Mind, Body, and Spirit in Chronic Illness

  • Angele McGrady
  • Donald Moss


This chapter provides an introduction to chronic illness as conceptualized in the Pathways Model. Health care expenditures and the major conditions requiring costly medical care are discussed. The importance of environment, socioeconomic status, and developmental factors are highlighted. Several patient cases are utilized to demonstrate multiple risk factors, both biological and psychosocial, that increase the probability of developing a chronic illness. Patients describe in their own words the aspects of their background with which they have struggled. Adversity during the critical developmental period of childhood has ramifications for morbidity well into the adult years. Individuals who have experienced emotional, physical, or sexual abuse are at great risk for chronic illness, particularly pain conditions, depressive disorders, and cardiovascular disease. At similar risk are minimally educated, low-income patients who reside in a high stress neighborhood. The influence of lifestyle, particularly inactivity and high fat, high sugar diets is explored within the context of personal decisions and choices made by individuals. Isolated patients without social support who do not have a stable home suffer the effects of their environment both emotionally and physically. Chronic stress, due also to the illness itself, is associated with damaging effects mediated through the nervous system and the immune complex. First, the mind, body, and spiritual aspects of chronic illness are explored, and then they are correlated with the levels of intervention in the Pathways Model.


Chronic illness Chronic stress Lifestyle Spirituality 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angele McGrady
    • 1
  • Donald Moss
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of ToledoToledoUSA
  2. 2.College of Integrative Medicine and Health SciencesSaybrook UniversityOaklandUSA

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