unit 3 psychology A2 aqa a

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  • Created on: 09-06-12 14:41

Insomnia AO1/2/3

Causes: Secondary - single underlying cause, insomnia could be a symptom of the main cause. Main causes could be medical (heart disease), psychiartric (depression) or envirnomental (too much caffiene) Primary - defined by the DSM-IR-TV as a problem with no known cause and has occurred for more than a month. Possible causes - bad sleep habits (drinking coffee in the evening and taking naps during the day) or expectations of sleeping problems because of the previous cause (depression) - the orginial problem has disappeared but there is still an expectation of sleeping problems - it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy

IDA Real-world application - distinction between primary and secondary insomnia important whe deciding treatment - either you should treat the insomnia or treat the underlying cause - in case of the insomnia arising from depression it might be unhelpful just to treat the insomnia as the underlying cause is still there which could then cause more psychological issues and in fact when the treatment for insomnia has stopped the insomnia could then become a symptom of the depression again.

However.. next card

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Insomnia AO1/2/3 - IDA

Not always clear whether insomnia is simply a symptom of the main cause or if it is primary. Survey of 15,000 Europeans found that insomnia often preceded depression (it was primary) so suggests insomnia should be treated. 15,000 people - quite large sample size - individual differences unlikley to impact on results - however survey - may not be 100% reliable due to the researcher relying on self-report from the individuals stating if it is the insomnia or for example depression, when the individuals themselves are not even sure on whether insomnia is primary or secondary

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Insomnia AO1/2/3 IDA - cognitive approach - attrib

Attribution theory - example of the cognitive approach - concerns the way we think about the causes of our own behaviour. In the case of insomnia - if a person believes they cannot sleep because of insomnia this produces self-fulfilling expectations and so they cannot sleep.

Att. therapy suggests that an individual needs to think differently about the causes of their behaviour and learn to make a different attribution to why they are not sleeping.

Storms and Nisbett - tried att. therpay with insomniacs - gave insomniacs a pill and told them it was either an arousal or a sedative - those insomniacs who were given the arousal pill attributed their usual bedtime arousal to the pill and therefore relaxed and went to sleep faster. 

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Risk factors influencing insomnia AO1/2/3

Age - Teenagers experience insomnia due to delayed sleep phase syndrome and older people have increasing physical problems such as arthiritis which can disrupt sleep

Evidence for adolescent insomnia - survey of 4,000 11-17 yr olds from Texas  showed 25% experienced insomnia and 5% said it interfered with their ability to function. Year later 41% still experiencing problems - Roberts Use of survey - not 100% reliable? - adolescents likely to be influenced by peer pressure which could result in the presence of social desireability affecting the results - restrcited sample - insomnia in adolescents may not represent the entire population regarding all ages - culture bias - study in Texas - have to be careful when generalising to other countries

Gender - increased occurence in women may be due to hormonal fluctuations such as the menopause

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Risk factors influencing insomnia AO1/2/3

Sleep apnoea - individuals stop breathing from 30 seconds up to a minute. Could happen up to 30 times an hour and disrupts sleep

Other parasomnias - sleep walking, snoring, teeth grinding all disrupt sleep

Personality - insomniacs tend to internalise psychological disturbance rather than acting out emotional problems - Kales - such internalisation would mean higher levels of emotional arousal and feelings of anxiety - links to women more likely to be at risk as they are more likely to interalise stress - by addressing stress and acting upon it you could prevent the likelihood of insomnia developing

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Risk factors influencing insomnia AO1/2/3

Genetic influence? - possible some people are predisposed to develop insomnia because of inherited factors - Watson - twin studies show a 50% variance in the risk for insomnia is related to genes - genetic factors might lead to physiological differences - hyperarousal - insomniacs been found to experience hyperarousal during the day and night - Bonnet and Arand

Predisposing factors alone unlikely to explain chronic primary insomnia - diathesis stress model of mental disorders proposes that vulnerability alone is not enough for the disorder to develop so envirnomental stressors are needed to trigger the disorder - stress/environmental change likely to be the trigger

Chronic insomnia highly complex - unlikley to be explained by one single factor - large number of factors makes it very difficult to conduct meaningful research because studies only find small effects. So many different causes for insomnia stress, depression etc its very difficult to draw any firm conclusions

Use of polysomnography - scientific - however used in sleep lab - may not represent peoples sleep activities as it would in their own home 

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