The Link between Religion and Health: Psychoneuroimmunology and the Faith Factor

By Harold G. Koenig; Harvey Jay Cohen | Go to book overview

7
Psychosocial Factors, Immunity,
and Wound Healing
HAROLD G. KOENIG & HARVEY JAY COHEN

In this chapter we review the work of Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, Ron Glaser, and others who have examined the effects of psychological stress and social support on immune functioning and wound healing. This area of research is of particular importance because of its potentially wide clinical application. If either individual or group support has an impact on immune function, the public health implications would be enormous. Likewise, if psychological stress affects wound healing in a clinically significant way, then stress-reducing interventions before and after surgical operations might significantly affect the speed of postsurgical recovery. We also explore in this chapter how such research advances may help inform future studies of the religion-health relationship and propose a number of research avenues to pursue. If religious involvement enhances social support and reduces stress, then investigations that explore the relationship between religion and immunity, wound healing, and postsurgical recovery may be worth pursuing.


Social Support and Immune Function

Social support has been shown to modify the psychological consequences of stress, thereby preventing or ameliorating adverse psychological outcomes such as depression (George, 1992; Uchino et al., 1996). Social isolation, in contrast, increases emotional distress that may lead to neuroendocrine and immune system changes that impair physical health. Studies in both nonhuman primates and humans bear this out. Sapolsky

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The Link between Religion and Health: Psychoneuroimmunology and the Faith Factor
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Foreword *
  • Contents ix
  • Contributors xi
  • The Link Between Religion and Health *
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - The Connection Between Psychoneuroimmunology and Religion 11
  • References *
  • 2 - The Development and History of Psychoneuroimmunology 31
  • Note *
  • References *
  • 3 - Understanding How Stress Affects the Physical Body 43
  • References 60
  • 4 - Stress, Natural Killer Cells, and Cancer 69
  • Note *
  • References *
  • 5 - Psychosocial Interventions and Prognosis in Cancer 84
  • Note *
  • References *
  • 6 - Psychosocial Stress, Social Networks, and Susceptibility to Infection 101
  • References 117
  • 7 - Psychosocial Factors, Immunity, and Wound Healing 124
  • References *
  • 8 - Psychosocial Factors, Spirituality/ Religiousness, and Immune Function in Hiv/aids Patients 139
  • Note *
  • References *
  • 9 - Hostility, Neuroendocrine Changes, and Health Outcomes 160
  • References *
  • 10 - Psychological Stress and Autoimmune Disease 174
  • References *
  • 11 - Immune, Neuroendocrine, and Religious Measures 197
  • References *
  • 12 - Psychoneuroimmunology and Eastern Religious Traditions 250
  • References *
  • 13 - Psychoneuroimmunology and Western Religious Traditions 262
  • References *
  • 14 - Psychoneuroimmunology and Religion: Implications for Society and Culture 275
  • References *
  • 15 - Avenues for Future Research 286
  • Conclusions 295
  • Index 297
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