Advances and New Directions

By Silvano Arieti; H. Keith H. Brodie | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 17

BEHAVIORAL MEDICINE
AND BIOFEEDBACK *

Redford B. Williams, Jr.

Why is so little attention paid to behavioral research in the treatment and cure of disease? While infectious diseases used to be the most burdensome illnesses, we now see cardiovascular disease, cancer, lung disease, accidents, homicide, and violence as the major threats to life and health. These afflictions have strong behavioral components. 33


¶ Introduction

IN a recent address at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Senator Edward Kennedy made a pointed reference to a growing trend in American medicine, namely, the emergence of a field of research and clinical endeavor that is now widely identified by the term "behavioral medicine." This trend is a historical fact, as documented by several recent events, including the founding of an Academy of Behavioral

Medicine Research and a Society of Behavioral Medicine; the establishment of an experimental Behavioral Medicine Review Group within the Division of Research Grants of the NIH; the establishment of a Behavioral Medicine Branch within the Division of Heart and Vascular Diseases of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; and a recent flurry of program announcements from the NIH in such areas as chronic pain and psychological aspects of cancer.

It is timely, therefore, to undertake a review of the emerging field of behavioral medicine. This chapter shall first consider the historical and conceptual contexts within which these recent developments have occurred, with particular emphasis on differential conceptual orientations between behavioral medicine and psychosomatic medicine, which is also concerned with emotions and disease. Then will follow a review of the substantive research contributions from studies carried out with a behavioral-medicine conceptual orientation. This review will con

____________________
*
Supported by a Research Scientist Development Award (MH70482-06) from the NIMH and by grants (HL 18589-04 and HL22740-02) from the NHLBI.

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