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Health Psychology

Definition

Health psychology is devoted to understanding psychological influences on health and disease. According to Shelley E. Taylor, a leading health psychologist, this field addresses the psychological factors that determine how people stay healthy, why they become sick, and how they respond when they do get sick. Health psychology encompasses a broad array of topics and addresses a variety of questions, including health promotion and health maintenance; for example, why do some people engage in positive or negative health behaviors, such as exercise or smoking? Other areas of health psychology focus on the behavioral and social factors that could cause illness and how psychological interventions can help prevent and treat disease. For example, is low socioeconomic status associated with the onset of cardiovascular disease (in other ...

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