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Health psychology - Essay Example

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Health is a multi-factorial phenomenon. The factors, which influence the health lives within the individual and also in his surrounding (environment) i.e., individuals own personality, family, society, community and work place etc. …
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Health psychology
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Download file to see previous pages Health psychology is the application of psychological theory and research to health, illness and health care, which deals with individual behavior in the social context. Psychosocial aspects and determinants are kept in consideration to understand the human behavior. It also tries to understand and promote behavioral changes. One basic assumption in health psychology is that to change people's behavior—at least through health promotion interventions—it is necessary to understand the psychosocial determinants of behavior. For example, due to lack of motivation/ willpower when a harmful user fails to stop taking alcohol, requires another kind of intervention than that addict who fails to stop taking drinks because of a lack of family/social support.
In the traditional viewpoint absence of disease was known as health. This concept was known as biomedical concept, which has its base in the "germ theory of disease" which dominated medical thought at the turn of the 20th century. The medical professionals of that term were treating the human body as a machine. Any sort of disease was taken as a fault in the machine and the doctor task was to repair the machine. Therefore the health became an ultimate goal of medicine. The criticism then started against the biomedical concept as it was minimized the role of the environmental, social, psychological and cultural determinants of health. The biomedical model, for all its remarkable success in treating disease, was found inadequate to solve some of the major health problems of mankind. (e.g., malnutrition, chronic diseases, accidents, drug abuse, mental illness, environmental pollution, population explosion) by elaborating the medical technologies. Developments in medical and social sciences led to the conclusion that the biomedical concept of health was inadequate.
The ecologists put forward an attractive hypothesis, which viewed health as a dynamic equilibrium between man and his environment, and disease a maladjustment of the human organism to environment. (Dubos, 1969) believes that man's capacity to adopt himself to ecological changes is not unlimited. Man can adopt himself only in so far as the mechanism of adaptation is potentially present in his genetic code. Human ecological and cultural adaptations do not determine only the occurrence of disease but also the availability of food and the population explosion. The ecological concept raises two issues, viz. imperfect man and imperfect environment. History argues strongly that improvement in human adaptation to natural environments can lead to longer life expectancies and a better quality of life - even in the absence of modern health delivery services.
The health applications of psychology were strongly focused on risk perception and risk taking behaviour. The best example may be the health belief model, where the perception of the severity of the risk and the susceptibility for the risk were seen as the primary determinants of health-protective behaviors. Over time, it became clear that people have many reasons for health-related behaviors, of which risk perception is often not an important one. In this multi-causality approach, there is ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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