Developing Psychosocial Theory in Health Psychology

January 5, 2020 – 10:43 am
Health Psychology Theories and

Health psychology theories remain strongly individualistic, despite a stated commitment to the biopsychosocial paradigm. We examine some general impediments to, and strategies for, establishing health- psychology theories which have a true social dimension. These impediments stem from two sources: a style of theorizing prevalent in health psychology which we label flowcharting; and the influence of root metaphors and concepts from adjacent health sciences. Two broad strategies for combining the psychological and social in health-psychology theories are identified: integrative and transcendent. In the integrative strategy psychological constructs, such as personality and emotions, are reconstructed in a more psychosocial form. The transcendent approach involves the creation of constructs which transcend the psychosocial distinction.


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