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

June 23, 2002

WASHINGTON -- From daily health concerns such as smoking, exercise and diet, to serious diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and diabetes, evidence continues to mount that a wide variety of behavioral interventions are having a major influence in producing useful changes in the risk, management and outcome of many diseases and health problems. The progress of these interventions over the past 10 years is highlighted in a focused issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA), and provides more evidence that health, even physical health, is not all medical.

Health researcher's understanding of the role of behavioral factors in the development and course of disease has grown in scope in the past 10 years, with clear signs of the weakening of the boundaries between behavioral medicine and related fields, according to the authors of an introductory article. "In past decades, behavioral medicine was described in part by its differences from traditional clinical psychology and psychiatry. However, the future of the field may involve its unique ability to integrate the assessment and management of matters of mental and physical health in medical care."

Some of the specific issues addressed in the special issue include:

Other issues addressed in the special issue include psychological and behavioral interventions for cancer patients, organ transplant patients, somatoform disorders, physical activity and exercise, peptic ulcer and inflammatory bowel disease, end-stage renal disease, chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, smoking cessation, HIV/AIDS prevention, genetic testing, arthritis, women's reproductive health, recurrent headache disorders, hypertension, emotional disorders in primary care, and adolescent health.

Technology is likely to continue to play a major role in behavioral medicine research and practice, according to the authors of a closing article. Internet-based programs are showing promising early results for such things as pain management, teen smoking, problem drinking, and eating disorders. Interactive technologies, including laser discs, virtual reality and CD-ROMS have enormous potential in the area of long-distance assessment and treatment efforts. Virtual reality provides patients with opportunities to immerse themselves in highly realistic and challenging treatment environments that are difficult to replicate in treatment settings, such as exposure to combat scenes for veteran's suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder.

The collection of 27 articles follows prior special issues on behavioral medicine published in the same journal in 1982 and 1992. The current special issue coincides with the Decade of Behavior, a multidisciplinary initiative to focus talents, energy and creativity of the behavioral and social sciences on meeting many of society's significant challenges.
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The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 155,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 53 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting human welfare.

Articles in the Special Issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology include:

Title: Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Health Psychology: A View from the Decade of Behavior
Author: Timothy W. Smith, Philip C. Kendall, and Francis J. Keefe

Title: Sociodemographic Diversity and Behavioral Medicine
Author: Keith E. Whitfield, Gerdi Weidner, Rodney Clark, and Norman B. Anderson

Title: Applications of Cost-Effectiveness Methodologies in Behavioral Medicine
Author: Robert M. Kaplan, and Erik J. Groessl

Title: Smoking Cessation: Progress, Priorities, and Prospectus
Author: Raymond Niaura, and David B. Abrams

Title: Obesity: Responding to the Global Epidemic
Author: Thomas A. Wadden, Kelly D. Brownell, and Gary D. Foster

Title: Physical Activity and Exercise: Recent Advances and Current Challenges
Author: Patricia M. Dubbert

Title: Psychoneuroimmunology: Psychological Influences on Immune Function and Health
Author: Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser, Lynanne McGuire, Theodore F. Robles, and Ronald Glaser

Title: Psychosocial Influences on the Development and Course of Coronary Heart Disease: Current Status and Implications for Research and Practice
Author: Timothy W. Smith, and John M. Ruiz

Title: Biobehavioral Approaches to Hypertension
Author: James A. Blumenthal, Andrew Sherwood, Elizabeth C.D. Gullette, Anastasia Georgiades, and Damon Tweedy

Title: Biobehavioral Outcomes Following Psychological Interventions for Cancer Patients
Author: Barbara L. Andersen

Title: Diabetes and Behavioral Medicine: The Second Decade
Author: Linda A. Gonder-Frederick, Daniel J. Cox, and Lee M. Ritterband

Title: Behavioral Research in HIV/AIDS Primary and Secondary Prevention: Recent and Future Directions
Author: Jeffrey A. Kelly, and Seth C. Kalichman

Title: Recent Advances and Future Directions in the Biopsychosocial Assessment and Treatment of Arthritis
Author: Francis J. Keefe, Suxanne J. Smith, Angela L.H. Buffington, Jessica Gibson, Jamie Studts, and David S. Caldwell

Title: Assessment and Psychological Management of Recurrent Headache Disorders
Author: Kenneth A. Holyroyd

Title: Psychological Factors in Chronic Pain: Evolution and Revolution
Author: Dennis Turk, Akiko Okifuju

Title: Psychological Aspects of Asthma
Author: Paul Lehrer, Jonathan Feldman, Nicholas Giardino, Hye-Sue Song, and Karen Schmaling

Title: Psychosocial Factors in End-Stage Renal Disease: An Emerging Context for Behavioral Medicine Research
Author: Alan J. Christensen, and Shawna L. Ehlers

Title: Psychosocial Aspects of Assessment and Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Adults and Recurrent Abdominal Pain in Children
Author: Edward B. Blanchard, and Lisa Scharff

Title: Psychosocial Factors in Peptic Ulcer and Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Author: Susan Levenstein

Title: Psychosocial Aspects of Selected Issues in Women's Reproductive Health: Current Status and Future Direction
Author: Annette L. Stanton, Marci Lobel, Sharon Sears, and Robyn Stein DeLuca

Title: Psychological Assessment and Care of Organ Transplant Patients
Author: Mary Ellen Olbrisch, Sharon M. Benedict, Kristine Ashe, and James L. Levenson

Title: Genetic Testing: Psychological Aspects and Implications
Author: Caryn Lerman, Robert T. Croyle, Kenneth P. Tercyak, Heidi Harmann

Title: Emotional Disorders in Primary Care
Author: James Coyne, Richard Thompson, Michael S. Klinkman, and Donald E. Nease Jr.

Title: Behavioral Medicine Approaches to Somataform Disorders
Author: Karl J. Looper, and Laurence J. Kirmayer

Title: Adolescent Health Psychology
Author: Paula G. Williams, Grayson N. Holmbeck, Rachel Neff Greenley

Title: Behavioral Medicine and Aging
Author: Ilene C. Siegler, Lori A. Bastian, David C. Steffens, Hayden B. Bosworth, and Paul T. Costa

Title: Behavioral Medicine: 2002 and Beyond
Author: Francis J. Keefe, Angela L.H. Buffington, Jamie L. Studts, Meredith E. Rumble

American Psychological Association

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