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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: James J. Foody, MD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: This is a 200-page hardcover collection of nine monographs by various authors on illness prevention in patients with coronary heart disease.
Purpose: The editors want to stimulate discussion and scientific activity on the interplay of mental health, physical health, and behavioral intervention for coronary heart disease patients. Insofar as there is broad consensus that such an interplay exists, stimulating scientific activity is a worthy goal.
Audience: No reader audience is specified by the editors. Given the selection of authors and the style of writing, it is clearly targeted toward behavioral-oriented readers.
Features: There are no illustrations; there are a handful of tables and a few graphs. References seem to be pertinent, although most are from papers and books published from 1988-1990. The table of contents could have been more useful if it had divided chapters by the areas described in the foreword: (1) effects of mental health on physical health, (2) effects of physical health on mental health, (3) role of behavioral interventions on promoting health. The index is more complete with respect to finding authors cited than finding subjects.
Assessment: The heuristics of behavioral science are very different from the rest of biological science. This contrast will cause most physicians to find the discussions in this book less than rigorous. Nevertheless, prevention of illness in any group of people (those with coronary disease are addressed in this volume) is a worthy venture. Cross fertilization of behaviorism with other medical disciplines would surely benefit patients. This particular book may be used as a starting point for interested physicians and scientists to begin to access some of the knowledge base of behavioral medicine.