Description: The field of health psychology and behavioral medicine is expanding its scope of practice, as well as the environment in which it is practiced. This book addresses these issues and provides guidance in this important area of psychology.
Purpose: The purpose is to review the science in this arena, as well as its relationship to epidemiology and preventive medicine. A secondary purpose is to familiarize clinicians with associated medical fields in which they might be immersed.
Audience: The book is aimed primarily at clinical psychologists and students of this discipline. Clinicians in related fields may find it of interest, but the scope of practice covered here is likely beyond therapists and counselors.
Features: Readers will find an overview of the field and historical debates about its nature and worthiness. The book has a foundational chapter on emotions and stress and then progresses into a discussion of how these factors affect health and decision-making. A series of chapters dedicated to the heart of this subject covers everything from personality to clinical to social factors and their influence on health, for both children and adults. Chapters on medical topics, such as medical anthropology and genetics, are written at a reasonable level and will not be too difficult to comprehend for the average reader. The book ends with chapters dedicated to health psychology interventions for particular diseases and situations (e.g., uninsured patients, sleep medicine, diabetes, cancer, chronic pain). Each chapter has well-labeled subsections and a concluding concise summary. Evidence-based studies are provided when relevant, sometimes summarized in clear tables. There could be more figures to summarize data given the limited space for each chapter, but the ones that are included are excellent. The references are generally current and the index is helpful.
Assessment: Covering a wide array of topics in health psychology, this book provides a clear review of the literature and a thorough exploration of the multitude of behavioral factors that can influence health outcomes. As one of the more comprehensive books on the market, it can serve as a single resource for most of the relevant aspects of health psychology practice.