The purpose of this qualitative descriptive research study was to delineate the perspectives held by medical experts on the meaning and significance of imagery. Thirteen doctorate-prepared experts, including clinicians, educators, and researchers, were surveyed via email and asked basic demographic information and their responses to five open-ended questions. The questions were designed to elicit the experts' perceptions regarding their definition of imagery; the significance of imagery to health; the role of imagery in the experts' professional practices; and the potential relationships that exist between imagery and psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), and imagery and the learning domains.
Literature from systems theory provided the conceptual framework for this study and a philosophical approach influenced the research design. The study utilized a manual content analysis to identify themes that best described the experts' perspectives. The following three themes emerged: (a) Imagery is a complex construct comprised of both structural and process components which are interconnected via a complex communication system, which responds, directs, and transmits the flow of information within the individual and also between the individual and the environment. (b) The structural component of imagery is multisensorial, multifaceted, and it influences and is influenced by the learning and health domains resulting in the potential for both positive and adverse effects on health. (c) When imagery's process component is used and directed in a goal-oriented, purposeful, intention-driven way, desired outcomes can be achieved in the psychophysiological domains of health.
The purpose of seeking the experts' perspectives on the meaning and significance of imagery was to gain a better understanding of imagery's role in influencing health. Expanded perspectives were sought because health-risk behaviors are contributing to the rising prevalence of chronic disease in America, which in turn, supports a costly medical model of disease-management rather than one that promotes health. It was concluded that maximizing positive imagery could not only be a potential mechanism for addressing the issues related to chronic disease, but also an effective way to improve the health of the nation.
|Commitee:||Moss, Donald, Willmarth, Eric K.|
|Department:||Mind Body Medicine|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-B 76/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Psychobiology, Alternative Medicine, Public health|
|Keywords:||Chronic disease, Guided imagery, Health, Hypnosis, Imagery, Systems theory|
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