Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952576 | Print ISBN: 9780761923602 | Online ISBN: 9781412952576| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Asthma and Stress
Rosalind J. Wright
Although consensus has emerged from the clinical, social science, psychological, and biological literature that psychosocial factors affect asthma morbidity, their role in the asthma remains controversial since mechanisms are not well understood. This entry highlights significant insights into this field from a multidisciplinary perspective rather than being an exhaustive overview of the subject. Behavioral, neural, and immunologic pathways are examined, underscoring reciprocal relations that might link psychological factors to both the onset of asthma and exacerbation of established disease. Early references to the importance of emotional and psychological processes were put forth in a treatise on asthma by Maimonides, an influential medieval rabbi, philosopher, and physician. Sir William Osler referred to asthma as “a neurotic affection” in his medical textbook, which served as a cornerstone of medical teaching in the latter part of the 19th century. Indeed, before we understood the inflammatory basis of asthma, it was among the disorders ...