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The Influence of Communication on Physiology and Health

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Edited By James M. Honeycutt, Chris R. Sawyer and Shaughan Keaton

There is a significant amount of research that substantiates the connection between social support/relationships and the development, onset, and/or recovery of several physical diseases/illnesses. Research has shown, for example, that an unhappy marriage can increase the likelihood of becoming ill by 35% while stressful communication can lead to an increase in cardiovascular reactivity which in turn increases the risk of coronary heart disease and premature mortality.
This volume provides a comprehensive overview of the influences of communication on physiology and physical health status occurring in a variety of contexts, from families, interpersonal relationships, and public speaking to sport fandom, affection, fear, and the escalation of conflict. It offers a broad and up-to-date review of the relevant literature in this area of study.
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Introduction by James M. Honeycutt

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Introduction

James M. Honeycutt

The purpose of this book is to examine physiological studies of communication and effects on physical and mental health. We examine physiological measures in a variety of contexts, including families, interpersonal relationships, public speaking, sport fandom, fear, stress, neurology, and escalation of conflict. Early research has revealed that unhappy marriages can increase the likelihood that individuals become ill by 35% and shorten life span by an average of four years (Gottman & Silver, 1999).

There is a significant amount of research that substantiates the connection between social support/relationships (and the quality of social support/relationships) and development, onset, and/or recovery of several physical diseases/illnesses. For example, lack of effective social support and interpersonal relationships has been linked with conditions such as heart disease (Glynn, Christenfeld, & Gerin, 1999; Steptoe, Lundwall, & Cropley, 2000), different forms of cancer (Goodwin, Hunt, & Samet, 1987), epilepsy (Langfitt, Wood, Brand, & Erba, 1999),inflammatory bowel disease (Vaughn, Leff, & Sarner, 1999), and arthritis (Prigerson, Maciejewski, & Rosenheck, 1999). Stressful marital interactions lead to an increase in cardiovascular reactivity, which in turn increases the risk of coronary heart disease and premature mortality (Smith, Glazer, Ruiz, & Gallo, 2004).

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