ABSTRACT This article provides a rationale for research on personality as a contnbuting factor in the development ot physical disease A bnef history of major developments from the 1930s to the present is then provided Special at-tention IS given to shifts in conception regarding whether particular dispositions are related to specific physical disorders or whether these dispositions increase general illness susceptibility The paper ends with a bnef onentation to the other papers and commentanes in this special issue