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Social Psychology of Health: Key Readings (Key Readings in Social Psychology)

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9781841690162: Social Psychology of Health: Key Readings (Key Readings in Social Psychology)
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This volume describes classic and contemporary theory and research in social psychology that sheds light on how people think about health and illness, as well as their willingness to engage in health-relevant behaviors. The Editors have selected papers that serve to illustrate the reciprocal relation between advances in theory and advances in practice.

The first two sections of the volume examine people's mental representations of health and health practices, and how these personal construals and implicit theories are linked to behavior. People can react to new health information in different ways - with acceptance, defensiveness, or downright ignorance. Research that can help us to understand these varied reactions is examined in Section 3. The following sections consider how classic social psychological theories and perspectives can be used to understand behavior relevant to health and illness. These include social influence, social comparison, pluralistic ignorance, social support, cognitive dissonance, message framing, and attribution theory. Finally, several articles consider links between personality characteristics and health, such as those between hostility and heart disease, and confiding traumatic experiences and immune function. The volume also contains a introductory chapter by the editors which provides a discussion of why social and personality psychologists should be interested in health and illness.

Together with overviews for each section, discussion questions, and suggestions for further reading, the volume is an ideal text for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses on health psychology. The volume is also appropriate for courses in related disciplines such as public health, nursing, health education, health communication, and other allied health sciences.

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Most people want to stay healthy. Few enjoy being sick. Given that health is such a universally shared value, one might think that people's thinking about health is easily understood, and that changing behaviours with health consequences should be relatively easy. Of course, this not the case at all. For example, fewer than 50 per cent of sexually active college students use condoms to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, and less than 60 per cent of women over the age of 50 seek annual screening mammography, despite its obvious value for the early detection of breast cancer and the intense publicity devoted to it. The principles of social psychology provide a unique vantage point for understanding these paradoxes of health cognition and health behaviour. This volume provides classic and contemporary theory and research in social psychology that sheds light on how people think about health and illness as well as their willingness to engage in health-relevant behaviours. It begins by exploring mental representations. These personal construals and implicit theories can be linked to behaviour, and the second section of the volume looks at those links.

People can react to new health information in different ways - with acceptance, defensiveness, or downright ignorance, and this volume next turns to research that can help us to understand these varied reactions. Several sections of the volume consider the utility of classic social psychological theories and perspectives in understanding behaviour relevant to health and illness. These include social influence, social comparison, pluralistic ignorance, social support, cognitive dissonance, message framing, and fear communication. Attention is also directed to links between personality characteristics and health, such as those between hostility and heart disease, and confiding traumatic experiences and immune function. A final section concludes with articles considering the broader social environment - including race, gender, and class - and its role in health and illness. The volume also contains an introductory chapter by the editors providing a history of personality and social psychology's interest in health and illness.

Together with overviews for each section, discussion questions, and suggestions for further reading, the volume is a suitable text for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses on health psychology.

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9781841690179: Social Psychology Of Health: Key Readings (Key Readings in Social Psychology)

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ISBN 10: 1841690171 ISBN 13: 9781841690179
Publisher: Routledge, 2003
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