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May 7, 1982

Understanding Human Behavior in Health and Illness

JAMA. 1982;247(17):2424-2425. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320420068046

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In this complex world of modern medical knowledge, with all of its attendant psychological dilemmas, how many of us have truly attempted to understand how "normal" people respond to the emotional stresses of growing up, growing older, being sick, and the continuum along which psychological health evolves into "illness"? In this well-written series of 73 essays, a large array of emotional and psychological issues are authoritatively addressed by many authors who have done an extraordinary job of working together in developing a synthetic and coherent textbook.

The book begins by asking the physician the question, "Why learn about human behavior?" and proceeds to discuss how psychological factors affect organic diseases and vice versa. The first 15 chapters explore the physician-patient relationship and delve into common patient problems, such as the psychological aspects of pain and physical illness, the difficult patient, responses to medical advice (compliance), and the evaluation of psychosomatic