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Such research might consider how close friend involvement in organized athletics, personal perceptions of competence a psychological factor , and competitiveness among peers interact to determine early adolescent involvement with athletics and subsequent identification with athleticism as a personal attribute a psychological factor with physical health implications. Bronfenbrenner's ecological framework can help to clarify the varied interactive interpersonal dynamics that affect health.

The entities with which an individual comes into direct contact form the microsystem. Research with both adults and children indicates the profound effects of social support, marital, and parenting relationships on health e. As will be evident from the detailed examples that follow, these factors change and cocreate environments over time. The effects of interpersonal environments on health are unlikely to be consistent across the life span. Prior experiences with physicians, nurses, dentists, and emergency care providers may create expectations for the type of care received at later times e.

Microsystem factors do not exist in isolation. The mesosystem captures interactions among various microsystem entities. For example, multiple family members and social groups may rely on the same community health resources, and medical advice may spread from that setting to others through formal or informal networks.

Such interactions among family members and doctors are part of a person's mesosystem. Likewise, daily strain in balancing microsystem contexts of work and family may affect emotions, physiology, and work performance, though recent research suggests that supervisor support can help mitigate such effects Almedia et al.

Bronfenbrenner's exosystem captures influences that occur indirectly when microsystem entities are affected by dynamics within their own microsystems, and those dynamics affect the target individual.


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For example, an individual may have little direct contact with their spouses' employment setting, yet that employer may provide health insurance. Likewise, advocates of the biopsychosocial model suggest that physician training should highlight psychosocial factors Engel, Physician training, including whether the doctor was trained using a biopsychosocial approach, is an exosystem factor with which an individual comes into indirect contact through the physician.

This physician training exosystem factor will vary between individuals in its importance over time. For example, physician training may have a particularly strong influence on a patient who needs psychosocial support to promote recovery following chemotherapy. Specifically, contextual dynamics include broad patterns of shared culture, norms, policies, and values.

These considerations not only help to shape interpersonal, psychological, and biological factors, but are in turn shaped by them.

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Although it is difficult to quantify the precise cause of shifts over time in contextual dynamics, cumulative patterns of social and interpersonal factors likely produce such change. Countless examples elucidate the importance of contextual dynamics for health. Broadly held beliefs in the power of individual action and social mobility can help to uphold societal inequity and encourage blaming of people who do not rise to the top of social hierarchies Glaser, , thereby reducing sensitivity to social and medical needs and deterring policy change. Contextual dynamics also shape relationships among interpersonal, biological, and psychological factors.

For example, although most studies of the physical and psychological health of youth in a North American context suggest that youth who experience homelessness and multiple housing transitions have worse outcomes than children not living in poverty e. Surprisingly, the urban children fared better than the residentially stable rural children on most indicators of physical health.

The contrasting relationship between housing stability and child health in the Nepalese and American settings provides an example of the importance of contextual factors in relationships among interpersonal, psychological, and biological dynamics. Biological, psychological, interpersonal, and contextual dynamics differ in the centrality of their influence on health.

We use the term centrality to describe the extent to which a given dynamic is salient or important for a person's health. The concept of centrality aligns with Bronfenbrenner's characterization of environmental factors that vary in proximity of influence. The centrality of a particular factor will fluctuate over time, with some factors e. Bronfenbrenner also discussed the idea of the chronosystem, which highlights the importance of time, including both historical time and developmental timing.

The concepts described in this paper already exist in theories of health and human development. Not surprisingly given its name, the biopsychosocial model highlights the contributions of biological, psychological, and social factors in determining health Engel, The model was originally presented in contrast to the biomedical model that dominated medical training and practice and challenged the credibility of psychiatry as a field of medicine Engel, The current dynamic biopsychosocial model builds on Engel's ideas by expanding on social dynamics, elaborating the interdependence of the model, and highlighting fluctuations in the centrality over time.

Advocacy for the biopsychosocial model in medicine coincided with calls for developmental psychologists to more seriously consider social context. Bronfenbrenner famously argued that the role of context needed to be more clearly elaborated in developmental research and outlined influences that occur through the embedded systems previously described. In this paper, we explicitly apply Bronfenbrenner's model to study life span health.

Bronfenbrenner's work builds on Sameroff's , transactional model, which suggests that a child's own characteristics affect the surrounding environment, and that development occurs through continuous, mutually reciprocal transactions between the child and the environment. These transactions alter both the developing child and the surrounding environment over time. Advances in both developmental and health psychology align with philosophical explications of open systems. In his work Mind in Life , Thompson translated recent philosophical developments into a framework relevant to psychological science, with an emphasis on biological, neural, and cognitive system dynamics.

Specifically, he argues that humans operate through sets of interactive, dynamic systems that reciprocally influence and recreate each other over time, suggesting that these dynamics are perhaps best conceptualized as conversations that unfold over time. Readers interested in this rich conceptualization of the interplay of biological and psychological dynamics should read his book.

A painful sensation is interpreted using an existing cognitive framework, which itself has been shaped by cultural and family dynamics France et al. That experience, in turn likely alters both physiological sensitivity to pain and subsequent expectations. Many experiences might operate in this way, with interpersonal experiences affecting psychological processes, which in turn affect neural activation and physiological symptoms. Thompson notes that some dynamic systems are particularly intertwined. He applied these concepts to systems ranging from cellular activity to neural activity and gene expression.

These ideas echo much earlier work by social psychologist Kurt Lewin who discussed the interdependence of coupled social networks and the processes by which the self and environment are cocreated over time. Likewise, Schwartz eloquently applied dynamic systems logic to health. Together, these ideas resonate with sentiments that have been expressed by many.

Interpersonal Relationships and Immune Function

These theoretical considerations and the dynamic biopsychosocial model itself might best be illustrated by the two examples that follow. Please note that the following examples were derived from research on factors that affect health. Although for ease of discussion, the individuals are given names, they are not real people. Because family and socioeconomic dynamics affect health, our first example follows a young male who is affected by prenatal and early life biological, psychological, interpersonal, and contextual dynamics.

The second example was chosen to illustrate the unique health challenges in rural settings and highlights the role of culture in the health dynamics of a hypothetical Alaska Native woman. We follow Brandon from the prenatal period through young adulthood. His nuclear family includes his mother and father, who were both in their early 30s when Brandon was born, an older brother, and an older sister.

Brandon's mother completed some college before dropping out and marrying Brandon's father. She worked as a secretary in a law firm prior to her first child, but since giving birth to Brandon's brother, has stayed at home to care for her children.

Brandon's father completed a bachelor's degree and works as a public accountant. Although Brandon's parents do not argue frequently, their marriage lacks emotional intimacy, and they feel unsatisfied in their relationship. Brandon's prenatal environment was ideal. Brandon's mother received prenatal care, took prenatal vitamins, ate well, and abstained from smoking and alcohol.

Upon returning from the hospital, Brandon's mother had difficulty caring for all three children. As is typical of infants, Brandon's mother was the central interpersonal influence on his life. The combination of temperament and attachment increases Brandon's health risk. The chronic lack of emotional connection between Brandon's parents is a mesosystem factor that also affects Brandon's physiology throughout development.

The resulting underarousal is theorized to negatively affect parenting styles e. Behaviorally, Brandon is often angry and noncompliant and lacks social competence. As Brandon moves into toddlerhood, the interpersonal dynamics with his parents remain heavily influential. The lack of parental warmth affects his psychological emotional regulation system, leading to outbursts of irritability and frustration.

In part due to Brandon's mother's inability to cope with Brandon's emotionality, she returns to work. Brandon's microsystem expands now that he and his siblings attend daycare every weekday. Although Brandon is still heavily focused on his mother, his regular caregivers also become central to his interpersonal dynamics. Brandon continues to attend daycare until he begins school. Each day after school, Brandon and his siblings are alone until Brandon's parents return home from work.

As is typical in many disadvantaged neighborhoods, Brandon's neighborhood exposes him to toxins such as lead and secondhand smoke Evans, Additionally, residents of disadvantaged neighborhoods tend to have fewer social connections, and children tend to interact more frequently with aggressive peers Evans, Therefore, Brandon spends much of his day at school interacting with his teacher, who shows sensitivity and emotional warmth toward Brandon. She becomes a central interpersonal influence on Brandon, and he becomes overly dependent on her Sroufe, Brandon's microsystem factors of neighborhood and home environment, in combination with his genetic and emotional environment, result in Brandon developing a moderately high allostatic load.

Allostatic load indicates the cumulative effects of the body's physiological attempts to maintain overall homeostasis of systems. Higher allostatic load results from chronic activation of the stress response system, which can reduce synaptic plasticity, inhibit neurogenesis, and damage dendritic processes Sapolsky, As a result of a moderately high allostatic load, Brandon becomes more susceptible to infectious disease and chronic inflammation that sets the stage for later cardiovascular disease.

As Brandon continues through childhood, he struggles interpersonally and psychologically. Brandon struggles during class to sit still and stay on task and also distracts other students Moon, As is typical in the U. Brandon's parents struggle to cope with Brandon's impulsive and emotionally reactive temperament, but are unaware that ADHD could be the source of these symptoms.

When Brandon's teacher approaches Brandon's parents about these symptoms, they deny that these problems are a result of ADHD. Rather, Brandon's father believes that Brandon's misbehavior stems from inconsistent discipline and structure at home, difficulties influenced by the mesosystem dynamics of his parents' interactions.

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Social support

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1. Introduction

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Social support, interpersonal relations, and health: Benefits and liabilities. Suis Eds. Thomas, P. In this section. Twitter Facebook Whatsapp. Course information Department Psychology. Length 1 year full-time, or 2 years part-time. What you'll study. The programme is made up of a total of credits, comprised of: four core modules totalling credits two core optional modules totalling 30 credits three other optional modules totalling 45 credits Core modules You will study the following core modules, in addition to an Independent Research Project of your choice, supervised by leading experts in the field 60 credits.

Statistical Methods 15 credits. This includes: multivariate data screening and cleaning power and sample size determination factor analysis multiple regression analysing contrasts univariate and multivariate repeated measures psychometrics. Research, Design and Analysis 15 credits. The Family and Child Mental Health 15 credits. The Interpersonal Self 15 credits. Investigative Forensic Psychology 15 credits. Addictive Behaviours 15 credits.

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Psychology of the Arts, Aesthetics and Attraction 15 credits. Theoretical Issues in Psychology 15 credits. Topics include: rationalism and empiricism in philosophy; the development of psychological science; science versus non-science; verifiability and falsifiability; subjectivity, inter-subjectivity and objectivity; scope and limits of reductionism; current issues and controversies in psychology; differing levels of psychological explanation.

Advanced Quantitative Methods 15 credits. Statistical Data Analysis Project 15 credits. This module covers the primary statistical analyses used in psychology including: multivariate data screening and cleaning power and sample size determination factor analysis multiple regression analysing contrasts univariate and multivariate repeated measures ANCOVA MANOVA and psychometrics.

Organisational Behaviour and Health 15 credits. Topics will include: organisational behaviour organisational development and occupational health psychology organisational structure and effectiveness work organisation theories work organisation and individual differences individual differences and the stress process leadership and organizational behaviour health promotion programs employee engagement. Leadership and Talent Management 15 credits. Through taking this module, you will: learn the extent to which leadership skills and behaviours are universal or different in their relevance across cultures understand individual differences, strategic approaches, and assessment methodologies understand leadership development: approaches and practices learn about technology and talent management.

Psychology of Marketing and Advertising 15 credits. This module explores: The traditional view of marketing: targeting, differentiation, loyalty, buying behaviour How people buy and what they buy Emerging marketing views: physical and mental availability Packaging of products The future of marketing Three ways of communicating information to consumers Advertising effectiveness Different types of media: online, TV, radio, print Communication strategies and cognitive psychology. Training, Coaching and Counselling 15 credits. Lecture topics include the following: Training: the learner and learning processes Training: training design and delivery Stress management training Coaching: introduction and theoretical underpinnings Coaching II: evidence and professional issues Careers I: career development models and career counselling.

Entry requirements. International qualifications We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Additional costs In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. Funding opportunities Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. How to apply. Skills The programme will: develop your knowledge and understanding of psychological approaches and common psychological methods for studying social relations in children and adults enable you to develop a thorough knowledge of psychological theories and interventions in relation to improving social relations in a range of social settings equip you with transferable knowledge and skills required to undertake psychological research, including the design, implementation and interpretation of studies and communication of outcomes Careers As a graduate of this programme you'll be able to use your knowledge of social relations in the workplace.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths. View more programmes. Life on campus. Statistical Methods Statistical Methods 15 credits This module covers primary statistical analyses used in psychology and neuroscience. The Interpersonal Self The Interpersonal Self 15 credits This module will examine self-processes in interpersonal settings, drawing primarily on recent research from social psychology and personality. Investigative Forensic Psychology Investigative Forensic Psychology 15 credits This module will provide you with knowledge of psychological science applied to the investigation of crime and the process of criminal law.