, of media messages), and systemic and judgmental abilities.
  • Alternatives: This strategy provides for the participation of targeted populations in activities that would encourage healthy choices. Constructive and healthy activities offset the attractive and/or otherwise meet the needs usually filled by, AOD use.
  • Problem Identification and Referral: This strategy calls for identification, education, and counseling for those who have indulged in age-inappropriate behaviors. Activities under this strategy would include screening for tendencies toward unhealthy choices.
  • Community-Based Process: This strategy aims to enhance the ability of the community to provide prevention and treatment services more effectively. Activities include organizing, planning, enhancing efficiency and effectiveness of services implementation, interagency collaboration, coalition building, and networking. Building healthy communities encourage healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Environmental Approach: This strategy sets up or changes written and unwritten community standards, codes, and attitudes. Being aware of your community and environment and working proactively is an essential part of prevention efforts.
web resources
Web Resources: