Health, Stress, and Coping
Twenty-five years ago, AIDS was rare. Now it threatens everyone and is one of the major causes
of death in the United States. In some African countries, 20percent of adults are infected.0
One factor that might affect how long AIDS patients live is their expectations about
survival. In one study, Geoffrey Reed and associates found that men with HIV who had
accepted their situation and prepared for death died an average of nine months earlier than
“fighters,” men who did not accept their situation.
is a field within psychology devoted to understanding psychological
influences on how people stay healthy, why they become ill, and how they respond when they do
get ill. It is part of the broader field of
People’s mental state, behavior, and health are linked. Through their impact on
psychological and physical processes, the stresses of life can influence physical health.
Researchers have associated hostility, depression and other negative states with the
appearance of physical illness, and traits such as optimism with good health. Poor health has
been linked to lack of exercise, inadequate diet, and drug abuse, while good health has been
associated with behaviors such as physical activity and following medical advice.0
The leading causes of death until the middle of the 20th century in the U.S. were acute
infectious diseases. Now, the leading causes of death are chronic illnesses, such as
cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, which are heavily influenced by psychological,
lifestyle, and environmental factors. As many as half of all deaths in the United States
are due to potentially preventable health-risky behaviors, yet as few as 3percent follow
a healthy lifestyle.
III0. STRESS AND STRESSORS.
Stress is part of life. Mild stress can be stimulating and motivating, but as it becomes more severe,
it brings problems.
is the negative emotional, cognitive, behavioral and physiological
process that occurs as individuals try to adjust to or deal with stressors
circumstances that disrupt, or threaten to disrupt, individuals’ daily functioning and cause people
to make adjustments.
are the physical, psychological, and behavioral responses
that occur in the face of stressors.
such as perceptions of control or threat, social support and coping skills can
minimize or magnify a stressor’s impact.
Any event that forces people to accommodate or change can be a psychological
Even very desirable 0
events can be stressors. However, the events and situations most likely to be associated with
stress are unpleasant ones.