Health and Medical Psychology - UL - StudyNotes (EN) (2015-2016)

These lecture notes are based on the subject 'Health and Medical Psychology' - 2015-2016.

Lecture 1: Health behaviour explained


Health psychology focuses on the relationship between the body and the mind, dealing with chronic diseases, revalidation, eHealth, prevention, promotion of healthy lifestyle, stress and stress-related diseases among many other things.

Primary prevention focuses on healthy people who are not (yet) sick at all and how to keep it that way. Secondary prevention comes after the first few symptoms of a disease have shown, but they are treated in an early stage. Tertiary prevention comes after later, irreversible symptoms have shown and has to do with revalidation.

Views on health

Health has more than one point of view. It can be seen as not being ill, being strong, healthy behaviour, fitness, mental health, being able to function and do what you want, etc. The World Health Organisation defines health as shown on slide 15.

As there are different views on health, there are different models on health as well. For example, the biomedical model is a dualistic model, where psychological and physical illness can be explained by physical factors. However, in this model there is no room for psychological factors causing illness. Becoming ill has to do with the immune system not being able to protect you against contagious agents when exposed to them.

The biopsychosocial model contains three approaches that together form health: biology, psychology and social context (see slide 19). In this model, both body and mind cause diseases or health. There is a lot of interaction between these two. The biopsychosocial model states that there are several factors of a long life. How long your life is depends on: sleep, food, weight, exercise, alcohol use and smoking.

Health behaviours

According to Matarazzo, there are two types of health behaviour: behavioural pathogens are bad for your

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