Chapter

Psychosocial Stress, Social Networks, and Susceptibility to Infection

SHELDON COHEN

in The Link Between Religion and Health

Published in print February 2002 | ISBN: 9780195143607
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199893256 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195143607.003.0007
Psychosocial Stress, Social Networks, and Susceptibility to Infection

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During the past several decades, support has grown for the premise that psychological and social factors can influence physical health. This includes evidence that enduring stressful life events and prolonged negative moods (for example, depression, anxiety and anger) can increase the risk of physical illness and early death. It also includes evidence that those who participate in diverse social networks which include family, friends, workmates, neighbors and fellow members of social and religious groups live longer and healthier lives than their less socially adept counterparts. This chapter discusses research on psychosocial stress, social support and susceptibility to infection that has helped to mainstream psychoneuroimmunology into the field of medicine. It reviews how social factors may affect the immune function and disease susceptibility, and argues that religion or religious factors may influence both psychological and social functioning to a degree that health is significantly affected.

Keywords: psychosocial stress; social support; social networks; infection; physical health; disease susceptibility; psychoneuroimmunology; immune function

Chapter.  8687 words. 

Subjects: Neuropsychology

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