Edited by Alexander-Stamatios G. Antoniou and Cary L. Cooper
Chapter 30: The Role of Emotions in Cardiovascular Disorders
Juan José Miguel-Tobal and Héctor González-Ordi Emotions and health In the mid-19th century, three-ﬁfths of deaths occurring in developed countries were due to infectious diseases. Since then, the improvements in sanitary conditions, life habits, medical developments, water and food care treatments, public programmes for immunization, prevention and environmental control and so on have provided a considerable decrease in such deaths (Terris, 1980). However other diseases have replaced them, occupying the top rankings of mortality causes. These diseases are the cardiovascular diseases, cancer and, more recently, immune and chronic degenerative diseases, which can be considered as diseases related to behaviour and individual life style. During the 1960s health professionals became aware of the importance of prevention in such diseases and the need to transform the traditional medical view with the biopsychosocial model, which takes into account, in addition to biological factors, psychological and social factors in the onset and maintenance of diseases. Regardless of the model used, the commonly named ‘negative’ emotions, such as anxiety, stress, anger or depression, have undoubtedly reached the level of core variables to be researched, treated or controlled in the new concept of health. Additionally the role of negative emotions as risk factors in the development and maintenance of these diseases is becoming well established (Martínez Sánchez and Fernández Castro, 1994; Matthews et al., 1998; Miguel-Tobal, 2000; Miguel-Tobal and Casado, 1994, 1999; Suinn, 2001). Emotional reactions such as anxiety, anger or sadness present physiological correlates as a result of complex...
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