Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

The Power of Belief - Psychosocial Influences on Illness, Disability and Medicine

Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

The Power of Belief - Psychosocial Influences on Illness, Disability and Medicine

Article excerpt

The Power of Belief - Psychosocial Influences on Illness, Disability and Medicine Edited by Peter Halligan and Mansel Aylward. Published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2006. ISBN 0198530110

The central tenet of this book is that illness and disability cannot be considered in terms of pathological processes alone, but as socio-culturally conditioned phenomena which influence an individual's belief about their experience. This book further suggests that, despite broad acceptance of biopsychosocial factors having influence in illness presentation, treatment compliance and recovery, few adopt this approach in clinical practice. Inspired by a conference in 2003, this important book brings together a number of researchers from a neuroscience, rehabilitation and disability background, in order to provoke debate and understanding of the relationship between beliefs, behaviour and response to treatment for effective clinical practice.

I found this an accessible paperback, which begins with a useful introduction into the nature of beliefs, their relationship to experience and, more importantly for healthcare professionals, understanding of illness. Presented in two sections, Part 1 explores conceptual and psychological perspectives and presents research from cognitive neuroscience and cognitive anthropology, considering issues of bias, placebo effects, psychosocial factors and rehabilitation. …

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