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Handbook of Clinical Health Psychology, Vol. 3.

Boll, T. J, Johnson, S. B, Perry, N.W., Jr., & Rozensky, R.H. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association 2002, 704 pages, $69.95 (hardcover)

Thomas J. Boll is a board certified clinical health psychologist who directs the Neuropsychology Institute at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Suzanne Bennett Johnson is clinical professor and director of the Center for Pediatric Psychology and Family Studies at the University of Florida at Gainesville. Nathan W. Perry Jr. is professor emeritus in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Florida and past president of the Florida Psychological Association. Ronald H. Rozensky is a board certified clinical and health psychologist and Chairman of the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Florida. Together they have combined their expertise to produce their latest book, the Handbook of Clinical Health Psychology.

The book presents rehabilitation professionals with an insightful understanding of the central role that psychological behavior plays in the onset, progression, treatment, and outcome of various types of medical disorders. The authors divide the text into seventeen chapters. Each chapter is unique in as much as it is dedicated to a detailed description of the etiology of a specific category of illness. Boll and his colleagues utilize an epidemiological perspective throughout the book to review the clinical evidence that supports the central connection between the mind and the body in the disease process.

Chapter one gives readers a comprehensive overview of the application of the principles of health psychology to the treatment and prevention of infectious disease. The authors argue that findings from prospective and retrospective studies of infectious illness such as hepatitis B, herpes, Epstein-Barr, and HIV/AIDS cited in the medical literature indicate that sexual behavior plays a pivotal role in the transmission of these viral infections. They further point out that psychosocial intervention in the form of strategies of behavior change can do a great deal to prevent the spread of these diseases in the general population.

Chapters two to four explore the contributions health psychologists have made to our understanding of individual susceptibility to various forms of cancer, as well as disorders of the endocrine, metabolic, and immune system. Topics discussed include the relationship of social and environmental stress to the progression of illness, psychosocial factors related to adherence to medical treatment, the effects of levels of social support on long term survival rates of people with critical illness and the relationship between behavior change and risk factors associated with disease prevention and outcome.

One of the most illustrative examples of the central relationship between psychosocial behavior and disease outcome is found in the discussion in chapter two on cancer. In this chapter Boll and his colleagues argue that the clinical evidence they have reviewed strongly suggests that there is a key interactive relationship between psychosocial factors such as life stress, depression, coping styles, and social support, and the progression and mortality rates of various forms of cancer. They point out that results from a number of qualitative and quantitative studies of cancer patients clearly indicate that the use of psychological intervention methods such as guided imagery, relaxation techniques, and group therapy and support in conjunction with medical treatment can do a lot to influence the course of the disabling impact of this disease in both adults and children.

In chapters five to ten, the authors focus on an examination of the impact of behavioral risk factors such as depression, coping, and adjustment strategies on the onset and outcome of mental disorders, diseases of the nervous system, sensory organs, digestive and respiratory disorders, nutritional disorders, and diseases of the circulatory system. The final group of chapters in the book looks at the influence of behavior upon the incidence and prevalence of diseases of the skin, rheumatic disorders, congenital disorders associated with childbirth complications, physical injury, and poisoning. Throughout the book Boll and his colleagues continuously stress the significance of the many important contributions that psychology has made to medical science's knowledge and understanding of the causes and consequences of physical and emotional illness.

In the professional opinion of this reviewer, the Handbook of Clinical Health Psychology is an excellent book that should be on the reading list of university faculty who teach graduate level courses that train rehabilitation professionals to provide clinical, social, and vocational services to diverse client populations. The book would also make an extremely useful reference for mental health professionals and vocational rehabilitation counselors working in community rehabilitation agencies who want to gain a better understanding of the psychosocial factors that affect the health status of the clients they provide clinical and vocational rehabilitation services to.

Mitchell A. Kaplan, PhD, CPSP

Research Project Manager

Institute for Education and Research on Pain and

Palliative Care

Beth Israel Medical Center, New York City
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Author:Kaplan, Mitchell A.
Publication:The Journal of Rehabilitation
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 2004
Words:799
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