Health psychology is a discipline that considers the various psychological foundations of physical illness, including emotional, mental, social, and behavioral factors. In some instances, these factors may cause a physical illness while in other situations they may be the result of a physical illness. Either way, health psychology is interested in exploring the interplay between the psychological and physical realms.
Health psychology is not so concerned with the actual ailment with which a person is afflicted. Rather, it focuses on the biopsychosocial factors related to physical and mental health. To provide an example, a health psychologist might examine the psychological factors underlying a person’s addiction to nicotine. While there are certainly physical factors involved in addiction, health psychology is more interested in the psychological processes of reward, stress relief, habit, and conditioning that drive and perpetuate addiction.
Health psychology is similarly concerned with the delivery of health care services. This encompasses a wide array of activities, from improving the channels of communication between health care providers and patients to working with patients to prepare them for major surgeries. There is also a strong advocacy component to health psychology, with particular attention paid to improving access to healthcare for poor, minority, and elderly populations.
What are the Four Branches of Health Psychology?
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