Sex Roles and Psychophysiological Disorders

Coronary Heart Disease
  • Jane E. Platt


Psychophysiology, as defined in the dictionary, is “the science of the relation between psychological and physiological processes.” Psychophysiological disorders, therefore, are those in which psychological factors make a direct or indirect contribution to etiology. The issue that will be addressed in this chapter is the relationship between psychophysiological disorders and a particular set of psychological factors, those related to sex role. This relationship is of particular interest at this juncture in history for two reasons. First, it has become increasingly clear in recent years that psychological factors influence the development and treatment of numerous diseases including ulcers (Ackerman, Manaker, and Cohen, 1981), cancer (Shekelle, Raynor, Ostfeld, Garron, Bieliauskas, Liu, Maliza, and Paul, 1981), asthma (Teiramaa, 1979), and coronary heart disease (CHD) (Friedman and Rosenman, 1959). Second, sex roles, i.e., the behaviors, thoughts, or attitudes deemed appropriate to a person by virtue of his or her sex, have undergone rapid change in many segments of the population during the past 15 years and are continuing to change. The health consequences of these changes are not yet apparent, but there is concern, to cite one example, that changes in the social roles of women may increase their cardiovascular morbidity and mortality (see, e.g., Garbus and Garbus, 1980).


Coronary Heart Disease Oral Contraceptive Psychosomatic Medicine Female Death High Density Lipoprotein Concentration 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jane E. Platt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Millhauser LaboratoriesNew York University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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