The Evolution of Health Psychology: Science and Direction

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Abstract

Reviews the book, Foundations of Health Psychology, edited by Howard S. Friedman and Roxane Cohen Silver (see record 2006-12208-000). This book provides an advanced review of the history, some core concepts, and a few examples of applications in the emerging field of health psychology. It is highly rigorous and written by many of the leaders of health psychology. It provides more than a definition of health psychology and its evolution. It also acknowledges related fields and offers comparisons to health psychology, including a review of its common historical roots with related disciplines such as medical psychology, clinical psychology, medical sociology, medical anthropology, epidemiology, public health, psychosomatic medicine, psychiatry, and the development of the biopsychosocial model. It also discusses behavioral medicine as an umbrella term, which is a helpful way to corral a virtual Venn diagram of overlapping fields that all focus on multifactorial understanding of human health. Emphasis is placed on the empirical foundation and nature of health psychology. A clear focus is maintained on scientific understanding of the biopsychosocial model, not just applying general psychological principles to medical issues and medical populations. This book describes the field of health psychology as scientifically documenting a systematic approach to testing and defining the way psychological factors affect health through interplay with social and biological factors. Finally, this book identifies and itself struggles with a primary challenge to health psychology–its diversity of approaches and areas of study. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)

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