Psychology in Action

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discover the Saudi Arabia connection. Explain that this incident could be explained in terms of stress from the war experience. This illness is called posttraumatic stress syndrome. Ask students if they believe this disorder is real or just an attempt by psychologists to explain behaviors they cannot otherwise explain. Ask them if they know any individuals who might have this problem. Ask for students to volunteer their experiences in stressful war situations; you are likely to have a Vietnam or Gulf War veteran in your class. This can be an excellent start to your lectures on stress. 2. Ask why anyone would willingly undergo dangerous, stressful situations? The stress can be at a maximum and yet individuals do this for recreation. Very good examples are mountain biking, skiing, hang gliding, and white water sports. They all are stress-inducing behaviors. Ask individual volunteers why they do these sports. Can this type of behavior be stress-reducing? Use this discussion for a lead-in for your stress lectures. Instructor’s Resource Guide                 Chapter 3 Page  91            
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  L ecture E xtenders 1 . Hypertension A common disorder that has been suspected of having psychological roots is hypertension. The logic for relating stress and hypertension is the known relationship between a "threat" to the person, either physical or psychological, and the arousal of the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system plays an important role in the constriction of the blood vessels which has an immediate effect upon blood pressure. Since many cases of hypertension occur without any known etiologic factor, investigators have hypothesized that chronic tension and repressed anger are the villains. Within the last few years the medical profession has become aware of the differential rates in hypertension between African Americans and white Americans with the former group suffering the most from this disorder. The issue of psychological versus physiological factors in the demographics of the disorder was summarized by Daniel Goleman in The New York Times (April 24, 1990). The discussion below is based upon this material. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Hypertension is twice as common among African American as white Americans, amounting to what some refer to as an epidemic among African Americans and contributing to a higher rate of death from heart problems, kidney disease, and stroke. Seeking to explain this differential, investigators have focused on two explanations: repressed anger and rage which is accentuated through racial prejudice, and racial genetic differences which make the African American person more susceptible to hypertension. Dr. Elijah Saunders, a cardiologist at the University of Maryland Medical School and co-author of a leading textbook, Hypertension in African Americans , contends that the rage which comes from the prevailing racism in American society is the important factor that sets up the African American for more hypertension. He does
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