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Intro to Cardiac Psychology

CE Credit: 3

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Length: 3 hours

This program is part of the series Heart and Mind: Contemporary Issues in Cardiac Psychology.

An enormous database informs the field known variously as cardiac psychology, behavioral cardiology, and psychocardioloy. A PubMed search of the terms “stress and cardiovascular disease” currently yields more than 55,000 citations. This workshop will distill the epidemiology on the “big three” psychosocial risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD): depression, social isolation, and anger/hostility. CHD is the leading cause of death and disability in the United States and the industrialized Western World. Newer putative risk factors for CHD will also be discussed, such as posttraumatic stress disorder, vital exhaustion, and job strain. Cardiac denial, the tendency to minimize or outright deny the significance of cardiac symptoms, is an important barrier to effective treatment for myocardial infarction (heart attack), and will also be discussed. Special issues related to women, minorities, and lower socioeconomic status will be presented. In contrast to the vast database linking psychosocial factors for CHD, there have been astonishingly few clinical trials. The trials that have been undertaken will be described, particularly with regard to efficacy, as will future directions for the field.

Learning Objective 1
Gain a basic understanding of the vast epidemiologic research informing cardiac psychology.

Learning Objective 2
Describe the clinical trials in cardiac psychology as well as some of the complex issues involved in conducting such trials.

Learning Objective 3
Describe the avenues for developing practice in cardiac psychology.

Presenter: Robert Allan,  PhD


Supplementary Materials

  • Heart and Mind: Cardiac Psychology