6. Describe some of research findings that demonstrate the importance of relationships to our psychological well-being.
A group of researchers from the University of Georgia and the University of Kansas have found that attractive people do tend to have more social relationships and therefore an increased sense of psychological well-being. The significance of attractiveness in everyday life is not fixed, or simply a matter of human nature. The force of our attractiveness on our social lives depends on the social environment where we live. Attractiveness does mean something in more socially mobile, urban areas and from a woman's point-of-view actually indicates psychological well-being, but it is far less important in rural areas. In urban areas people experience a high level of social choice, and associating with attractive people is one of those choices. In other words, in urban areas there is a free market of relationships which makes attractiveness more important for securing social connections and consequently for feeling good. In rural areas, relationships are not as much about choice and more about who is already living in the community. Consequently, attractiveness is less likely to be associated with making friends and feeling good (Research says importance of attractiveness varies with socio-cultural environments, 2009).
Recent research has discovered that the effects of sport on well-being are mediated by psychological characteristics such as physical self-concept, instrumentality and positive body images. In addition, sports were found to be greatly related to these psychological benefits for high school girls. Nevertheless, physical self-concept played a central role by mediating the sport -body image and sport instrumentality relationships. Positive body image is thought to be great predictor of psychological well-being among athletes (Psychological benefits of sport participation and physical activity for adolescent females, 2010).
7. Describe the diathesis-stress model. Use the model to explain how one identical twin suffers from clinical depression while other does not.
The diathesis-stress model discusses the relationship between potential causes of depression, and the degree to which a person may be vulnerable to react to those sources. The diathesis-stress model suggests that people have, to varying degrees, vulnerabilities or predispositions for developing depression. These vulnerabilities are referred to as diatheses. Diatheses include both biological and psychological factors. Some people often have more of these diatheses for developing depression than other people. This model proposes that having a propensity towards developing depression alone is not enough to trigger the illness. A person's individual diathesis must interact with stressful life events which are social, psychological or biological in nature in order to prompt the onset of the illness (Nemade, Staats Reiss and Dombeck, 2007).
The force of particular stressors varies across different people. Death or other losses such as job layoffs, relationship difficulties like divorce, normal milestones such as puberty, marriage, or retirement, alcoholism or drug abuse, neurochemical and hormonal imbalances and infections can all be powerful enough to cause depressive symptoms in someone with a diathesis for an illness. Each of these events will impact individuals in a distinctive manner. A significant loss may be enough to generate depression in one person, while a very similar loss experienced by another person might not faze them all that much (Nemade, Staats Reiss and Dombeck, 2007).
This is the factor that explains how one identical twin can suffer from clinical depression while the other does not. Even though they are identical twins and may be pre-disposed to depression it is how each of them deals with the stressors in life that determines the outcome. It has been shown that each person deals with stressors differently, so if one twin deals with stressors well and the others does not then this explains the difference.
8. Describe the symptoms, causes and treatment of panic disorder and the three categories of panic attack.
A panic attack is a sudden event of intense fear that develops for no apparent reason and that triggers severe physical reactions. Panic attacks can be very terrifying. When panic attacks occur, one might think they are losing control, having a heart attack or even dying. A person may only have one or two panic attacks in their lifetime, but they may have many more. If a person has panic attacks frequently, it could mean that they have panic disorder, a type of chronic anxiety disorder. Panic attacks were once thought to be nerves or stress, but they're now recognized as a real medical condition. Although panic attacks can considerably affect your quality of life, treatment including medications, psychotherapy and relaxation techniques to help prevent or control panic attacks is very effective (Panic attacks and panic disorder, 2008).
Panic attack symptoms can make a person's heart pound and cause them to feel short of breath, dizzy, nauseated and flushed. Due to the fact that panic attack symptoms can look like life-threatening conditions, it's important to seek an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Panic attack symptoms can include: rapid heart rate, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, hyperventilation, chills, hot flashes, nausea, abdominal cramping, chest pain, headache, dizziness, faintness, and tightness in the throat, trouble swallowing and a sense of impending death (Panic attacks and panic disorder, 2008).
It's not known what causes panic attacks or panic disorder. Things that may play a role include: genetics, stress and certain changes in the way parts of the brain function. Some research suggests that a person's body's natural fight-or-flight response to danger is involved in panic attacks. But it's not known why a panic attack happens when there's no obvious danger present (Panic attacks and panic disorder, 2008).
9. Discuss obsessive-compulsive disorder and explain the concept of thought-action fusion.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a kind of anxiety disorder in which a person has unreasonable thoughts and fears or thought-action fusion that leads them to engage in repetitive behaviors or compulsions. With obsessive-compulsive disorder, one may realize that their obsessions aren't reasonable, and they may try to ignore them or stop them. But that usually increases their distress and anxiety. Ultimately, they feel driven to perform compulsive acts in an effort to ease the distress (Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), 2010).
Obsessive-compulsive disorder often centers on themes, such as a fear of getting contaminated by germs. To ease ones contamination fears, they may compulsively wash their hands until they're sore and chapped. Despite these efforts, the distressing thoughts of obsessive-compulsive disorder keep coming back. This leads to more ritualistic behavior and a brutal cycle that's characteristic of obsessive-compulsive disorder (Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), 2010).
The symptoms of Obsessive-compulsive disorder include both obsessions and compulsions. OCD obsessions are often repeated, persistent and unwanted ideas, thoughts, images or impulses that a person has involuntarily and that seem to make no sense. These obsessions usually intrude when you're trying to think of or do other things. OCD compulsions are recurring behaviors that one feels driven to do. These cyclical behaviors are meant to prevent or reduce anxiety or distress related to your obsessions. For example, if a person believes that they ran over someone with their car, they may return to the apparent scene over and over because you just can't shake their doubts. They may also make up rules or practices to follow that help control the anxiety when having obsessive thoughts and feelings (Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), 2010).
Abnormal Psychology. (2010). Retrieved February 27, 2010, from New World Encyclopedia
Web site: http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Abnormal_psychology
Cherry, Kendra. (2010). Retrieved February 27, 2010, from About.com Web site: