The BioPsychoSocial Model of Health

Ok, I know that sounds like a mouthful. But when you get into what it is, the model is actually quite simple. I promise!

The BioPsychoSocial Model (Engel, 1977) basically states that our health is a combination of biological, psychology, and social factors. Simple! It originally came about as a challenge to traditional ideas that health was purely physical and medical in nature, when this is not the case. Health, as understood by myself and many other health psychology people, is taking into consideration your overall wellbeing, which can also be influenced by our internal workings, and our interactions with others.

assorted doctors tools
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If you have read the homepage here at All Around Health, you will realise that I have already said pretty much the same thing. This model was an early predecessor of many theories and models within Health Psychology, and has informed research and understanding of health for many generations of psychologists. This blog included.

Unfortunately, there are still barriers between allied health professionals, where surgeons and GPs still refer back to a biomedical approach to health. Realistically they cannot be blamed for this, as their years of training makes them obviously focus on just the medicine bit of health. With time, more doctors are taking account of social and psychological factors to certain health conditions, and more and more are using tools like ‘social prescriptions’, to help people become less socially isolated, and to be more active in local communities.

For any buddying psychologists, health-specific or otherwise, I would recommend familiarising yourself with the model, if you find yourself within a health setting.

For the Psychologists…

Engel, G. L. (1977). The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biomedicine. Science, 196, 129-196.

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