Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Psychological Factors and Health

  • Jane Upton
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_1562



Thoughts, feelings, and attitudes that influence behavior


Behavioral medicine incorporates not only the effect of individual’s actions on their health but also how psychological factors affect the physical body. This is a progression from traditional biomedicine, which conceptualizes the mind and the body as separate entities. Behavioral medicine has started to break down this artificial boundary, illuminating the close relationship between mind and body, and therefore the role that psychological factors play in disease.

A key psychological factor is stress, which is known to affect many systems of the body. This summary will focus on the immune system, a system once thought to be independent of psychological factors. Research investigating the effect of stress on vaccinations generally indicates that chronic psychological stress impacts on the immune response. In a study conducted by Cohen and colleagues,...

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References and Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Sport and Exercise SciencesUniversity of BirminghamEdgbaston, BirminghamUK