Selected Health Psychology

Research Findings

An Overview Of Biopsychosocial Disorders:

Conceptualization, Assessment And Treatment

Behavioral Treatment of Diabetes

Being diagnosed with diabetes means that you will need to eat differntly for the rest of your life. This is a major behavioral change, not just for the patient, but often for the family as well. Does the patient eat differently than everyone else (and somebody prepares two different meals), or does the whole family change the way they eat?

Not suprisingly, behavioral treatment has been shown to be an important aspect of effective diabetes control, and this is illlustrated in the following articles:

Steed, L., Cooke, D., & Newman, S. (2003). A systematic review of psychosocial outcomes following education, self-management and psychological interventions in diabetes mellitus. Patient Education & Counseling, 51(1), 5-15.

Norris, S., Zhang, X., Avenell, A., Gregg, E., Bowman, B., Serdula, M., et al. (2004). Long-term effectiveness of lifestyle and behavioral weight loss interventions in adults with type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis. American Journal of Medicine, 117(10), 762-774

Winkley, K., Landau, S., Eisler, I., & Ismail, K. (2006). Psychological interventions to improve glycaemic control in patients with type 1 diabetes: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 333(7558)

Ciechanowski, P. S., Katon, W. J., & Russo, J. E. (2000). Depression and diabetes: impact of depressive symptoms on adherence, function, and costs. Arch Intern Med, 160(21), 3278-3285.

Icks, A., Rathmann, W., Haastert, B., Gandjour, A., Holle, R., John, J., et al. (2007). Clinical and cost-effectiveness of primary prevention of Type 2 diabetes in a 'real world' routine healthcare setting: model based on the KORA Survey 2000 (Structured abstract), Diabetic Medicine (pp. 473-480).

Stress and Heart Disease

A number of studies have underscored the relationship between stress and heart disease. Dr. James A. Blumenthal and other researchers at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina studied 107 patients with coronary vessel disease and ischemia. It was found that those patients who learned stress management had a lower risk of a future heart attack or of needing cardiac surgery than those who underwent exercise training or those who received standard cardiac rehabilitation care. The stress management training involved weekly group therapy sessions that taught the patients about the relationships between stress and heart disease. After a four month course of stress management training, patients were followed for five years.

The results found that overall the stress management group exhibited a 74% reduction in cardiac events. This consisted of death, heart surgery, angioplasty or myocardial infarction. Stress management training was also found to be associated with improvement in blood fat profiles and reduced ischemia.

SOURCE: Blumenthal JA, Jiang W, Babyak MA, Krantz DS, Frid DJ, Coleman RE, Waugh R, Hanson M, Appelbaum M, O'Connor C, Morris JJ. Stress management and exercise training in cardiac patients with myocardial ischemia. Effects on prognosis and evaluation of mechanisms. Arch Intern Med. 1997 Oct 27;157(19):2213-23.


In another study, Dr. Thomas W. Kamarck of the University of Pittsburgh linked extreme increases in blood pressure resulting from mental stress was found to be associated with a thickening of the carotid arteries which feed blood to the brain. These findings suggest that frequent and prolonged periods of high blood pressure during mental stress may increase the risk of a buildup of fatty deposits in blood vessels that could trigger heart attacks and strokes.

Dr. Kamarck and his team used difficult mental tasks to raise the stress level of subjects, and observed blood pressure and heart rate increases which varied from person to person. Later, the researchers obtained ultrasound images of their carotid arteries. Thickening of the carotid walls indicated atherosclerosis in these arteries and suggested that this disease occurs in other blood vessels as well.

The results found that increased cardiac reactivity to stress was associated with greater carotid artery wall thickness. This in turn is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Kamarck TW, Everson SA, Kaplan GA, Manuck SB, Jennings JR, Salonen R, Salonen JT. Exaggerated blood pressure responses during mental stress are associated with enhanced carotid atherosclerosis in middle-aged Finnish men: findings from the Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Study. Circulation. 1997 Dec 2;96(11):3842-8.

Noteworthy Health Psychology Research Findings


Reactive Disorders


Somatoform Disorders



Psychophysiological Disorders




View Research Factoids

Poster & Paper Presentations

Sleep Dimensions - APS 2011

Sleep Factors - APS 2011

Presurgical Block Score Norms - AAPM 2012

Presurgical Block Score Reliability - AAPM 2012

PTI and Clinical Concerns - AAPM 2013

PTI Norms - AAPM 2013

Predictors of Homicidal and Suicidal Ideation in Acute and Chronic Pain Patients - APS 2010

Predictors for Six Forms of Suicidality in Chronic Pain Patients - APS 2010

Pain Intolerance and Adverse Outcomes in Chronic Pain Patients - APS ????

Psychological Profiles of Rehab Patients Reporting Childhood Sexual Abuse - Paper - APA 1998

Psychological Profiles of Rehab Patients Reporting Childhood Sexual Abuse - Poster - APA 1998

Violent Ideation in Medical Patients in Four Insurance Systems - Paper - APA 1998

Violent Ideation in Medical Patients in Four Insurance Systems - Poster -APA 1998

Comparison of Two BHI Measures of Faking - APA 2000

0-10 Pain Scale Complaints for Head Injury and Orthopedic Patients - APA 2000

Biopsychosocial Law and Healthcare Reform - APA 2012

Three Methods of Presurgical Psychological Evaluation - APA 2012

Anger Constructs in Acute and Chronic Pain Patients vs. Community Patients - AAPM 2011

Examination of Symptom Clusters in Acute and Chronic Pain Patients - AAPM 2011

Is Endorsement of Preference of Death Over Disability Associated with Suicidality in Chronic Pain Patients? - AAPM 2011

Predictors for Six Forms of Suicidality in Patients with Acute and Chronic Pain - AAPM 2011

Clinical Predictors of Delayed Sleep Onset in Rehabilitation Patients - APA Division 22, 2012

Standardizing an Evidence Based Method for Presurgical Psychological Evaluation - SBM 2013

Lasting Effects of Childhood Maltreatment: Validation of a Biopsychosocial Model - APA 2012

Clinical Predictors of Compensation Focus - WIP 2012

Standardizing Den Boer's Criteria - WIP 2012

Reliability of Den Boer's Criteria - WIP 2012

Diagnosis Specific Norms for the 0-10 Pain Scale - World Congress on Pain 1999


Barsky, A. J. & Borus, J. F. (1995). Somatization and medicalization in the era of managed care. Journal of the American Medical Association, 27(24),1931-4

Bigos, S. J. & Battié, M. C. (1991). Industrial back pain complaints: A broader perspective. Orthopedic Clinics of North America, 22(2), 273-282.

Blumenthal, S. J., Matthews, K., & Weiss, S. M. (1994). New research frontiers and behavioral medicine: Proceedings of the national conference. (NIH Publication No. 94-3772). Washington DC: U.S. Printing Office.

Bruns, D. and Disorbio, J. M. (2003). Manual for the Battery for Health Improvement 2. Minneapolis: National Computer Systems.

Cummings N. A. & VandenBos, G. R. (1981). The twenty years of Kaiser-Permanente experience with psychotherapy and medical utilization: implications for national health policy and national health insurance. Health Policy Quarterly, 1(2), 159-175.

DeBellis, M. D., Chrousos, G.P., Dorn, L. D., Burke, L., Helmers, K., Cling, N. A., Trickett, P. K., & Putnam, F. W. (1994). Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis disregulation in sexually abused girls. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 78, 249-255.

DeBellis, M. D., Lester, L., Trickett, P. K., & Putnam, F. W. (1994). Urinary catecholamine excretions in sexually abused girls. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 33, 320-327.

Ford, C. V. (1983). The somatizing disorders: Illness as a way of life. New York: Elsevier Biomedical.

Fordyce. (1988). Pain and suffering: A reappraisal. American Psychologist, 43(4), 276-283.

Fordyce, W. E., Bigos, S. J., Battié, M. C., & Fisher, L. D. (1992). MMPI scale 3 as a predictor of back injury report: What does it tell us? The Clinical Journal of Pain, 8(3), 222-226.

Gatchel, R. J. , Polatin, P.B. & Mayer, T.G. (1995). The dominant role of psychosocial risk factors in the development of chronic low back pain disability. Spine, 15;20(24):2702-9

Kisler, S., & Finholt, T. (1988). The mystery of RSI. American Psychologist, 43(12), 1004-1015.

Naliboff, B. D., Cohen, M. J., Yellenan. (1982). Does the MMPI differentiate chronic illness from chronic pain? Pain, 13, 333-341.

Ormel, J., Koeter, M. W., van den Brink, J., & van de Willige, W. (1991). Recognition management and course of anxiety and depression in general practice. Archives of General Psychiatry, 48, 700-706.

Ormel, J., VonKorff, M., Ustun, T. B., Pini, S., Korten, A., & Oldehinkel, T. (1994). Common mental disorders and disability across cultures: Results from the WHO collaborative study on psychological problems in general health care. Journal of the American Medical Association, 272(22), 1741-1748.

Quill, T. E., (1985). Somatization Disorder: One of medicine's blind spots. Journal of the American Medical Association, 254: 3075-3079.

Rohling, M. L., Binder, L. M. & Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J. (1995). Money matters: A meta-analytic review of the association between financial compensation and the experience and treatment of chronic pain. Health Psychology,14(6):537-47

Schofferman, J., Anderson, D., Hines, R., Smith, G., & White, A. (1992). Childhood psychological trauma correlates with unsuccessful lumbar spine surgery. Spine 17,(6 Suppl), 138-144.

Waddell, G. (1987). Volvo Award in Clinical Sciences. A new clinical model for the treatment of low-back pain. Spine, 12(7), 632-644.

Wiggins, J. G. (1994) Would you want your child to be a psychologist? American Psychologist, 49,(6), 485-492


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