Chronic heart disease affects more than 17 million Americans, and lifestyle and mental health problems are major contributors to the everyday burden of this disease.

In this brief yet thorough primer, Matthew Burg — an expert in the psychosocial aspects of cardiovascular medicine — provides mental health practitioners with the foundational knowledge they need to understand and work with cardiac patients.

Burg describes how psychologists can help cardiac patients adjust to their conditions, for example by changing unhealthy behaviors and coping with invasive medical interventions, including surgeries and implantable devices. He also introduces specific assessment and intervention methods that can be applied to a variety of comorbid psychological disorders, including depression, anxiety, sleep dysregulation, and sexual dysfunction.

Burg uses the palliative care model to illustrate how to provide relief to patients facing end-of-life dilemmas.

Table of Contents

Series Foreword



I. Overview of Heart Disease for the Mental Health Professional

  1. An Overview of Heart Disease for the Mental Health Professional
  2. Etiology and Sociocultural Factors Related to Heart Disease
  3. Medical Treatment of Heart Disease

II. Common Conditions Treated in Behavioral Cardiology

  1. Assessment and Treatment of Depression
  2. Assessment and Treatment of Anxiety
  3. Assessment and Treatment of Sleep Dysregulation
  4. Assessment and Treatment of Sexual Dysfunction
  5. Social Support and the Impact of Coronary Heart Disease on the Family
  6. Addressing End-of-Life Cardiac Care

III. Future Directions

  1. Integrating Psychological and Medical Aspects of Cardiac Care



About the Author

About the Series Editor

Author Bio

Matthew M. Burg, PhD, is an associate professor of medicine in the Section of Cardiovascular Medicine and of Anesthesiology at Yale University School of Medicine. He received his doctoral training at West Virginia University and postdoctoral training at Duke University Medical School.

He directs a research program in cardiovascular behavioral medicine that has had continuous funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the National Institutes of Health for 30 years. He is an elected fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine and the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, where he also serves on the Executive Council. He is a Founding Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy.

From 1986 to 2003 he was chief of the Health Psychology section at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, where he also directed the training internship and postdoctoral training programs in clinical health psychology, both accredited by APA.

He currently directs the Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine Research Program and the home-based cardiac rehabilitation program at VA Connecticut. His current grant funding from the National Institutes of Health and Department of Veterans Affairs supports research on incident cardiovascular disease risk among veterans who have served in post-9/11 conflicts and research on the pathways by which poor sleep and stress affect vascular function and hypertension risk.

Dr. Burg has published more than 125 peer-reviewed articles to date in journals including Psychosomatic Medicine, Health Psychology, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Circulation, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Molecular Medicine, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, JAMA Internal Medicine, American Heart Journal, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, and Journal of Affective Disease.

He also has published invited editorials and commentaries, along with chapters, books, and reviews that concern important topics in cardiovascular behavioral medicine.