Health psychology is an offer of help, an effort to understand how biological, behavioral, and social factors influence health and illness. As one of the fast-growing sub-specialties, it has now outstripped other divisions of psychology in terms of excitement in the public eye. And yet a new occupation was built on somewhat unrealistic, idealized assumptions. The title of this book was therefore chosen to emphasize the fact that an extensive critique of those assumptions is essential. This book proposes arbitrary boundaries for a discourse on health psychology. The array of subjects is based on two major themes: the foundation of health psychology and the range of disorders where psychological knowledge might benefit the sick; and the question of whether or not health psychology has a systematic and pragmatic structure so as to qualify as a profession.

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