While it may not be sufficient, belief in one’s own ability to recover from serious illness certainly appears to be an important factor. I recently came across an interesting 2004 article by Stanford psychologist Alfred Bandura, Ph.D., in which he argues convincingly that:
“Belief in one’s efficacy to exercise control is a common pathway through which psychosocial influences affect health functioning. This core belief affects each of the basic processes of personal change—whether people even consider changing their health habits, whether they mobilize the motivation and perseverance needed to succeed should they do so, their ability to recover from setbacks and relapses, and how well they maintain the habit changes they have achieved.”
I know that my own recovery from a paralyzing stroke centered on my belief that I had the power to influence my health, and every patient I interviewed for my Own Your Health book said the same thing. Belief may not always work, but it sure gives us a fighting chance! Here is the citation for Bandura’s article, which is called “Health Promotion by Social Cognitive Means.” Health Education & Behavior, Vol. 31, No. 2, 143-164 (2004) DOI: 10.1177/1090198104263660.© 2004 Society for Public Health Education.