Special Article

Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 388-401

Psychosomatic Medicine: The Scientific Foundation of the Biopsychosocial Model

  • Dennis H. NovackAffiliated withOffice of Educational Affairs, Drexel University College of Medicine Email author 
  • , Oliver CameronAffiliated withOffice of Educational Affairs, Drexel University College of Medicine
  • , Elissa EpelAffiliated withOffice of Educational Affairs, Drexel University College of Medicine
  • , Robert AderAffiliated withOffice of Educational Affairs, Drexel University College of Medicine
  • , Shari R. WaldsteinAffiliated withOffice of Educational Affairs, Drexel University College of Medicine
  • , Susan LevensteinAffiliated withOffice of Educational Affairs, Drexel University College of Medicine
  • , Michael H. AntoniAffiliated withOffice of Educational Affairs, Drexel University College of Medicine
  • , Alicia Rojas WainerAffiliated withOffice of Educational Affairs, Drexel University College of Medicine

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Abstract

Objective

This article presents major concepts and research findings from the field of psychosomatic medicine that the authors believe should be taught to all medical students.

Method

The authors asked senior scholars involved in psychosomatic medicine to summarize key findings in their respective fields.

Results

The authors provide an overview of the field and summarize core research in basic psychophysiological mechanisms—central nervous system/autonomic nervous system, psychoneuroimmunology, and psychoendocrinology—in three major disease states—cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and HIV virus infections.

Conclusions

Understanding the core scientific concepts and research findings of psychosomatic medicine should provide medical trainees with a scientific foundation for practicing medicine within a biopsychosocial model of care.