The Power Of Belief: Psychosocial influence on illness, disability and medicine

Paperback | June 27, 2006

EditorPeter W. Halligan, Mansel Aylward

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Over the past two decades, a widening gulf has emerged between illness presentation and the adequacy of traditional biomedical explanations. Currently, the UK is experiencing an "epidemic of common health problems" among people in receipt of State incapacity benefits and those who consulttheir general practitioners. Most do not demonstrate a recognisable pathological or organic basis which would account for the subjective complaints they report. As a result, the causes of many illnesses remain a mystery for both patient and physician, with the result that increasing numbers ofpeople are opting for alternative or complementary medicines. To bridge this gap between illness and its explanation, without abandoning the clear benefits of the biomedical approach, many healthcare professionals have begun to consider a biopsychosocial approach. Central to this approach is thebelief that illness is not just the result of discrete pathological processes but involves and can be meaningfully explained in terms of personal, psychological and socio-cultural factors. In particular, the beliefs held by patients about their health are considered central to the way they behave and respond to treatment. However, such beliefs are not specific to patients only - they can greatly influence the behaviour and reasoning of health professionals as well. Psychosocialinfluences such as beliefs are also relevant when considering society's views regarding the aetiology of illness, recovery and potential for treatment. At a time when public trust in doctors and science is undoubtedly diminishing, a better understanding of patients' beliefs is clearly a priority forclinical practice and research. The Power of Belief brings together a range of experts from neuroscience, rehabilitation and disability medicine and provides a unique account of the role and influence that belief plays in illness manifestation, medical training, promising biopsychosocial interventions and society at large.

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Over the past two decades, a widening gulf has emerged between illness presentation and the adequacy of traditional biomedical explanations. Currently, the UK is experiencing an "epidemic of common health problems" among people in receipt of State incapacity benefits and those who consulttheir general practitioners. Most do not demonst...

Peter Halligan is at School of Psychology, Cardiff University, UK. Mansel Aylward is at Director, UnumProvident Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research, Cardiff University, UK.

other books by Peter W. Halligan

Format:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.61 inPublished:June 27, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198530110

ISBN - 13:9780198530114

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Table of Contents

1. Peter W. Halligan and Mansel Aylward: Introduction - the relevance of belief for understanding and managing illness behaviourConceptual and psychological perspectivesPeter W. Halligan: Beliefs: explaining illness and shaping experience2. Vaughan Bell, Peter W. Halligan and Hadyn D. Ellis: A cognitive neuroscience of belief3. David F. Marks: Biased beliefs and the subjective validation effect4. Quinton Deeley: The cognitive anthropology of belief5. Irving Kirsch: Placebo: the role of expectancies in the generation and alleviation of illnessClinical and occupational perspectivesMansel Aylward: Beliefs: clinical and vocational interventions; tackling psychological and social determinants of illness and disability6. andIAnthony F. Jorm and Kathleen M. Griffiths: Public and medical beliefs about mental disorders and their treatment7. Robert Horne: Beliefs and adherence to treatment: the challenge for research and clinical practice8. Peter Salmon: Explaining unexplained symptoms: the role of beliefs in clinical management9. A. Kim Burton, Gordon Waddell and Chris J. Main: Beliefs and obstacles to recovery in low back pain10. Derick T. Wade: Belief in rehabilitation, the hidden power for change11. Rachelle Buchbinder: Managing disability in public policy initiatives12. Duncan B. Double: Clinician bias in diagnosis and treatment13. Robert Ferrari, Oliver Kwan and Jon Friel: Volition and psychosocial factors in illness behaviour