Chapter 24Complementary Strengths of Health Psychology and Positive Psychology


Authors' Note. Dr. Salsman's effort on this publication was supported in part by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under award number K07CA158008. Dr. Moskowitz's effort was supported in part by K24MH093225. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

The prevalence of serious chronic illnesses that can be attributed largely to behavioral factors (e.g., type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer) has continued to increase over the past decade. One commonly cited estimate is that by 2020, 157 million Americans, approximately 45% of the total U.S. population, will be living with at least one chronic illness (Wu & Green, 2000). Given that chronic illness affects not only patients but also their families, friends, and caregivers, it is clear that health psychologists will be increasingly challenged to address the needs of all the individuals who are affected by the stress of chronic illness.

Over the past decade, the science of positive psychology has seen a burgeoning growth as researchers have explored components of well-being and factors predictive of resilience and human flourishing. Advances in management of the negative impact of acute and chronic health conditions have led to improved symptom management and quality of life, ...

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