Psychological Stress and Autoimmune Disease


Book Section

© 2002 by Oxford University Press, Inc. All rights reserved. This chapter looks at diseases which result not from a hypoactive immune system but rather from an immune system functioning in an exaggerated or uncontrolled fashion. This is seen in autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, Graves's disease, multiple sclerosis, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, lupus erythematosus, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, and a host of other disorders which arise when an overactive immune system attacks normal healthy tissue. Religious beliefs and practices (from Buddhist to Judeo-Christian traditions) may help reduce stress by improving coping and thereby favorably affect the course of these diseases. Religious beliefs may facilitate coping by providing patients with a greater "sense of coherence" which makes sense of or gives meaning to the pain and suffering which these people experience.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Koenig, HG; Cohen, HJ

Published Date

  • April 1, 2010

Book Title

  • The Link Between Religion and Health: Psychoneuroimmunology and the Faith Factor

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9780195143607

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195143607.003.0011

Citation Source

  • Scopus