Health Psychology in the News: A critique of Mind Over Cancer by Rebecca A. Clay and Richard M. Suinn
July 23, 2007
Health Psychology in the News
As cancer affects a substantial portion of the world’s population, the article Mind Over Cancer discusses a topic that is relevant to virtually everyone. Chances are, at some point in life, every single one of us will either develop cancer or know someone who does. For this reason, education about cancer is beneficial for a variety of reasons. Increasing our knowledge about the nature of the disease, prevention, treatment, and coping methods for not only those affected but also friends and family may alleviate some of the stress and anxiety associated with cancer. Mind Over Cancer talks about the role psychology has to play in the duration of the disease, and improving quality of life. (Clay & Suinn, 2000).
While the concept of health psychology has been around for quite some time now, research in this area is becoming increasingly well-known (Montgomery, 2004). The article outlines how certain psychological treatments may help cancer patients live longer. In one study, regular sessions of group therapy proved to increase life span after diagnosis for more than one year. Unfortunately, consistent results with future studies were unobtainable (Clay & Suinn, 2000). However, other research does seem to find a link between emotional expression among cancer patients and their mortality. Derogatis (1986) found that depression was highly correlated with cancer mortality. This is consistent with the research on the effects of group therapy because people who participate in group therapy are encouraged to discuss their feelings, not hide anxieties, and openly work through any problems. Patients troubled with depression likely withdraw from others and internalize their stress. Blumberg, West, and Ellis (1954) made a similar discovery that women with breast cancer had a...