Chapter 14 was about war and stress associated with it. The researchers found that men exposed to trauma or extreme stress are at an extremely high risk for increased drinking and drug use. Additionally, they found that the soldiers who went overseas were more likely than those who served at home to become sick and die in the years after they returned home. These two findings make sense. I have learned in previous psych classes that when one is under stress or suffering from ptsd, a negative coping technique is drinking and using drugs. The second finding also made sense because serving overseas is more stressful since you are in an unfamiliar and more dangerous environment. Something that surprised me was that more conscientious men were less likely to be deployed to the pacific theater. Instead, the more careless and impulsive men were sent over seas. This surprised me because I thought that more conscientious men would be smarter in battle. Another finding that surprised me was that only 1/3 of trauma victims go on to have PTSD. This surprised me because TV shows are always portraying characters who have gone through stressful events as having PTSD. In reality, most people do not suffer from nightmares and debilitating anxiety after traumatic events.
Chapter 15 was a general summary of the novel. Overall, the Terman participants’ lives showed that we cannot just focus on our bodies when examining our health. We need to look at our family, social circle, and any other environmental influences. Social relations in particular are vital to longevity. I’m going to remember this and try to expand my social circle as I continue through life. I’ve always been a quality over quantity person but now that I know that it is important to have a big social circle and consistently help others around me, I want to make a bigger effort to do so. The chapter also summarized the different personalities the participants had and whether or not their personalities helped them or hurt them throughout life. The big takeaway I got from these summaries was that being able to control your thoughts and actions, being conscientious, resilient, social, hard working, generous, a good planner, and never veering too far from a healthy lifestyle are all essential components to living a long, healthy, and happy life. Additionally, being slightly neurotic can be good for you. Looking back at the book, I realize that it is based on the biopsychosocial model because it takes into account different biological, psychological, and social factors that influence longevity.
I agree with the idea that longevity might be decreasing. Nearly 25% of the population has 2 or more chronic conditions. We know that having a chronic condition decreasing longevity so as long as we continue to be unhealthy as a population, I definitely think that average longevity in the U.S. has the potential to decrease. In addition, when it comes to eating I believe that the best approach to successfully maintaining, losing, or putting weight on in a healthy manner is to count your macronutrients. I believe this is the best approach because once you have the right ratio down, you are in complete control of how you manage your weight. Additionally, the “if it fits your macros” approach allows for you to eat anything you like and it does not promote strict dieting. Strict dieting often doesn’t work and can lead to a relapse in old eating habits. Finally, I agree with the authors that the U.S. healthcare system needs to change. We are the only industrialized country without universal health care. If everyone had access to high quality, affordable health care, I think that the percentage of people with chronic conditions would decrease and that longevity would continue to increase. I hope to work for a company after graduation that works to increase American’s access to healthcare.