Intradisciplinary Health Psychology

June 9, 2019 – 09:17 am

Health Psychology at Rutgers is an intradisciplinary program for training Psychology graduate students, who are enrolled in one of the four Psychology Doctoral Programs, in the conduct of research concerning physical health and disease. The emphasis is on theoretically-based empirical research aimed at increasing understanding of the mechanisms underlying the reciprocal relationships linking psychological/behavioral factors to physical health outcomes such as disease, disability, and mortality. The Program is affiliated with The Center for the Study of Health Beliefs and Behavior, which is directed by Howard Leventhal, PhD and funded by the National Institutes of Health. The Center integrates health, cognitive, and social psychology, with medicine, medical sociology, epidemiology and health policy.

Graduate training in Health Psychology covers three broad topic areas:

I. Psychophysiological processes in the initiation and progression of physical diseases: Biological mechanisms that account for disease-related effects of psychological stress, coping, social relationships, and personality. Specific areas of expertise include:

  • Autonomic activity and diseases of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems
  • Stress-related immune changes in the development of infectious disease
  • Biobehavioral factors in the genesis and progression of cancer

II. Health-promoting and health-damaging behaviors: Actions and inactions that are linked to social, psychological, and biological mechanisms involved in producing and/or preventing disease. Specific areas of expertise include:

  • Prevention/health promotion
  • Perception and communication of risk
  • Cigarette smoking, alcohol use and abuse, eating and eating disorders, immunization, and behavioral factors in cancer and heart disease


Amer Psychological Assn Psychology As a Major: Is It Right for Me and What Can I Do With My Degree?
Book (Amer Psychological Assn)
  • Draws on psychology literature
  • Experiential self-assessments for focus and decision-making
  • Gives examples of opportunities in psychology and its sub-fields

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