The Status of the “Biopsychosocial” Model in Health Psychology: Towards an Integrated Approach and a Critique of Cultural Conceptions


The current status of the “Biopsychosocial” Model in health psychology is contested and arguably exists in a stage of infancy. Despite original goals, medical researchers have developed theoretical and empirical integrations across bio-psycho-social domains only to a limited extent. This review article addresses this issue by making connections across research findings in health psychology and related medical fields in order to strengthen the associations across bio-psycho-social domains. In particular, research in sociosomatics, neuroplasticity and psychosocial genomics are introduced and explored. The role of “culture” as conceived of within the Biopsychosocial Model is also ambiguous and somewhat problematic. Arthur Klienman’s conceptions of culture as what is at stake for individuals in their local social and moral worlds is adopted to offer a critique of previous perspectives of culture and question its role amidst bio-psycho-social domains. Overall, a multilevel integrative or ‘holistic’ perspective is advanced to strengthen the Biopsychosocial Model for use within health psychology and biomedical research. In the end, some clinical implications are discussed.

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A. Hatala, "The Status of the “Biopsychosocial” Model in Health Psychology: Towards an Integrated Approach and a Critique of Cultural Conceptions," Open Journal of Medical Psychology, Vol. 1 No. 4, 2012, pp. 51-62. doi: 10.4236/ojmp.2012.14009.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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