The parts of this course that were related to biology, I found interesting, but unfortunately biology is not my strong suit. I enjoyed the conversations we had about injury prevention and the biopyschosocial model, whereas I struggled more with the biological aspects.
The biopsychosocial model was super interesting to me because it refocused health on not only the physical element, but on mental heath and one’s surroundings. Personally, I see it as a much more accurate way to understand health because it incorporates three interacting factors that all work in conjunction to determine our level of health. I found the application of those concepts (such as in our group presentations) to be really eye opening. To look at a problem and have to determine what the underlying causes are is challenging but so so interesting. When looking at the wildly high rates of Hep B in the Asian American population, we applied the biopsychosocial model in a way that was based off what we had read in journal articles and making connections between their lifestyle and health. More personally, I have been dealing with depression for a few years, but over the summer I was really down. When I apply the biopsychosocial model to my own experience over the summer and look at all the factors that were influencing my health such as activity level, time spent in the sun, time spent with friends, eating right, stress level, big life events, ect., I realized that my depression was also influencing those factors, making me eat less, spend less time outside my bed, and left my thinking a lot about traumatic life events. I remember reading in the Longevity Projects that our mental health can be the element that drags our biological and social health down as well, and that was the pattern that I saw myself going through. Once my depression got really bad, my physical and bodily health went down as did my social health.
Injury prevention was another conversation that I really enjoyed because I feel like we’re always operating in terms of preventing injuries or remedying current ones, but we don’t always see it like that. Learning of the primary, secondary, and tertiary models made me see that I do this stuff on a daily basis. This college campus uses these models for something as simple as getting a cold; we (primary) wash our hands more and avoid contact with those who are sick, (secondary) take medications and extra vitamins to stop a cold when we feel one coming on, and (tertiary) will visit the health center when we are stuffed up and our throats are aching. I really liked this aspect of health psychology because it brought complicated and stressful issues of how to prevent/treat an illness/injury.
This class was definitely challenging for me. I found the Longevity Projects interesting to an extent, and then the rest of it was pretty boring and repetitive. The guest speakers that came into class were, for the most part, really interesting, and I would’ve loved to see more of them. I really didn’t know what I was signing up for with a class called “Health Psychology,” and I’m happy to say that I have a clearer understanding as to what health psychologists do. While I’m not sure that it’s my calling, I think what we’ve learned in class is communicable over different fields of psychology, so I’m excited to apply it in other areas.