Psychosocial Factors, Immunity, and Wound Healing
This chapter reviews the work of Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, Ron Glaser and others who have investigated the effects of psychological stress and social support on immune functioning and wound healing. This area of research is of particular importance because of its potentially wide clinical application. If either individual or group support has an impact on immune function, the public health implications would be enormous. Likewise if psychological stress affects wound healing in a clinically significant way, then stress-reducing interventions before and after surgical operations might significantly affect the speed of post-surgical recovery. This chapter also explores how such research advances may help inform future studies of the relationship between religion and health and proposes a number of research avenues to pursue. If religious involvement enhances social support and reduces stress, then investigations which explore the relationship between religion and immunity, wound healing and post-surgical recovery, may be worth pursuing.
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