Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Psychological Factors and Health

  • Jane UptonEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_1562-2



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 Further Reading

  1. Bauer, E., Vedhara, K., Perks, P., Wilcock, G. K., Lightman, S. L., Shanks, N., et al. (2000). Chronic stress in caregivers of dementia patients is associated with reduced lymphocyte sensitivity to glucocorticoids. Journal of Neuroimmunology, 103, 84–92.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0165-5728(99)00228-3.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
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  11. Phillips, A. C., Carroll, D., Burns, V. E., Ring, C., Macleod, J., Drayson, M., et al. (2006). Bereavement and marriage are associated with antibody response to influenza vaccination in the elderly. Immunity, 20, 279–289.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2005.08.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  15. Stowell, J. R., Kiecolt-glaser, J. K., & Glaser, R. (2001). Perceived stress and cellular immunity: When coping counts. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 24(4), 323–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWilliam James CollegeNewtonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Anna C. Whittaker
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation SciencesUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK