Send to

Choose Destination
Compr Ther. 1994;20(4):232-8.

Critical life events and the onset of illness.

Author information

University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston 77030.


What can we conclude from these studies? One fact seems certain: there is no simple connection between life events and illness. Whether we get sick from an infection or a negative life experience depends on more than a germ or stress. All disease is multifactorial, and the resources that help protect us have much to do with our sense of support and control over our lives. What happens in our endocrine system and to our immune response is a function of what is going on inside our heads and hearts--the meanings we give to events and the feelings we have about them. Skeptics have long doubted these tenets. However, emerging evidence increasingly dispels these doubts and has replaced them with a biopsychosocial model based on psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). Indeed, Cousins described PNI as "the new science of medicine." To date, more than a dozen academic medical centers in the United States have PNI research programs and the list is growing. With expanded scientific study of the mind-body connection, people in general will come to recognize that whether they become ill is not always a matter of chance, but to a considerable extent something under their own control.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center