Role of Psychology in Health

Let’s start with definition of Psychology, it is scientific study of behavior & mental processes. World Health Organizational (WHO) defined ‘Health as complete state of Physical, Mental and Social wellbeing and absence of mere infirmity.’ Thus, role of psychology in health is increasing day by day.

Biomedical model is essential to for sound treatment of every disease but not enough, so Biopsychosocial model came to help in medical practices.

Therefore, dealing with health and illness overtakes looking for the presence or absence of the disease and infirmity (the biomedical model) to the biopsychosocial model in which health means a state of complete physical, psychological and social well-being.

Overall, psychologists assess, diagnose, and treat the psychological problems and the behavioral dysfunctions resulting from, or related to physical and mental health.

Psychology play a major role in –

  1. The promotion of healthy behavior
  2. Preventing diseases
  3. Improving patients’ quality of life.

They perform their clinical roles according to rigorous ethical principles and code of conduct.

Psychologists provide vital mental and behavioral health services in primary care; they identify and modify behaviors to promote the health and wellness of individuals across the lifespan.


Role of Psychology in Interprofessional Care

  • Integrated Health Care
    Psychologists enables our evolving health care system to address complete health state -the physical, psychological and social aspects of health.
  • Primary Care
    Psychologists provide vital mental and behavioral health services in primary care; they identify and modify behaviors to promote the health and wellness of individuals across the lifespan.

Role of Psychology in Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
    Cognitive testing and neuropsychological evaluation by psychologists with specialized training and expertise are the most effective ways to differentiate dementia from normal age-related cognitive changes and those related to depression and/or other mental disorders.

Role of Psychology in Cancer

    • Pediatric Cancer
      Psychologists are able to identify adjustment difficulties; provide effective psychological interventions for depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress symptoms; and promote effective problem-solving for child cancer patients and their families in treatment and during survivorship.
    • Adult Cancer
      Psychologists are the leading researchers developing evidence-based psychological treatments for cancer patients and have specialized training in assessing, monitoring and treating residual neurocognitive impairments.
    • Breast Cancer
      Psychologists can utilize diagnostic measures and interviewing techniques to assess psychosocial distress and body image concerns.
    • Colorectal Cancer
      Psychological interventions (e.g., cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), relaxation training, group therapy) can reduce psychological distress and improve self-esteem, optimism, social functioning and self-efficacy of colorectal cancer patients.

Role of Psychology in Cardiac Health

  • Heart Disease and Depression
    The benefits of psychotherapy for reducing many of the risk factors leading to heart disease are well established.

Role of Psychology in Liver Transplantation

  • Liver Transplantation
    A psychologist on a health care team can help improve outcomes when involved in both pre-transplant assessment and care as well as post-transplant care.

Role of Psychology in Obesity

  • Childhood and Adolescent Obesity
    Psychologists play an integral role in areas of assessment relevant for obese youth, including enhancing physical activity, child and parent motivation and ability to implement lifestyle behavior changes, and social and emotional functioning.
  • Adult Obesity
    Psychologists have the knowledge and training to assist with the prevention of weight problems, adherence to weight-loss programs, and maintenance of healthy weight and lifestyle, which are greatly needed to address the current obesity epidemic.

Role of Psychology in Pain Management

  • Chronic Pain
    Psychological interventions, such as cognitive behavioral and self-regulatory therapies, have been shown to be safe, effective and cost-effective treatments for pain.

Role of Psychology in Perinatal Depression

  • Perinatal Depression
    Recent guidelines discourage pharmacological treatment of depression in pregnant and lactating women in favor of psychotherapeutic intervention.

Role of Psychology in Pressure Ulcers

  • Pressure Ulcers
    A psychologist on a health care team can implement behavioral interventions for patients at risk of pressure ulcers, saving them from lengthy and costlier hospital stays.

Role of Psychology in Presurgical Conditions

Role of Psychology in Pediatric Sleep Disorders

  • Pediatric Sleep Disorders
    On a healthcare team, a psychologist can evaluate pediatric behavioral sleep disorders and co-occurring cognitive disorders as well as implement interventions to address these conditions.

Until the mid-1960s, the major role for psychologists in treating illness was to assess psychopathology in patients. With the growth of knowledge on the importance of behavioral and psychosocial factors in the etiology and maintenance of dysfunctions, psychologists have developed more expertise in diagnosing and treating the behavioral aspects of illness. Consequently, psychologists have begun to define themselves as health care rather than mental health care providers.


Ogden, J. (2017). Health psychology: A textbook (4th ed.).McGraw Hill Education.
Sarafino, Edward P and Smith, Timothy W (2012). Health Psychology – Bio psychosocial Interaction (7th ed). Wiley India Edition.
Taylor, Shelley E. (2018). Health Psychology (10th ed). McGraw Hill Higher Education. Indian Edition

Wahass S. H. (2005). The role of psychologists in health care delivery. Journal of family & community medicine12(2), 63–70.

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