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Of Distress and Well-being ss

Subrabhika Maheshwari

By Ajit K. Dalal  and Girishwar Misra
Sage Publications, Delhi, 2012, pp. 484, Rs.995.00


Acollection of papers in the area of health psychology, this book offers the reader a ready reference on the Indian researches and literature in the field. The book explores Indian writings on various aspects of distress, well-being and health. As one goes through the book, one wonders what might have taken so long for this book to get published? Most articles are reprints of works writ-ten between 1989 and 2004; even among the contributions marked as ‘New Papers’ which have been ‘specially commissioned’ for this book are articles which are based on works that may be over a decade old. Namita Pande and Radha Krishna Naidu’s paper titled ‘Anasakti and Health: An Empirical Study of Anasakti (Non-attachment)’ has reflections of the one published in a Sage Journal—Psychology and Developing Societies in September 1992. Another paper on Psychotherapy and Indian Thought by Alok Pandey is based on his paper presented at a conference on Indian Psychology in Pondicherry in 2004. Sage published an edited volume on New Directions in Indian Psychology, Volume 1: Social Psychology in 2002 and this work by the same editors seems a continuation in that series albeit it comes ten years later! The book is well organized, divided into pertinent sections—encompassing both theo-retical and research papers. The first section on Conceptual Foundations explicates the theoretical positioning. In this section and through-out the book the focus of Health Psychology is extended to explore not just Mental illness but also Mental Health, Psycho-social well-being and happiness. The editors in the introduction stress the importance of social support systems, hope, optimism and happiness in the achieve-ment and maintenance of health. R. Srinivasa Murthi explores the history of theoretical debates in understanding psychological illness, the role played by life stresses and support system on psychological well-being; he enlists the various factors that places individuals in an ‘at risk’ position for mental health problems. Further, Murthi gives an account of the con-tribution of Indian philosophy and research in the area of Mental Health. M.N. Palsane and David J. Lam bring together the Indian and Chinese theorizations on stress and coping which shows the shared eastern conceptualizations and diversities and their essential differences with the western (specifically American) model of stress. In the article on the role of religion and the aftermath of its breakdown, Durganand Sinha examines the physical, psychological and social meaning of the term well-being. Drawing from various Indian texts the paper ...

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