Psychosocial risk and management of physical diseases

  • Neil SchneidermanEmail author
  • Roger C. McIntosh
  • Michael H. Antoni


During the 40 years since the Yale conference on Behavioral Medicine and the founding of the Journal of Behavioral Medicine considerable progress has been made in understanding the role of psychosocial risk and management of physical diseases. We here describe the development of these fundamental concepts from early research on stress through studies of the Type A behavior pattern to more contemporary approaches to the relationship between psychosocial risks and benefits in relation to disease processes. This includes the relationship of psychosocial risk to cancers, cardiovascular diseases (CVD), cardiometabolic disorders, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Human Immune Deficiency Syndrome. During the past 40 years the effects of prolonged distress responses in the pathogenesis of some cancers and CVD have been well-established and modifiable behavioral, cognitive and social factors have been shown to produce favorable outcome components in the management of such diseases as breast cancer, coronary heart disease and HIV.


Stress responses Psychosocial risk Chronic diseases Cancer Cardiovascular disease HIV/AIDS 



Neil Schneiderman thanks Stephen M. Weiss as a long-time friend, colleague and scientific collaborator. He receives support as the James L. Knight Chair in Health Psychology and from NIH (HHSN2682013000041). Roger C. McIntosh receives support from NIH K01-HL139722 and his membership in the behavioral/social/community outreach program in the University of Miami Center for AIDS Research (CFAR). Michael H. Antoni receives support from NIH (CA064710, CA131451, HHSN261200800015), Florida Department of Health (6BC06), Florida Breast Cancer Foundation, and the University of Miami School of Medicine Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

Neil Schneiderman and Roger C. McIntosh declare they have no conflicts of interest. Michael H. Antoni receives royalties from a book on stress management in breast cancer patients.

Human and animal rights and Informed consent

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants carried out by the authors were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed by the authors for studies they were involved with using animals.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Health Division, Department of PsychologyUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

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