Definition of Health psychology by Matarazzo, in 1980, defined health psychology as the aggregate of the specific educational scientific contribution of the discipline of psychology to the promotion and maintenance of health, in Psychology the promotion and treatment of illness and related dysfunction.
What is Health?
How do you know when you are healthy? To answer these questions, let’s first consider what illness is. We define a disease as a characteristic grouping of physical signs and symptoms; it is given a specific name and can often be traced to a specific causal agent. Illness, however, is a broader term that involves people’s beliefs about the state of their physical well-being and the resulting behaviors they engage in.
Psychology Illness beliefs may be the result of a specific disease or just the way we feel when we say we are ill (even when there is no evidence of a disease). Illness is important because it is what motivates people to seek out a physician. A disease is what the
physician recognizes as a specific disorder based on known signs and symptoms. Therefore, a physician is likely to define health as the absence of disease, while the average person might define health more broadly as the absence of any ill feelings as Psychology.
In both of these definitions, however, health is described in terms of what it is not—as the absence of disease or illness.
We commonly think about health in terms of an absence of
(1) Objective signs that the body is not functioning properly, such as measured high blood pressure, or
(2) Subjective symptoms of disease or injury, such as pain or nausea.
Dictionaries define health in this way, too. But there is a problem with this definition of health Psychology. Let’s see why. Consider Sara, the overweight girl in the opening story. You’ve surely heard people say. “It’s not healthy to be overweight,” Is Sara healthy? What about someone who feels fine but whose lungs are being damaged from smoking cigarettes or whose arteries are becoming clogged from eating foods which are high in saturated fats? These are all signs of improper body functioning. Are people with these signs healthy? We probably would say they are not “sick” they are just less healthy than they would be without the unhealthful conditions.
This means health and sickness are not entirely separate concepts they overlap. There are degrees of wellness and of illness. Medical sociologist Aaron Antonovsky (1979, 1987) has suggested that we consider these concepts as ends of a continuum, noting that “We are all terminal cases Psychology. And we all are, so long as there is a breath of life in us, in some measure healthy”. He also proposed that we revise our focus, giving more attention to what enables people to stay well than to what causes people to become ill.