Psychological Factors and Health
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,...
References and Further Reading
- 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
- Lazarus, R., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal and coping. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Marsland, A. L., Cohen, S., Rabin, B., & Manuck, S. (2001). Associations between stress, trait negative affect, acute immune reactivity, and antibody response to hepatitis b injection in healthy young adults. Health Psychology, 20, 4–11. https://doi.org/10.1037/0278-6220.127.116.11.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Steptoe, A., Roy, M., & Evans, O. (1996). Psychosocial influences on ambulatory blood pressure over working and non-working days. Journal of Psychophysiology, 10(3), 218–227.Google Scholar