Human Connection in Health and Illness
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Human beings are evolved to connect together for survival. Among the factors that fulfill the human need for affiliation and connectedness are social institutions, such as marriage, family, and the social support network, including clinician–patient empathic relationships.Human connection serves to promote health and prevent disease. Conversely, an absence of satisfactory human connection, experienced as loneliness, is detrimental to physical, mental, and social well-being. The mechanisms involved in linking the quality of human connection to health or illness are not well understood. However, opportunities for empathic engagement and involvement of a multisystem of psychoneuroimmunology may provide some explanations for the beneficial effects of human connections. The clinician–patient relationship is formed by the drive for connectedness that increases with illness. The empathic connection between clinician and patient can serve as a special kind of social support system with beneficial healing power.
KeywordsSocial Support Social Connection Social Support Network Patient Relationship Myocardial Stunning
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