A History of the Development of Health Psychology

Wade Pickren and Silvia Degni

in The Oxford Handbook of Health Psychology

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195342819
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

A History of the Development of Health Psychology


A long tradition of thought and practice has asserted important connections between psychological states and physical health. The possible mechanisms or paths of influence may have changed over time and varied across locations, but humans have long believed that how they think and what they feel may be intimately linked to whether they are healthy or sick. This chapter focuses on those ideas and practices that led to this tradition’s eventual expression, in the late 20th century, in what came to be labeled health psychology. Beginning with developments in the mid to late 19th century, it tracks the convergence of thought and application that came together in the 20th century in a manner that made it possible to carve out a new area of disciplinary and professional expertise, that addressed health and disease from the perspective of the discipline of psychology.

Keywords: Psychological states; physical health; health psychology; Europe; North America; psychology

Article.  20639 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Health Psychology

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