Psychosocial factors play an important role in the etiology and course of rheumatic diseases. In this chapter, we introduce concepts that may aid the reader in understanding the relationship. Psychosocial challenges and physiological mechanisms involved in rheumatic disease manifestations may be best understood within the conceptual framework of stress and the individual response to stress. It has become increasingly evident that psychosocial factors are essential to understanding who is most affected by illness and other stressors, as well as when they are most vulnerable. We end the chapter with a discussion of resilience, as it important to acknowledge the capacities of individuals to cope successfully with their illness.
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