Health psychology is an offer of help, an effort to "understand how biological, behavioral, and social factors influence health and illness. Although its claim of a share of health care territory was never loud, it has become one of the fast-growing sub-specialties; it has now outstripped other divisions of psychology in terms of excitement in the public eye. And yet a new occupation was built on somewhat unrealistic, idealized assumptions; the title of this book was therefore chosen to emphasize the fact that an extensive critique of those assumptions is missing. Consequently, there has never been a consensus as to what should be studied first, what to include in and what should be omitted from the health psychology syllabus. This book proposes arbitrary boundaries for a discourse on health psychology. The array of subjects is based on two major themes; the foundation of health psychology and the range of disorders where psychological knowledge might benefit the sick; and the question of whether or not health psychology has a systematic and pragmatic structure so as to qualify as a profession.
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