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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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Preface by Gary Kreps

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Preface

Gary L. Kreps, Ph.D., George Mason University

It has often been asserted by both scholars and health practitioners that communication is an integral process in the delivery of care and the promotion of health. However, up until now, there has been only limited and fragmented presentations of empirical evidence that indelibly linked communication processes to specific and critical health outcomes. “The Influence of Communication on Physiology and Health” fills this gap in the health literature by contributing to validation of profound physiological influences of human communication on key physical health outcomes in three major areas:

• The influences of human communication on functioning of the heart (cardiovascular studies);

• The influences of human communication on functioning of the immune system and blood flow (immunological and hematological studies);

• The influences of human communication on functioning of the brain and the nervous system (neurological studies).

The evidence provided in all three of these areas of the book is compelling and clearly illustrates the powerful influences of human communication on critically important health outcomes.

This important book not only makes significant contributions to the literature by clearly demonstrating connections between communication and physiological processes, but it also suggests the value of strategic communication intervention to enhance delivery of health care and promotion of health. I was particularly moved by the powerful chapters in the book concerning the influences of affection and stress on health outcomes. The evidence...

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