Chapter 14 + 15, epilogue

Chapter 14 was pretty much a no brainer to me considering what we know in psychology about trauma and coping. The example about war and experiencing combat, death, destruction etc. obviously is a great example to use considering that many war veterans develop PTSD following their time abroad. It can be very tough to serve your country in that way and I have nothing but respect for people who are in our military. However, I do think there is a lack of a program so to say concerning how we as Americans can help our veterans reassimilate to society and cope with the terrible experiences they may have endured.

To broaden that topic, I think it was definitely great to acknowledge that a lot of people will experience some kind of significant trauma in their lives that they may not process in the best way. A lot of people conversely, will never have this sort of experience. I personally, have experienced a trauma already when I was in a mass shooting at an airport in Fort Lauderdale. It still brings me to tears just thinking about it right now. It’s hard for people to understand what you are feeling when they have never stared death right in the face. I’m lucky to say that I have struggled with this experience but have been able to cope and get through it in a healthy and meaningful way.

Concerning Chapter 15, I was quite pleased with the way that the researchers framed their conclusions. It almost seems as though they took a step back and completely re-thought their findings in a more broad and reasonable way. Most of the earlier chapters only spoke about the findings in a very specific way, such as how being part of a religious group will lead to a longer life. I appreciated that the researchers applied these findings in a more greater sense so to say that you’re not necessarily living longer because you are religious, but rather, you’re living longer because of the social ties you get through being religious.

The way the researchers summarized the findings and developed their train of thought really gave me some closure with feeling as though the book had been very close-minded to begin with. I wish they had presented some of their findings as they did in Chapter 15 in a similar way in the previous chapters. I think it’s also important to take everything they said with a grain of salt as these are simply correlations and not necessarily fact. You can follow all of these recommendations and still experience a short-lived life. I think it’s important to make sure you are happy and fulfilled with your choices in life because that’s really all that matters.

Although the authors are rich in saying that recommendations can only get you so far concerning longevity, I think the authors claims about that are pretty hypocritical. They say that doctor’s recommendations though well-grounded, are obsolete, however, this entire book is based on suggestions on how to prolong life based on certain life factors. I think the suggestions posed by doctors (stop smoking, exercise, eat healthy, etc.) are important as well as some of the suggestions posed by the authors (social support, conscientiousness, etc.). It’s impossible to stress that health is definitely affected by both mental and sociological factors as well as the traditional biological factors. If there’s one takeaway I’d say about this book, it’s to consistently take the biopsychosocial model into account. Most people only attribute health to biological bases, which is largely incorrect. I think that this book helps to shed light on the reality of health to those who have never been exposed to a background in health psychology.

I’d also like to touch on the point about the Terman study background in general and  the circumstances the original study was done under. I think it would be extremely interesting to redo the study in current times when women have a lot more respect and rights in society and minorities are represented with more equality. It would be super interesting to see how these measures would be affected, specifically the masculinity vs. femininity measure and social support measure, with all of these factors taken into consideration. I would definitely like to look into current scientific journals and see if there are any researchers attempting to redo a longevity study along these lines. I’d also like to discuss this in class during lab this week and see what the class thinks about how this study would have played out in current times!

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1 Response to Chapter 14 + 15, epilogue

  1. Brittany Woo says:

    Alexa,
    I agree your comment about broadening Trauma to more than just military veterans. For years and years, that was all the trauma that the subjects faced. However in today’s society, there is more crime and more technology that causes the trauma scope to broaden. I’m sorry to hear about your experiences about being in a mass shooting.

    Perhaps if this study was being done today by Terman, then women, other categories of trauma, and children would be included in the study. There would be a lot more situational and environmental variables and the methodology may become complicated. However if researchers are thorough, then the work ought to complete and could lead to new discoveries and findings.

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