Computer Applications in Behavioral Medicine

  • Gerhard Werner
Part of the Springer Series in Rehabilitation and Health book series (SSRH)


Conceived in the 1970s, behavioral medicine has since outgrown its original conceptual foundations of learning and conditioning; it has assimilated aspects of cognitive therapy, behavioral family therapy, and social skills training and also blended these approaches, to some extent, with pharmacotherapy It has also extended its scope from assessment and therapy to prevention and rehabilitation (Kaptein & Rooijen, 1990). Despite this increase in scope and diversity, behavioral medicine has adhered to essential principles of behavior therapy, insisting on quantitative measures of observables, emphasis on performance and action, and the priority of manifest current functioning over inferred psychological processes (Bellack & Hersen, 1990; Wixted, Bellack, & Hersen, 1990). Operational, objective, and quantitative characteristics of these principles seem to be promising candidates for computer-based procedures of one kind or another. A few innovative and forward looking clinician-investigators had already recognized this during the formative stages of behavioral medicine. Yet, despite fairly consistent reports of satisfactory results, current health-care practitioners have not applied computer-based approaches in behavioral medicine as widely as seems warranted by the apparent match between the tasks and the computer’s potential as assistive tool. Agras (1987) addressed this issue in his Presidential Address to the 20th Annual Meeting of the Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy; in his discussion—“Where Do We Go from Here?”—he drew attention to the desirability of building on already existing, successful computer applications, and stressed the potential of developing promising new applications.


Behavior Research Method Family Therapy Behavioral Medicine Acquire Immune Deficiency Syndrome Test Anxiety 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerhard Werner
    • 1
  1. 1.Highland Drive Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA

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