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Why do people term an illness to be physcial or psychological Is there a relationship between public causal attributions of functional somatic syndromes and h - Essay Example

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Physical symptoms often are ambiguous and open for subjective interpretation. Given the quantity of information that is available to individuals at any given time, it is functional for the organism to organize and reduce the incoming data. Cognitively structuring, synthesizing, and organizing the incoming information achieve this…
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Why do people term an illness to be physcial or psychological Is there a relationship between public causal attributions of functional somatic syndromes and h
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Download file to see previous pages Cognitive structures such as illness schemata helps to organize information from internal sensations (symptoms) and disease-related information gathered from the external environment.
Howard Leventhal and his colleagues (Leventhal et al. 1984) have proposed the most relevant model of symptom perception within the tradition of information processing. Their Common Sense Models of Illness approach is rooted in cognitive psychology and builds on the work on cognitive schemata and prototypes. In specific, Leventhal et al. propose that individuals tend to construct their own individual representation of symptoms or illness and that this idiosyncratic representation will, in turn, influence their behavior (e.g., help-seeking, adherence and compliance).
In specific, they proposed that illness representations (or schemata) are a function of an individual's semantic knowledge about symptoms and disease and specific contextual factors such as the nature of somatic changes and the situations in which these occur. This semantic knowledge accumulates across the life span and is acquired through the media, through personal experience, and from family and friends who have had experience with the disease. Therefore, the perception of cause can have an effect on the behavior towards an illness, because the cognitive dissemination leads to the semantic knowledge of the disease. Understanding how a person views a disease can impact behavior towards the illness.
People's common sense models of illness strongly influence which symptoms a person will search for and will ultimately perceive. Work by Meyer and his colleagues (Meyer et al. 1985) on hypertension illustrates this point. Hypertension disease holds one or a combination of disease models about high blood pressure. As Meyer and his colleagues demonstrated, some patients hold the belief that hypertension is a disease of the heart, others believe that it is an arterial disorder and a third group might associate hypertension with emotional upset. Importantly, the kind of belief patients' hold affects the way they monitor their body: Symptoms that are consistent with their specific illness belief are more likely to get noticed. The relationship between a person's cognitive knowledge of the cause is therefore directly related towards the symptoms and evaluation of 'cures' for the illness. This research study will incorporate that foundation of illness cause perception by quantitatively examining the differences between illness cause perception amongst participants.
In addition to general concepts of illness, people also hold organized conceptions-termed disease prototypes-for particular diseases (Bishop 1991; Bishop and Converse 1986). Prototypes of specific diseases help people organize and evaluate information about bodily sensations that might otherwise not be interpretable. Thus, a person who holds the belief that he or she is vulnerable to heart disease is more likely to interpret chest pain in accord to his or her prototype of heart disease than a person who does not hold this belief (Bishop and Converse 1986). This latter person might instead regard the chest pain as signaling a gall ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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