As an identifiable area, health psychology received its first important impetus in 1973, when the Board of Scientific Affairs of the American Psychological Association (APA) appointed a task force to study the potential for psychology’s role in health research. Three years later, this task force (APA, 1976) reported that few psychologists were involved in health research and that research conducted by psychologists in the area of health was not often reported in the psychology journals.
However, the report envisioned a future in which health psychology might help to enhance health and prevent disease. In 1978, the American Psychological Association established Division 38, Health Psychology, as “a scientific, educational, and professional organization for psychologists interested in (or working in) areas at one or another of the interfaces of medicine and psychology” (Matarazzo, 1994, p. 31).
Four years later, in 1982, the journal Health Psychology began publication as the official journal of Division 38. Currently, health psychology is not only a well-established division within the American Psychological Association but is also recognized by the American Psychological Society, another powerful professional organization, one that emphasizes research over clinical practice.