Originally published in 1984, the study of psychological aspects of health was a rapidly expanding enterprise. Most of the contributors to this volume were trained as social psychologists or by social psychologists. Some have been more applied in their focus or on the edge of several fields. All, however, share a common approach, focusing on the individual as he or she is buffeted about by social forces and copes with these forces. All consider situational and psychological factors in the determination of behavior, emotion, or cognition and all apply their expertise to the study of health-related issues.
The grouping of the chapters in this volume by the authors’ subspecialty, social psychology, is a somewhat unconventional method of clustering. Ordinarily, the materials presented here would be published in journals or texts concerned with behavior or psychosocial in health and medicine, or in specialty publications dealing with a particular disease or health issue. That clustering of articles is functional in providing information to those most likely to utilize it, but it diffuses the origin and background of the studies. These chapters speak to the diversity of health issues that are amenable to successful social psychological analysis.