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From The CriticsReviewer: Richard A. Carroll, PhD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: This book consists of papers written for a scientific conference sponsored by the American Psychological Association on the topic of Emotion, Disclosure, and Health. The chapters include empirical research studies, reviews of current literature, and theoretical articles.
Purpose: The purpose is to present and synthesize the current research and theory regarding the impact of painful experiences, emotion, repression, and disclosure on physical and mental health. One of the book's strengths is that it brings together work from the fields of clinical, social, cognitive, and health psychology as well as the areas of medical anthropology and psychosomatic medicine. The topics are especially valuable because they address issues that are central to most psychological intervention, i.e., the impact of painful emotional experiences on ones health and the beneficial effects of disclosing such experiences on physical and mental health.
Audience: This book was written for both researchers in these topics and for clinicians who want to better understand the basis of their psychological interventions. Practitioners in the health fields would also find the focus on the health impacts of psychological distress. Several of the chapters would be accessible to an informed lay audience. Because the conference that preceded the book was by invitation, the authors are some of the best in their respective fields.
Features: The chapters are organized into four coherent parts. The first chapter, by the editor, presents a very good overview of the book. The tables and figures are clear and relevant.
Assessment: This book is an excellent contribution to our understanding of how people respond physically and emotionally to difficult experiences and the process by which disclosing one's internal experience of these events can lead to improved physical and mental health. It also serves as a guide to future research in these areas.