Psychosomatic Processes

Test 3 -- April 7, 1997


Write your name on the BACK of the exam.  Answer 8 of the following 9 questions (5 points each).


1.  Assume that you work for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and have been called in to investigate a case of a mystery gas that has affected a large group of workers.  What would make you suspect that the disease was mass psychogenic illness?  Point to the roles of schemas, competition of cues, and sex differences in your answer.


2.  According to Lazarus and Folkman, should coping be considered a trait or a style?  Justify your answer.


3.  According to your understanding of sex differences (i.e., the “his and her” approach to emotion), would women or would men be more likely to be high in Negative Affectivity, or NA?  Justify your answer.


4.  To what degree do each of the following perspectives support or fail to support the specificity notion: a.) repressive coping,  b.) hostility,  c.) Lazarus,  d.) alexithymia,  and e.) Friedman & Booth-Kewley’s disease-prone personality.


5.  According to your knowledge of King, Taylor & Brown, and Watson & Pennebaker, would it be a good idea to focus on the positive aspects of trauma?  Justify your answer.


6.  How do people get to be hostile?  Can it be socialized?  How?  By the same token, how can it be cured?  Draw on your knowledge of Manuck’s monkey studies, Scherwitz and his life style project with Dean Ornish, and Smith & Christiansen’s paper on hostility, health, and social contexts.


7.  How powerful are placebos?  Drawing on everything we have covered in this course, why do you think they work?  Are they more effective for men or for women?


8.  The Big 3 dimensions of personality are generally considered to be NA (or neuroticism), PA (or extraversion), and Constraint (or its flip side, impulsivity).  Where along these three dimensions would each of the following personalities/constructs fall:  a) alexithymia, b) Shedler’s people suffering from illusory mental health, c) people who are depressed, d) people who use emotion-focused coping, e) Type As,  f) repressive copers, g) hostile people, h) yourself.


9.  Briefly summarize the main point of Wortman & Silver’s article, “The myths of coping with loss.”  Could the same arguments be made concerning myths of coping with stress?  Would they argue that psychotherapy and stress management strategies are useless?  Justify your answer.