Behavioral Medicine Interventions with Older Adults

  • Mary J. Gage
  • Anthony J. Goreczny
Part of the The Springer Series in Adult Development and Aging book series (SSAD)


Behavioral medicine is an area that has flourished since the 1960s. In large part, this is due to the fact that the primary conditions that have led to death and illness since then have involved significant psychosocial or biobehavioral risk factors (Goreczny, 1995b). Despite the growth in the area of behavioral medicine in general, until recently there had been only very scant references to behavioral medicine interventions with older adults. There may be several reasons for this. First, many health care professionals shy away from treating older adults. Second, some thought it difficult, if not impossible, to teach older adults the strategies often used in behavioral medicine interventions, including techniques such as biofeedback, relaxation training, and disease self-management. The view that older adults cannot learn these techniques was prevalent among health care professionals and prospective patients alike. Third, some initial research studies provided apparent proof that older adults could not benefit from behavioral medicine interventions. Thus, for quite some time, although researchers usually did not exclude older adults from studies, there was very little attempt to study this population independently of their younger cohorts. Studies that did include older adults usually statistically adjusted for demographic factors such as age rather than examining the effects of these factors outright.


Young Adult Spinal Cord Injury Smoking Cessation Anorexia Nervosa Eating Disorder 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary J. Gage
    • 1
  • Anthony J. Goreczny
    • 2
  1. 1.Mellon CenterCleveland ClinicClevelandUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of IndianapolisIndianapolisUSA

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