What are the goals of Health Psychology?

To understand Goals of Health Psychology we need to understand few key terms What is psychology? what are goals of psychology? What is health psychology?  and what are goals of Health psychology?


What is psychology?

Ciccarelli & Meyer,2006 defined psychology as, “the scientific study of behavior and mental processes.”

Psychology is the science of human and animal behaviour. It includes the application of this science to human problems. (Morgan et al., 1986)

what are goals of psychology?

The four different goals of psychology with numbers. They are:

  1. Describe: To observe and gather information to understand the way the brain works and to know what is happening.
  2. Explain: To find the causes and reasons for the observed behavior and to conduct experiments to ensure that the behavior is not random.
  3. Predict: To form hypotheses and look for patterns in behavior and to anticipate how that behavior will appear again in the future.
  4. Control: To influence or change behavior for the better by understanding, explaining, and predicting it. read more

What is health psychology?

Taylor refers Health psychology is to understanding psychological influences on how people stay healthy, why they become ill, and how they respond when they do get ill.

Ghosh (2015) defines health psychology as “a scientific field that applies psychological theory and methods to the study of health and tries to explain the entire range of behaviour from illness to wellness’’.

What are goals of Health psychology?

As stated by Josepth Matarazzon, the major goals of health psychology include,

  1. Promotion and maintenance of health,
  2. Prevention and treatment of illness,
  3. Identification of causes and the diagnostic correlated of illness and other related dysfunctions and
  4. Carrying out analysis and bringing about improvements in health policies

The Goals of health psychology can be divided into two sections

  1. Understanding, explaining, developing and testing theory.
    1. Evaluating the role of behaviour in illness. Ex- Coronary heart disease is related to behaviours- smoking, food intake, lack of exercise.
    2. Predicting unhealthy behaviours. Ex- Smoking, alcohol consumption and high fat diets are related to beliefs.
    3. Evaluating the interaction between psychology and physiology. Ex- The experience of stress relates to appraisal, coping and social support.
    4. Understanding the role of psychology in the experience of illness. Ex- Understanding the psychological consequences of illness could help to alleviate symptoms such as pain, nausea, vomiting, anxiety and depression.
    5. Evaluating the role of psychology in the treatment of illness. Ex- Changing behaviour and reducing stress could reduce the chances of a further heart attack.
  2. Goal of health psychology is to Put this theory into practice.
    1. Promoting healthy behaviour. Ex- 1. Understanding the role of behaviour in illness can allow unhealthy behaviours to be targeted. 2. understanding the beliefs that predict behaviors and make necessary changes.
    2. Preventing illness. Ex- 1. Behavioural interventions during illness (e.g. stopping smoking after a heart attack) may prevent further illness.2. Changing beliefs and modifying stress.

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