Issues Concerning Health

The purpose of this article is to illustrate the history of psychology and medical studies with relevance upon health issues. This article suggests that issues concerning health have been examined mainly through two distinct methods. While psychology and physiology were considered the same thing for most of human history (“bedside medicine”), for the past two centuries, a separation has occurred between these two fields.

They have both developed separately into useful and helpful ways of treating people. Also, this article suggests that psychology and medical studies have essentially come together to provide a well rounded view of how to prevent, treat, and eradicate health problems for people.

2). Give a general description of the main points and conclusions.

The main points addressed in this article address the changes in treatment for physically ill people. This is done through investigating developments in the fields of psychology and medical studies. Essentially, a separation between these two fields exists because of advances made in each field, independent of each other caused people to place more emphasis upon physiology than psychology when assessing an individual’s health. This was due to the successful eradication of many diseases through medical cures.

Another main point in this article is the establishment and maintenance of medical facilities (hospitals, universities). In particular, how these facilities have increasingly incorporated aspects of psychological influences into their developments.

In conclusion, this article supports the positive outcomes of this incorporation, and how psychology and physiology actually compliment each other with respect to investigating human health issues.

3). Describe the changing patterns of illness and their relation to health psychology.

Throughout recent history, the patterns of illness have changed. In earlier times, people were becoming ill and essentially dying from illnesses related to infectious disease. However, more recent investigations illustrate that people are now becoming ill from diseases related to “lifestyles”.

In other words, daily stresses and habits have recently been identified as having a major influence on an individual’s health. Therefore, as these “lifestyle” illnesses are becoming more prominent, there is an identified need for psychologists to help people deal with their lifestyles in more healthy ways. In turn, health psychology offers a specialized way of assessing ways to improve lifestyle habits for the better health of the individual.

4.) What were the benefits and costs associate with increased specialization in modern medicine?

While the practice of medicine became more specialized, practitioners were able to better understand and treat certain areas of the human body, which the patient may be concerned with. However, this benefit came at the cost of the practitioners ability to fully understand each individual patient.

For instance, with a specialized knowledge of a certain body part or organ, a practitioner can provide better treatment for that individual problem. However, that expertise was often accompanied by the inability to understand environmental factors which may have lead to the patient’s problem.

Essentially, practitioners were less concerned with understanding the entire patient’s body and lifestyle, and more concerned with learning about specific areas.

5) Compare and contrast the fields of behavioral medicine, behavioral health and health psychology.

The fields of behavioral medicine, behavioral health, and health psychology are similar in that behavior is at the center of any investigation of an individual’s health. However, there are differences between these three fields.

Essentially, behavioral medicine seeks ways to change or maintain behavior through prescribing medical treatments to the individual. Behavioral health, however, seeks to be able to identify factors in which behavior influences and individual’s health. Health psychology examines how the psychological framework for an individual may influence health, such as their lifestyle choices (smoking, exercising).

6). What does Matarazzo mean by “benign neglect”?

“Benign neglect” used in this article means that in recent history, the academic and applied disciplines regarding health issues have neglected to incorporate psychological influences upon physiological problems. However, this neglect was unintentional as the early advances made in physiology, biology, and medical sciences were seemingly independently capable of providing quality health care for individuals.

However, as the nature of illness has changed for our society to placing more emphasis on lifestyle illnesses, psychological influences upon health have recently become evident and therefore psychology is seen as a beneficial compliment to the study of health.

7). What did you find most interesting about this paper?

The most interesting information I gained from this article were the statistical data from the studies conducted concerning modern mortality rates of American men. Specifically, I found it interesting that the mortality rate was “four times lower” for men who engaged in “healthier lifestyles” than men who did not.

These data strongly suggest the importance of the relationship between psychology and physiology for our society.

Taylor (1990)

1) What is the purpose of the article?

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the field of health psychology. Specifically, this article illustrates its practical implications within the medical field as it pertains to the betterment of health care for individuals. Also, this article suggests the growing need for health psychological perspectives in various aspects of health care.

2) Give a general description of the main points and conclusions.

The main points of this article are the recent developments in the field of health psychology, attention upon certain aspects health psychology can beneficially influence, and the future directions of health psychology.

Essentially, this article illustrates how health psychology has grown into a field that offers beneficial perspectives to existing medical problems, through its ability to combine psychological, biological and social perspectives: biopsychosocial models of health. Specific areas where health psychology has already had an successful impact are areas investigating lifestyle illnesses (stress, coping, social support).

As for the future of health psychology, this article suggests that health psychologists are successfully incorporating themselves and their work into central research issues within the medical field, however attention needs to focus on ensuring appreciation of health psychology‘s role.

3) What factors is the notion of health promotion based on?

The notion of health promotion is based upon changing patterns of illness. As health psychology is able to identify relationships between health and human behavior, measures can be developed to promote good health for individuals.

Characteristics surrounding successful health promotion at the individual level are: recognition of the threat to ones health; fear that one might develop an illness; belief that one can do something to reduce the health threat; and that there is indeed an effective method for reducing the threat.

4) How do developmental factors influence health habits?

Developmental factors, have recently been investigated as to their influence on health habits. Researchers have found links to developmental factors, such as personality upon an individual’s ability to acquire and deal with illness.

This article suggests there are indeed strong associations between an individuals personality, emotional states, and coping styles that influence health. Moreover, research in this area has identified links between an individuals developmental states and their physiological states.

An example of this cited in this article is the relationship between individuals with “type A” personality and a host of potentially negative health concerns, such as stress and hypertension.

5) What factors are most critical to the experience of stress?

According to the article, recent studies have shown that “negative, uncontrollable, unpredictable, or ambiguous events are most likely to be experienced as stressful.” Within this context, investigators suggest that a person’s personality and lifestyle (smoking, exercising) seem to be good predictors for how individuals will cope with stress.

Further, this article suggests that coping, which is a growing area of interest on its own, is directly connected to issues of stress as a health concern.

6) What did you find most interest about this paper?

The most interesting information I gained from this paper was a statistic introduced in the beginning of the paper. It stated that nearly “93% of patients fail to adhere to certain aspects of their treatment regiments.” I found it surprising that the percentage would be so high, especially as our society pays a great deal of attention to issues of health promotion and health care.

However, just as the article suggested, the fact that this percentage is indeed high, gives way for heath psychologists to develop an understanding of why people do not adhere to their treatments, and develop improvements in this area.