Health Psychology

Health psychology is a branch of the science of psychology, and can be defined as the study of psychological and behavioral processes in health, illness and healthcare. It is concerned with understanding how psychological, behavioral and cultural factors are involved in physical health and illness, in addition to the biological causes that are well understood by medical science. Psychological factors can affect health directly (such as stress causing the release of hormones such as cortisol which damage the body over time) and indirectly via a person's own behavior choices which can harm or protect health (such as smoking or taking exercise). Health psychologists take a biopsychosocial approach - this means that they understand health to be the product not only of biological processes (e.g. a virus, tumour, etc.) but also of psychological processes (e.g. stress, thoughts and beliefs, behaviours such as smoking and exercise) and social processes (e.g. socioeconomic status, culture and ethnicity).

By understanding and harnessing psychological factors, health psychologists can improve health by working directly with individual patients, indirectly in large-scale public health programs, and by training healthcare professionals (e.g. physicians and nurses) to take advantage of this knowledge when working with their patients. Health psychologists work in a variety of settings: alongside other medical professionals in hospitals and clinics, in public health departments working on large-scale behavior change and health promotion programs, and in universities and medical schools where they teach and conduct research.

Although its early beginnings can be traced to the kindred field of clinical psychology, four different divisions within health psychology and one allied field have developed over time. The four divisions include clinical health psychology, public health psychology, community health psychology, and critical health psychology. The allied field is occupational health psychology. Organizations closely associated with the field of health psychology include Division 38 of the American Psychological Association, the Division of Health Psychology of the British Psychological Society, and the European Health Psychology Society.

Read more about Health Psychology:  Overview, Origins and Development, Relationship To Occupational Health Psychology, Postgraduate Programs in Health Psychology, Doctoral Programs in Health Psychology

Other articles related to "health psychology, health, psychology":

Journal Of Occupational Health Psychology
... The Journal of Occupational Health Psychology is a peer-reviewed academic journal published quarterly by the American Psychological Association ... research, theory, and public policy articles in occupational health psychology, an interdisciplinary field representing a broad range of backgrounds, interests, and ...
Shelley E. Taylor - Theoretical and Empirical Contributions - Health Psychology
... Taylor helped to found the field of health psychology in the 1980s and 1990s, together with UCLA colleague Christine Dunkel-Schetter, former Yale classmate Howard S ...
David Marks (psychologist) - Health Psychology
... In his work on health psychology Marks advocates a greater understanding of the socio-political context affecting individual behaviour (Marks et al ... approach, including the foundation of the International Society of Critical Health Psychology ... of social justice, community approaches, and arts projects for the reduction of health inequalities ...
Doctoral Programs in Health Psychology
... information on Universities in the United Kingdom with accredited Health Psychology courses, do visit the British Psychological Society website ... Universities in the United States Antioch University Seattle Doctorate in Clinical Psychology with optional concentration in health psychology, Seattle, Washington ...

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