Health Psychology

Topics: Psychology, Health psychology, Clinical psychology Pages: 7 (2225 words) Published: November 5, 2013
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Health Psychology (also known under the terms “behavioral medicine” and “medical psychology”) is the aggregate of the specific educational, scientific, and professional contributions of the discipline of psychology to the promotion and maintenance of health, the prevention and treatment of illness, and the identification of etiologic and diagnostic correlates of health, illness, and related dysfunction, and to the analysis and improvement of the health care system and health policy formation. A health psychologist primarily cares and focuses on ways to better the lives of the individual(s) with a terminal illness while providing health behavioral tips to reduce the risk of additive exposure.

The bio-psychosocial model (BPS) is a general model or approach that posits that biological, psychological (which entails thoughts, emotions, and behaviors), and social factors, all play a significant role in the human functioning in the context of disease or illness. The BPS model is utilized in health psychology when viewing additional factors that can also modify one's health in a positive or negative way. Some of the major factors viewed are family relationships, culture, social conditions, lifestyles, and stressors. In health psychology there are four different divisions of study and one allied field of study. The four divisions are clinical health psychology, public health psychology, community health psychology, and critical health psychology; with the allied field being in occupational health psychology.

Clinical health psychology, which is the first division listed primarily focuses on physical health problems, education, psychotherapy, along with the development of knowledge regarding the overlap between behavior and health. The second division called public health psychology is directed towards the population along with at-risk groups such as the undereducated and single pregnant women who smoke. The major purpose under public health psychology is to investigate potential casual links between psychosocial factors and health at the population level. When the investigation is complete the public health psychologist will provide the research results to educators, policy holders, and health care

providers in order to encourage finer public health.
The third division is community health psychology; which investigates community factors that contribute to the health and well-being of individuals who live in communities. It also develops community level interventions that are designed to combat disease and encourage physical and mental health. The community often serves as the level of analysis, and is oftentimes sought as a partner in health related interventions. The last division is Critical health psychology. This division is concerned with the distribution of power and the impact of power differentials on health experience and behavior, health care systems, and health policy. The major concern was health inequality; which is why social justice and the universal right to health for people of all races, genders, ages, and socioencomic positions was prioritized.

Under the allied division of health psychology; an occupational health psychologist is concerned with the psychosocial characteristics in the workplaces that contribute to the development of health-related problems in people who work. This field provides effective workplace changes that benefit workers health without adversely hurting productivity. Within the different divisions of health psychology there are various health care professionals that health psychologists work with such as physicians, nurses, dietitians, social workers, and occupational therapist just to name a few.

Health psychology has only been around for about forty years and while this field is still developing it has grown into a leading scientific and clinical field of study. The foundation of health science was derived from different facets of...
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