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PSY-352: health psychology course reflects psychology’s growing interest in health-related issues by offering an overview of health psychology from a biopsychosocial model. Topics include theories related to health behavior, stress, pain development and management, in addition to patient adherence. Furthermore, the discussion explores cancer and chronic illness development and management. A review of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), the hospital setting, and effects on patients are examined. Finally, the course examines health-related behaviors such as substance abuse, nutrition, and exercise.

PSY-352: Health Psychology

What is health psychology?

Health psychology is concerned with the psychology of a range of health-related behaviors, including healthy eating, the doctor-patient relationship, a patient’s understanding of health information, and beliefs about illness. In short, it is an area of specialty that concentrates on how biology, psychology, behavior, and social factors influence health and illness. Thus, this means that health psychologists study the factors that allow people to be healthy, recover from an illness or cope with a chronic condition. These professionals work in between health and behavior and are in demand as a part of the integrated health care delivery systems. Therefore, they work with other doctors to offer whole-some person health care.

Health psychology can also be referred to as general psychology, medical psychology, and behavioral psychology.

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Branches of health psychology.

Clinical Health psychology (CIHP).

Clinical health psychology refers to the application of scientific knowledge, derived from the field of health psychology, to clinical questions that may arise across the spectrum of healthcare. This area of specialty focuses on the prevention and treatment of health problems. Clinical psychologists are professionals who specialize in clinical health psychology. Clinical practice includes education on mechanisms of behavior change and psychotherapy.

Public health psychology (PHP).

Public health psychology (PHP) is population-oriented, investigating potential causal links between psychosocial factors and health at the population level.  They present research results on epidemiological findings related to health behaviors to educators, policymakers, and health care providers in order to promote public health initiatives for at-risk groups. Public health psychologists are professionals who specialize in this field.

Community health psychology (CoHP).

Community health psychology (CoHP) examines community factors that contribute to the health and well-being of individuals in their communities. In addition, community health psychology also develops community-level interventions. They combat disease and promote physical and mental health. Individuals who have specialized in this field are called community health psychologists.

Critical health psychology (CrHP).

Critical health psychology (CrHP) is concerned with the distribution of power and the impact of power differentials on health experience and behavior, healthcare systems, and health policy. It prioritizes social justice and the universal right to good health for people of all races, genders, ages, and socioeconomic positions. A major concern is health inequality, and the critical health psychologist acts as an agent of change working to create equal access to healthcare. Critical health psychologists are the professionals of this specialty.


Where do health psychologists work?

Health psychologists use their expertise such as oncology, pain management, rehabilitation and smoking cessation in various health care settings. The following are some of the health care settings that they work in:

  • Private hospitals and primary care programs,
  • Schools such as universities, high schools and other units.
  • Corporations,
  • Government agencies and specialty practices.

What are the objectives of health psychology?

There are eight main objectives of health psychology. They include the following:

  1. Comprehending behavioral and contextual factors for health and illness
  2. Preventing illness
  3. Investigating the effects of disease
  4. Offering critical analyses of health policies
  5. Conducting research on prevention of and intervention in health problems
  6. Improving doctor-patient communication
  7. Improving adherence to medical advice
  8. Finding treatments to manage pain.


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