What is Biopsychosocial Model of Health?

Before we understand Biopsychosocial Model of Health, we need to understand The Biomedical Model.

The Biomedical Model reduces illness to low-level processes such as disordered cells and chemical imbalances, Fails to recognize social and psychological processes as powerful influences over bodily estates—assumes a mind-body dualis. It emphasizes illness over health rather than focusing on behaviors that promote health • Model cannot address many puzzles that face practitioners: why, for example, if six people are exposed to a flu virus, do only three develop the flu?

The Biopsychosocial Model of Health & Illness.

It is developed by Dr. George Engel and John Romano (1977).

The biopsychosocial approach systematically considers biological, psychological, and social factors and their complex interactions in
understanding health, illness, and health care delivery.

The biopsychosocial model is both a philosophy of clinical care & a practical clinical guide. Philosophically, it is a way of understanding how suffering, disease, and illness are affected by multiple levels of organization, from the societal to the molecular. At the practical level, it is a way of understanding the patient’s subjective experience as an essential contributor to accurate diagnosis, health outcomes, and humane care.

  • Bio (physiological pathology)
  • Psycho (thoughts emotions and behaviours such as psychological distress, fear/avoidance beliefs, current coping methods and attribution)
  • Social (socio-economical, socio-environmental, and cultural factors such as work issues, family circumstances and benefits/economics)
Biopsychosocial Model of Health

Biopsychosocial Model of Health

This model is commonly used in chronic pain,

Psychosomatic Medicine-   Flanders Dunbar (1943) and Franz Alexander (1950) linked patterns of personality, rather than a specific conflict, to specific illnesses. They maintained that conflicts produce anxiety, which becomes unconscious and takes a physiological
toll on the body via the autonomic nervous system. The continuous physiological changes eventually produce an actual organic disturbance.

Dunbar’s and Alexander’s work helped shape the emerging field of psychosomatic medicine by offering profiles of particular disorders believed to be psychosomatic in origin, that is, caused by emotional conflicts. These disorders include hyperthyroidism, ulcers, rheumatoid arthritis, essential hypertension, neurodermatitis (a skin disorder), colitis, and bronchial asthma.

Biopsychosocial model’s  assumption is that health and illness are consequences of the interplay of biological, psychological, and social factors (Keefe, 2011).  According to Suls & Martin (2011,) Both macrolevel processes (like the existence of social support or the presence of depression) and microlevel processes (like cellular disorders or chemical imbalances) continually interact to influence health and illness and their course.

Clinical Implications of the Biopsychosocial Model

  • The process of diagnosis can benefit from understanding the interacting role of biological, psychological, and social factors in assessing a person’s health or illness. Recommendations.
  • It makes explicit the significance of the relationship between patient and practitioner.





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