Using Social Media to Spread the Word on Findings in Health Psychology Research
To my surprise, Twitter feeds and Facebook posts are not just places where people express there
personal issues and biases. Until this week, I thought Twitter was a glorified texting site where
individuals told the world how they felt about one thing or another. My occasional exposure to
Facebook gave me the impression it, too, was only for people to share there personal
engagements and opinions. It had never occurred to me, to search further into these sites for
relevant information about what is going on in Health Psychology. There is quite a wide variety
of information that can be gleaned from the large amount of information posted on both sites. Of
course it is necessary to evaluate and corroborate everything you read but again, there are a lot of
good finds available through these social pages.
There are lots of people and organizations promoting their courses, trainings, and research data.
Some are from specific doctors of Health Psychology regarding there personal activities and
practices but there are posts from various educational institutions like UCL Health Psychology
and The Mayo Clinic. Of note to me were the posts from institutions outside the United States
like Scotland, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The particular threads I saw were requesting
subjects for various studies or were circulating information about internships available for health
psychologists, some for collaborations and others for paid positions, nice.
Topics I most often found covered were subjects on stress and anxiety. I suppose that makes
sense because that is a big influence on mental health which is a significant aspect in Health
Psychology. But again to my surprise, I ran across an article which covered a topic that I have
been considering as an area of research, bariatric surgery and it's sequela on the physical as well
as mental health of the individual. The post was listed by the Society for Health Psychology
APA Division 38 as "New research on Health Psychology!". The post was dated March 18 and
had the words bariatric and relationship in its descriptive lead, I clicked on it to read more. This
led me to the American Psychological Association journal abstract published in APA PsycNet.
The work cited was titled "The relationship of pre surgical Personality Assessment Inventory
Scales to BMI following bariatric surgery" Hoyt, T., & Walter, F. A. (2022). Without purchasing
full access to the entire research, the abstract describes the author's objectives, methodologies,
results, and conclusions. There were links available to read other abstracts which support his
work. I was impressed reading of the various research techniques these abstracts listed. An
example is a reference to "reliability, validity, and clinical utility" ( Tarescavage, A. M., et al
2013). These abstracts also described their experimental designs which I learned something
about in chapter 2 of Health Psychology An introduction to Behavior and Health, 9th edition.
Another fascinating find for me was an unpublished article on the Society for Health
Psychology.org web home page called "Healthy, Wealthy, and Weiss" (Walston 1996). It is
found under their history tab and is a lengthy chapter submission for the American Psychological
Association 50th anniversary edition. It chronicles and describes the formation and history of the
APA divisions. A google browser search of the APA 50th anniversary edition finds the article
published in 1997 in PDF form on researchgate.net with 16 references and 10 citations the most
recent of which was in 2021. Seeing how others have cited the article was enlightening because
I, again, recently learned that the citation of a published piece lends to it's significance.
My overall experience with these two sites this week has been good. I have found there are many
tracks available to follow. I have found caution and care is required to stay focused and to be
accurate in both following and understanding information put out on these and any other sites for
that matter, but they sure can be worth the time and effort,
Current research trends in health psychology as shown on Facebook
Exploring the Society of Health Psychology APA Division 38 (SfHP) on Facebook,
looking back at posts over the past several months, I was unsurprised to see how many papers
have been written on different aspects of coping with the pandemic. New to the field of health
psychology as I am, it has been interesting to note that, if one reason health psychology evolved
in the 1970’s is because chronic disease rather than infectious disease became the primary cause
of death among Americans (Brannon et al, 2014, p. 3), then it seems that COVID-19 reversed
Other than studies prompted by the pandemic, there were a few articles posted by SfHP
regarding obesity. One of these articles (posted March 18, 2022) I found intriguing since it was
not merely a correlational study of body mass index (BMI) with lifestyle choices, such as diet
and exercise. This study compared presurgical personality assessment scores to BMI over time
on 194 patients following bariatric surgery. The results were interesting in that, “Contrary to
expectations, moderate elevations on anxiety-related disorders and mania were associated with a
greater initial linear trend for BMI decrease, with a steeper slope for weight gain after
approximately 3 years” (Hoyt & Walter, 2022, p. 184).
Another article that jumped out at me was titled: “Area-level racial prejudice and health:
A systematic review” (posted March 19, 2022). This article was a systematic literature review of
14,632 articles, which impressed me by the sample size alone. Final results showed that only 14
of these articles met inclusion criteria, which meant that only 14 studies did not reveal racially
prejudice data that might impede “advancing a population’s health” (Board, 2022, p. 211).
The present research trend toward overcoming pandemic challenges is certainly
understandable to keep our population healthy. Unlike a century ago, when “people felt very
limited responsibility for contracting a contagious disease because such disease was not
controllable” (Brannon et al, 2014, p. 3), we do now understand how to prevent the spread of
coronavirus and presently have effective vaccines. Yet, many Americans continue to be
skeptical, if not openly hostile, in regards to becoming vaccinated and complying with other
preventative measures. Health psychologists working to change public opinion in communities
with these beliefs must often feel as if they are up against the lack of knowledge that persisted a
century ago. Some health psychologists may feel as if they are working in the 1970’s, when the
typical work of a health psychologist was to change behavior and lifestyle choices to prevent
disease (Brannon et al, 2014).
A personal observation, which some of the SfHP postings touched upon, is how my
elderly friends and family seem to take the pandemic more in-stride than younger Americans I
know. Perhaps this is because our elderly grew up with it being common to lose someone
quickly to an infectious disease. My 83-year-old mother nearly died from whooping cough when
she was 7-years-old, for example, and has lived with chronic scaring in her lungs ever since. A
couple months ago, I read a fascinating paper which addressed the perception of many North
Americans viewing disease as an enemy to be conquered and medical practitioners preferring
such “restitution stories” because then their “cure is a version of conquering that enemy” (Frank
1998, p. 201). I will pose the thought that perhaps one reason younger Americans have had
difficulty adapting to the constraints and stress that COVID-19 has caused is because these
generations have been influenced by the perception that our elderly now have: Living with a
chronic illness is the new norm and people no longer have to fear dying suddenly from an
infectious disease. With such a perception, a highly infectious disease such as the coronavirus
variants, which can quickly kill even a young adult, has been a tremendous shock to younger
Brannon, L., Feist, J., & Updegraff, J.A. (2014). Health Psychology: An Introduction to
Behavior and Health (8 th Ed.). Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
Frank, A.W. (1998). Just Listening: Narrative and Deep Illness. Families, Systems &
Health, 16(3), 197-212.
Hoyt, T., & Walter, F. A. (2022). The relationship of presurgical Personality Assessment
Inventory scales to BMI following bariatric surgery. Health Psychology, 41(3), 184–192.
Michaels, E. K., Board, C., Mujahid, M. S., Riddell, C. A., Chae, D. H., Johnson, R. C., & Allen,
A. M. (2022). Area-level racial prejudice and health: A systematic review. Health
Psychology, 41(3), 211–224. https://doi.org/10.1037/hea0001141
Following mass media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, is
exhausting to me. While looking at the posts, I am constantly sorting through credible
and not credible information, separating opinions from facts, and avoiding the traps of
links leading to product advertisements. I see it as, to a great degree, an exercise of
While one may say I am missing an opportunity to engage with society, I say I
have my preferences on how to engage and gather relevant information. I like to
engage with people directly, at work and at gatherings with friends, or reaching out to
my mentors. I relaxed when I gather reliable information at the library. I still need to use
my critical thinking skills but it is more efficient because I can skip a lot of Internet
I follow Facebook, Twitter and Instagram selectively, for example, for the humor,
I belong to Psychologists Memes Group on Facebook. Some memes make me smile. I
value that as part of my self-care.
Sometimes I find the comments under memes to be similar to what some
“bathroom writers” would express on the door of a stall in a public restroom. For
example, (from stall #1 of the River Inn bathroom in Big Sur, California, we find, “Don’t
take life too seriously” or “live life, don’t let it live you” and “Life is a game so romanticize
it.” Here are comments about a chart posted on Facebook (April – the months
dedicated to rape victims), referring to who is responsible for rape:
Shelly Menville Marlow “Love pointing out to conservatives that even the friggin’ bible
tells them if seeing her outfit makes you want her, gouge out your eyes.”
Becca McKinney “Shelly, I'm a Christian and agree!! A rapist causes rape! Not anything
Brooke Lynne “WTF!! This is disgusting!!! There's NO excuse to be raped. I'm reporting
this group you are sick!!”
Kathleen Branchaud “Brooke Lynne ummm… do you even understand the pie chart?”
Britny Skylar “Brooke Lynne did you pass the 3rd grade? Read the pie chart again
For the purpose of this assignment, I need to stay open, step out of my comfort
zone and continue searching social platforms for current trends in psychology.
To my surprise, I found interesting information and links to actual documents
and peer reviewed articles. What is also of note, I discovered information on webinars
and conferences that I would probably not know about otherwise. For example, on
, “Mark your calendars for the virtual gathering of experts at the "Webinar on Neurology"
on February 23, 2022, in London, UK; which claims to inform about “Advancing
neurological care world -wide.”
Instagram, from what I gathered, focuses on inclusion and empowerment
https://about.instagram.com/. Its motto is “Give people the power to build community
and bring the world closer together”. It continues by stating, “We are committed to
fostering a safe and supportive community for everyone.” These messages are what I
stand by wholeheartedly, and they make me want to follow Instagram from now on.
Another trend on Instagram is healthy living, “Health Psychology. Be smart. Be
Healthy. Nutrition. Exercising.” Followed by “Your diet is always the most important. It's
what defines your results,” on https://www.instagram.com/p/mVpwZfC913/
There was a link to a direct document of American Psychological Association
with regards to health equity in psychology (APA, 2021, October 29). Bingo! I am
In addition to posts about health, equity and inclusion, there is a lot of talk
relating to Covid-19 and its impact on mental health. Considering the rising number of
people suffering from anxiety and people who are living with worsening of their
preexisting mental health conditions, it is helpful that there is an abundance of advice on
the social platforms. From self-care to coping tools and where to find help, the most
impressive is the availability of online mental health therapy through organizations such
as BetterHelp.com, which matches providers from around the country with a client’s
personal needs. As valuable as the information is, there remains the risk of
misinformation in online unverified resources; nevertheless, social platforms have the
ability to ameliorate negative effects of the pandemic’s impact on general population.
(Abbas et al. 2021)
I noticed that if I look carefully, there is a role for mass media browsing. The key
seems to know what you are looking for and to follow the organizations or individuals
who are signaling links to information of interest to you.
Abbas, J., Wang, D., Su, Z., & Ziapour, A. (2021). The Role of Social Media in the
Advent of COVID-19 Pandemic: Crisis Management, Mental Health Challenges
and Implications. Risk Management and Healthcare Policy, 14, 1917.
American Psychological Association. (2021, October 29). Resolution on Advancing
Health Equity in Psychology. Author. https://www.apa.org/about/policy/resolution-
Using Social Media to Spread the Word on Findings in Health Psychology Research
Ever since the wake of the 21 st century, technology has made significant advances that have allowed many fields of
healthcare to grow and develop like never before. In addition to personal use, social media also proves to be beneficial for
professional use when it comes to the widespread sharing of new and current research among various social media platforms.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, social media has provided a safe, quick way for researchers and health care
professionals to stay connected with ongoing trends and even share new findings with all who may be interested (Klar, et. al.
Among all social media platforms, Twitter seems to be the most popular among scholars and practitioners because of the
easy and immediate way that research can be shared with anyone in the public at little to no cost, even in other countries and
territories (Klar, et. al. 2020). According to a study performed in 2021, another social media platform used just as often is
LinkedIn, which is utilized primarily for “medical professional networking” (Farsi, 2021). One of the many perks of social media
is that we are able to get and stay connected without having to be physically or geographically close to one another. In my
opinion, this is one of the main reasons that technology has helped to advance research, medicine, and overall quality of life.
Certain aspects of social media can be detrimental, like cyberbullying and trolling, but most healthcare professionals have learned
how to use it in beneficial ways without abusing it.
One of the biggest indicators of the positive uses of social media among medical professionals, especially those in the
field of health psychology, is the increase of its use during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Journal of Clinical
Epidemiology, social media is incomparable to any other technological advancement in the past because it allows professionals
from multiple sectors of the field of healthcare to “rapidly interconnect and disseminate their research findings” (Cuello-Garcia,
et. al. 2020). In fact, it is advised that all healthcare professionals should become acquainted with social media because of not
only its rise in popularity, but also due to the idea that researchers and physicians can perform and expand on their scientific
discoveries even with limited physical contact among peers and partners. However, like with anything, there are pros and cons to
using such a diverse, large-scale type of technology to share such sensitive information.
The most vital drawback of social media being used as a means of communication among healthcare providers and
professionals is that it is also with the public, which increases the risk of spreading invalid and inaccurate information (Farsi,
2021). For example, when COVID-19 began to have an exponential impact in the U.S., the number of cases began to rise and
multiple sources were providing information on how many cases there were in each state. On the contrary, some believe that
these numbers were inflated and emphasized, which created unnecessary fear for the public and a sense of hopelessness among
medical professionals (Cuello-Garcia, et. al. 2020). Unsure what to do or what to listen to, many people resorted to panic and the
news outlets only fueled this state of paranoia more.
After reviewing the readings and journal articles I selected this week, I now understand that much like driving, social
media is a privilege. Not all have access to it, but those who do should take caution and be intentional about using it wisely.
There are negatives, such as trolls, misinformation, and the risk of privacy breeches, but it has positives that far outweigh the
negatives, such as instant communication with researchers, medical professionals, and everyone in between. The dissemination of
research in health psychology is definitely enhanced with the use of social media and due to this, I expect the field of health
psychology to develop even more within the next 50 years.
Cuello-Garcia, C., Pérez-Gaxiola, G., & van Amelsvoort, L. (2020). Social media can have an impact on how we manage and
investigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 127, 198-201.
Farsi, D. (2021). Social media and health care, Part I: Literature review of social media use by health care providers. Journal of
Medical Internet Research, 23(4), e23205.
Klar, S., Krupnikov, Y., Ryan, J. B., Searles, K., & Shmargad, Y. (2020). Using social media to promote academic research:
Identifying the benefits of twitter for sharing academic work. PloS One, 15(4), e0229446.
Healthy Aging: The Cognitive, Mental Health, and Physical Features Involved
School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Northcentral University
PSY-5301: Foundations of Health Psychology
Healthy Aging: The Cognitive, Mental, and Physical Features Involved
Older adults make up a sizable percentage of the population that we live in today. Frankly,
however, there is a huge stigma about growing old in the United States. As daughters, sons,
nieces, or nephews, we see our loved one's age, gracefully, or not. Moreover, it is our loved ones
who may suffer from age-related mental health and cognitive issues as well as a variety of
health-related issues. In that respect, the American Psychological Association Division 38
Society for Health Psychology (Health Psychology, 2021) recently posted a quick informative
guide about health and aging via Twitter. This guide specifically focused on cognitive, mental,
and physical health facts concerning older adults.
Respectfully, the American Psychological Association's (Health Psychology, 2021) guide named
that one in four older adults experience a mental health problem, such as depression, anxiety,
schizophrenia, or dementia. Moreover, this source also mentions that while dementia and
Alzheimer's disease are more common in older adults, they are not a normal part of aging.
Nevertheless, even though most elderly tend to have high life satisfaction (Health Psychology,
2021), those with mental health issues continue to suffer.
Promisingly, Cai and colleagues (2020) may have made some headway for those with cognitive
impairment. Cai et al. (2020) researched the effects of Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) and exercise on the
elderly with mild cognitive impairment and dementia from multiple countries in Asia.
Fortunately, researchers found many important benefits to TCC than previously researched.
Results showed that both TCC and cognitive action exercise (strength training and breathing
exercises) can improve cognitive performance (Cai et al., 2020). Moreover, TCC seems to
improve five subdomains of cognitive functions, respectfully, global cognitive function,
memory, executive function, attention, and verbal fluency (Cai et al., 2020). Thus, there is great
promise in Tai Chi Chuan, especially with those suffering from general cognitive loss and
memory, attention, and communication deficits. Further, if TCC is taken into the workforce and
home life, those with cognitive decline may start to see a vast number of improvements in daily
The APA’s guide also mentioned common chronic conditions among older populations, like
heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes (Health Psychology, 2021). With these conditions, it is
essential to note that they are usually not stand-alone disorders; patients tend to have
comorbidities. However, when the elderly struggle with chronic diseases, it is usually associated
with other physical, cognitive, and even mental health conditions (Birk et al., 2019). Birk et al.
(2019) studied the association between senior adults with chronic diseases and the relationship to
depression. This study hypothesized that depression tends to be central among disease networks,
including hypertension, ischemic heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes (Birk et al., 2019).
Birk and colleagues (2019) ultimately discovered that prior depression was indeed associated
with all four chronic diseases. Researchers also found that depression is related to specific risk
markers for ischemic heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. These results suggest that depression
may be specifically central with seniors with these diseases (Birk et al., 2019). Moreover, these
results also suggest that while older adults have depression, they may have a challenging time
coping with their chronic illnesses; likewise, their chronic diseases may also worsen because of
With this continued growth in the medical and psychological field, older adults may find
themselves more hopeful. Older adults’ quality of life may start to rise, despite mental or
physical ailments. Tackling disorders such as depression and anxiety may seem daunting, but it
is vital for senior adults and their families to understand the role the disorder has manifested in
one’s life. Nonetheless, continued learning of conditions and using the latest empirically
researched treatment is the best way to navigate chronic diseases as healthcare workers.
Birk, J. L., Kronish, I. M., Moise, N., Falzon, L., Yoon, S., & Davidson, K. W. (2019).
Depression and multimorbidity: Considering temporal characteristics of the associations between
depression and multiple chronic diseases. Health Psychology, 38(9), 802-811.
Cai Z., Jiang, W., Yin, J., Chen, Z., & Wang, J., & Wang, X. (2020) Effects of Tai Chi Chuan on
Cognitive Function in Older Adults with Cognitive Impairment: A Systematic and Meta-
Analytic Review. Evidence-based Complementary & Alternative Medicine (ECAM). 1-11.
Health Psychology. [@APADivision38]. (2021, December 17). Older Adults’ Health and Age-
Related Changes and Facts to Dispel Myths about Aging. [Tweet]. Twitter.
— Health Psychology (@APADivision38) December 17, 2021
The tool used to keep many people connected at any time is social media. Social media can be
used to update about most recent events at any time or entertain people altogether. Health
psychology uses social media to complete health education and promote behavior change. It is
imperative for social media to stay up to date and be aware of changes as the world involves, to
maintain good client care. Most notable within the issue is its collective focus on using social
media as a dissemination tool and ensuring that current and emerging collaborative technologies
are appropriate for the audience(s) and message(s) (Stellefson, 2020, p. 1). Health professions use
techniques to determine how to construct an article on social media to catch the eye of their
audience. In the health promotion profession, we have recognized the power and success of
social media in achieving goals and objectives of public health, including behavioral,
organizational, and policy change (Stellefson, 2020, p. 1). In the construction period there is a
struggle to maintain ethics and to determine how audience reacts and engages in the article.
The focus point that health psychologists are trying to promote on social media is the
education to create a healthy, positive mindset and developing constructive coping mechanisms.
Health psychology needs to understand the biological, social, physical, mental, and
environmental factors that effect a role in every civilian lifestyle. The understanding gives ideas
about methods that are necessary to maintain a positive healthy lifestyle and avoid illness. Due to
health care professionals being required to maintain ethical rules and regulations that are
beneficial for the patient the focus points are centered around respecting consumers, a mutual
benefit, no room for misrepresentation, and not completing actions that are detrimental to the
patient’s wellbeing. To ensure that health professionals are held to ethical standards,
psychology’s concept to describe, explain, predict and change gives ideas for technics to
complete a whole person approach and provide coping mechanisms to maintain a stable living
To date, most social media-based health behavior intervention and promotion efforts have
been based on Facebook or Twitter, although they are starting to appear on Instagram” (Edney
et. al., 2018). From topics regarding returning life back to normal during pandemic, providing
estimates despites patient’s ability to pay, being proactive for a disagreement, to showing
empathy with being kind, cooperative, and tolerate; all the topics listed have some involvement
with ethics, engagement, and completing a whole person approach. The most common definition
of user engagement has three dimensions: “the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral experience
of a user with a technological resource that exists, at any point in time and over time" (Alhavan
et. al., 2018). Engagement can be completed when no actions have been taken online due to it
being a “state of mind”.
The benefits of engagement can lead to offline behaviors such as word of mouth. Social
media behavioral interaction with content can generate large amounts of information in
the form of: user reviews and indicators (such as ‘likes’) allowing for informed decisions
regarding trips, or online purchases (which can be false engagement) (Alhavan et. al.,
The disadvantage of social media however is that it leaves room for different interpretations. In
result, it is imperative that readers follow up with a health care professional to correct
misconceptions. Consulting with a health care provider gives the professional the ability to
inform, treat, or refer with a whole person approach that is focused on consumer needs.
Edney, S., Bogomolova, S., Ryan, J., Olds, T., Sanders, I., & Maher, C. (2018). Creating Engaging Health
Promotion Campaigns on Social Media: Observations and Lessons From Fitbit and Garmin.
Journal of Medical Internet Research, 20(12), e10911. http://doi.org/10.2196/10911
F. Alhayan, D. R. Pennington and S. Ayouni, "Measuring Passive Engagement with Health
Information on Social Media," 2018 21st Saudi Computer Society National Computer
(NCC), 2018. pp. 1-6, doi:10.1109NCG. 2018.8593032
Stellefson, Michael (06/2020). Exploring the Role of Social Media in Health Promotion (3-03936-329-8,
Research on Social Media Trends in Health Psychology
Psychology increasingly plays a role in problem solving of world’s most
complex puzzles (Pappas, 2022). Human behavior links to the core issues of grapple,
which include the future of work, vaccine hesitancy, human health, inequality, as well
as climate change. Psychologists take roles as chief diversity officer or similar roles.
A more intriguing perspective is the inflection point of the field in terms of people
who chose to venture in the field of medical psychology, subjects
of psychological research and access to medical psychology services.
Trends in the mental psychology sector include trauma –informed care. This
angle helps in addressing traumatic experiences by healthcare professionals,
clinicians, educators, and other relevant stakeholders. Holistic approach
encompassing strategies and treatment may improve efficiency of trauma-informed
Mental illness blood tests have also emerged as an area of research. Use of
biological markers relating to mood disorder found in RNA biomarkers was a
breakthrough in Indiana University School of Medicine in April 2021. According to
the study, blood tests could be used to determine the extent of depression and bipolar
disorder. Additionally, the study could guide the tailoring of medical solutions to
some mental illnesses.
Psychedelic research advancements point towards possibility of treating mental
health conditions despite the classification of the drug as a controlled substance.
Social media healthy boundaries with the knowledge that prolonged exposure time to
smartphones affects mental wellbeing. Confession by a former Facebook employee on
the negative effects of social media, research on “digital wellness” progressively shed
light on the negative effects of prolonged exposure to screens.
Artificial intelligence technologies have advanced and could be used
in symptom identification of anxiety. Therapists may also improve training through
the use of artificial intelligence in optimizing client’s environment through skill
evaluation (Spiner, 2022). Technology embracer in medicine through telehealth
services gave increased in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. Remote mental health
services may help in terms of reducing transport cost, immune-compromised
individuals’ exposure reduction and ease for people with physical disability.
Increased use of non-invasive methods of brain stimulation such as Transcranial
magnetic stimulation helps in treating some mental illnesses (Mandriota, 2022). More
research is still underway to improve this technology. Alternatives to opioid
medication are the virtual reality in chronic pain management. An increase in aces to
this therapy increases use in treatment in some mental health conditions.
Psychology experts fall among the most requested service in social mainstream
media as people get more concern about mental health (Spiner, 2022). Venture
capitalists express increased interest in data collection in the technological front.
Private equity firms may invest more in the mental psychology sector with an effort to
increase access to mental healthcare services. This will reduce the gap of mental
health service availability and the need currently experienced.
There has been an increase in the number of children seeking mental health
services, which links to COVID -19 pandemic (Ambramson, 2022). Climate crisis
may accelerate this trend among underprivileged communities in terms of socio-
economic and political aspects. Adults as well, including celebrities and public figures
have taken center stage in mental health awareness. Research conducted by American
Psychology Association indicated that one quarter of Americans incorporated mental
health improvement as part of their 2022 New Year resolution (Spiner, 2022).
Addressing socio-economic disparities may aid in improving overall mental health.
Ambramson. A. (2022). Children’s mental health is in crisis. American Psychology
Mandriota. M. (2022). 8 mental health trends to watch in 2022. Psychcentral.
Pappas. S. (2022). The rise of psychologists, psychological expertise is in demand
American Psychology Association. 53. (1).
Spiner. T. (2022).14emerging trends, the pandemic era has changed attitudes toward
Mental health. American Psychology
Conducting research on the topic of Health Psychology through social media was
quite interesting. There are so many different resources that I never knew were
available. I stumbled upon the topic of COVID and the mask/vaccination mandates and
that captured my interest.
When COVID first broke out, people were scared and rightfully so. This was a
new disease, and no one really knew what to expect nor did they expect it to spread so
far, so fast. Today, COVID is still a huge pandemic however our society is beginning to
transition out of it. Because of this, there are many people suffering from anxiety or fear
of the future. This is different than the initial fear and anxiety one may have experienced
when the mention of COVID first hit national news. And because it’s different, people
may find coping difficult.
One article I read states, “…we really don’t know what’s ahead…there is a
subset of people that will struggle with how to move out of this very challenging time.”
(Dr. Cynthia Ackrill, 2021) The article suggests that people must allow themselves a
little bit of grace and that it’s important that we not judge ourselves. (CNN Health, 2021)
While it’s normal to feel anxious during challenging times especially amid a pandemic,
the article suggests that we not get caught up in the mindset of the pandemic forever.
This article provides useful tips on how to pull yourself out of anxiety with different at
home methods that anyone could use. It’s information such as this that will assist
people in coming out of this pandemic less anxious and calmer, and ready for whatever
the future holds.
The next article I found was in relation to our emotions and how it may lead to
our body’s natural fight or flight response. The article discusses how the amygdala in
our brains limbic system is what controls our emotions. In a stressful situation, such as
a pandemic, the amygdala gets overly active which can cause Anxiety or other issues
such as the fight or flight response. (Moyer, 2019). An example of this happening is
when the pandemic first broke out. Some people’s natural reaction was to flee. They
would crisis shop and hide away in their houses, hoping they could wait it out. Others
reacted in fight mode and chose to protest the mask mandates and the vaccination
mandates. In the end, both sides experienced a normal reaction due to their hyper
stressed brain activity. As the article states, “when that part of your brain senses
danger, it signals your brain to pump stress hormones.” (Moyer, 2019). Once activated,
it sends your body into fight or flight mode.
This type of mental connection is an interesting one in the field of Health Psychology
because through this pandemic, we can study human behavior in a much more real
way. We can physically view human behavior as it’s happening live in front of us. As the
article states, “
The last article I checked out was about how people are reacting to these
vaccination mandates. It seems like a split vote when it comes down to it. People who
have opted out of vaccinations are standing firm in their civil liberties, while those who
have voluntarily been vaccinated may have an entirely different outlook. There are
those who believe that COVID is spreading more freely due to unvaccinated individuals,
while those who are unvaccinated suggest that it is a major problem for even the
individuals who are vaccinated. It is times like these that people are at their most
vulnerable. It’s times like these that the true colors of people shine bright, and we really
get to see their true psychological nature. As the article states, “it is vitally important that
we all focus our efforts to understand the mental health fallout of COVID-19 pandemic.”
It goes on the state that we must focus our efforts to “find evidence-based ways of
addressing these issues.” (Asmundson & Taylor, 2020)
I believe that the study of human behavior during a pandemic such as the one
we’re just starting to come out of, can be widely insightful in the field of health
psychology. We can use the knowledge we obtain through observation and studies to
better help future generations if, or when, another pandemic arises.
Asmundson, G. J. G., & Taylor, S. (2020). Coronaphobia revisted: A state-of-the-art
on pandemic-related fear, anxiety, and stress. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 76.
CNN Health (2021) Anxious as we transition out of the pandemic? That's common and
can be treated, experts say. https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/30/health/anxiety-pandemic-
Moyer, Nancy M.D. (2019 April 22) When emotion takes
Stress and Mental Health
We all know that stress is apart of daily life, some of us have more stress than others. I
know we can all agree this time in age stress is at an all-time high and multifaceted. Covid added
extra stressors to our life and now more than ever. We know that our physical health can impact
our mental health and mental health can impact our physical health, but how does stress impact
our mental health? What does it do and how can health psychology help?
We all have coping mechanism that we use when we are stressed, many of theses coping
skills we learn through out life. The environment which we are brought up in and the experiences
we have collaboratively form theses coping skills. A prime reason people engage in poor health
behaviors is they use them to cope with stress. (Park & Ianacca, 2014) Stress can be the
perpetuating factor in the recurrence in symptoms for those already diagnosed with a mental
illness or new symptoms for those not diagnosed with a mental health illness. Heath behaviors
are operationally defined as observable behaviors such as exercise, drinking, and tobacco
use. (Park & Ianacca, 2014) Some of us use health behaviors as a positive coping mechanism
during times of stress such as exercise, we know that exercise not only helps us physically but
also mentally reducing depressive and anxiety symptoms. People with a mental illness usually
has a break down in their ability to cope with stressors in their life. Introducing therapies that
incorporate sleep hygiene, diet, and exercise along with medication management is the best
intervention. Stress is the framework for most chronic and mental illness, thus learning how to
reduce stress is the first step in treating mental health. Reducing stress can prove problematic if it
an environmental stressor such as living circumstances or a medical problem.
There are positive and negative stressors, some positive stressors are getting married,
starting a new job, buying a home, and having a baby. Positive stress or eustress gives us
motivation to do and want better, whereas negative stress or distress causes increase in cortisol,
heart rate, systemic inflammation, and can lead to adrenal fatigue. Being in a state of distress
over long periods of time is a major factor in chronic and mental illness. PTSD or Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder is a example of what chronic stress or even one major high stress event can
change a life. A stressor for everyone today is covid, covid has changed life and abruptly and we
have had to adapt quickly. Many of us had to learn new coping skills to combat foreign stressors
such as working from home, not interacting with family and friends, and childcare. There are
positive stressors that came with covid, reconnecting with immediate family in ways that may
have been lost due to hectic work schedules and school, better eating habits, and more conscious
health habits all can contribute to positive stress.
Stress can have a positive or negative effects on mental and physical health, they are
interconnected. Finding better ways to manage your physical health through your environment,
what you eat, and how you sleep can significantly reduce symptoms of mental illness.
Continuing to investigate these factors and study how theses and many more areas can decrease
morbidity and improve mental health and how we treat it. Remember the body cannot exist
without the body and the body cannot exist without the mind, we must fill in the rest to be
healthy and whole.
Ballantyne, C., Hunter, P. V., Potter, G. K., & Myge, I. (2021). Mindfulness and Perceptions of
Physical Health: The Mediating Role of Perceived Stress. Canadian Journal of
Behavioural Science, 7.
Park, C. L., & Ianacca, M. O. (2014, March 14). A Stress and Coping persepective on health
behaviors: theorectical and methodolgical considerations. Anxiety Stress and Coping , p.