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Behavior plays key role in disease development and control, according to 10-year prospective review

sychosocial risk factors in the development of CHD. Studies have demonstrated the negative effects of hostility, depression and social isolation on CHD, with similar results in studies dealing with job stress and social conflict. These risk factors are associated with psychophysiological mechanisms through which stress and emotions could influence CHD and coronary artery disease (CAD). For those who do develop CHD and CAD, there is evidence that psychosocial interventions can improve prognosis.

  • Aging - With people living longer, the sandwich generation has given way to a multiple-generation sandwich, where having up to five generations alive at a time is not impossible. Behavioral medicine and clinical health psychology have a major role to play in the maintenance of health in this increasingly older population, especially as it relates to reductions in smoking, increases in exercise and maintenance of a healthy diet and a normal weight. Survivorship is also increasing in those who are diagnosed with major diseases, such as AIDS and Alzheimer's.

  • Asthma - Asthma flares are commonly triggered by allergens, airway irritants such as tobacco smoke, exercise and cold air. There is no solid evidence indicating that behavioral factors cause asthma, but research shows asthma can be affected by stress, anxiety and sadness. Recent findings show that airways are just as reactive to psychological state as other physiological conditions. Asthma education programs that teach about the nature of the disease, medications and trigger avoidance tend to reduce the incidence of asthma. Psychological interventions showing promise when used with medical treatments include stress management, hypnosis, yoga, training in symptom perception and several biofeedback procedures.

  • Obesity - Approximately 10 to 30 percent of obese persons who seek weight reduction suffer from binge eating. Both cognitive-behavioral therapy, designed specifically to control d
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  • Contact: David Partenheimer
    dpartenheimer@apa.org
    202-336-5706
    American Psychological Association
    23-Jun-2002


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