The Link from Stress Arousal to Disease

  • George S. EverlyJr.
  • Jeffrey M. Lating


The notion that one’s psychosocial environment, lifestyle, and attitudes are linked to disease is by no means a new idea, as discussed in  Chap. 1. In a scholarly meta-analysis, Tower (1984) reviewed 523 published reports investigating the relationship between psychosocial factors and disease. Ultimately selecting 60 of those studies on the basis of design considerations, she then submitted the data to a meta-analysis. The results supported the conclusion that there exists a strong relationship between psychosocial factors and illness. She notes, “Psychological well-being appeared to be most strongly associated with coronary heart disease and infectious processes … although it was significantly associated with all diseases [investigated] except complications of pregnancy” (p. 51). To assess the power of her findings, Tower calculated the number of fugitive studies required to reject the findings of her meta-analysis. The results of this analysis of outcome tolerance revealed that over 28,000 fugitive studies would be required to reject the conclusion that psychosocial factors are related to disease. More recently, researchers have studied the link between psychosocial factors and heart disease (Low, Thurston, & Matthews, 2010), depression (Bonde, 2008) and even musculoskeletal pain (Macfarlane et al., 2009).


Target Organ Psychosocial Factor Relaxation Response Psychosomatic Disorder General Adaptation Syndrome 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • George S. EverlyJr.
    • 1
  • Jeffrey M. Lating
    • 2
  1. 1.School of MedicineThe Johns Hopkins UniversitySeverna ParkUSA
  2. 2.Loyola University MaylandBaltimoreUSA

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