Psychosocial factors in marital and family relationships associated with physical illness: a case for collaborative health care
In the diagnosis and treatment of physical illness, limited attention is given to psychosocial factors related to the etiology, pathogenesis, and treatment of symptoms. Over the past thirty years, however, practitioners have increasingly begun to acknowledge the importance of psychosocial factors to the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of apparently biomedical symptoms. DSM-IV alludes to psychological factors affecting a person's medical condition, and thereby infers an association between the factors and physical illness. Understanding the connection between biomedical and coexisting mental symptoms may provide new cues to a more accurate diagnosis and treatment of organic as well as mental disorders. This dissertation is an exploratory analysis of relationships between psychosocial factors and apparently biomedical illness. Patients treated in health care agencies are surveyed for their experience of treatment. Marital and family therapy is suggested as an appropriate modality in the delivery of health care. Patients may benefit from a biopsychosocial approach to treatment for many apparently general medical conditions, both acute and chronic.