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PWP- Episode 17: Health Psychology and The Biopsychosocial Model

Hi everyone, I hope that you've had a brilliant weekend.

In today's post, we're continuing with our look at Health Psychology and in this post we'll be looking at the biopsychosocial model; that draws on the knowledge of biological psychology, cognitive psychology and social psychology; in order to discover the causes of the developmental of a disorder.

Today's show notes are taken from by Health Psychology book:

Chapter 2: The Biopsychosocial model of health and well-being

I do truly love this approach to treatment because I believe that if you focus on a problem using only one approach; biological, cognitive or sociocultural; then your research could be heavily flawed and futile as you are trying to find one cause of the problem without considering the other causes.

In addition, in the real-world things are never as clear cut as we want them to be.

For example: later in the book we’ll be looking at the causes of obesity and as I’ll show you there is no one cause of obesity. It’s caused by a mixture of biological, cognitive and sociocultural factors.

As a result of this treatment should focus on the interaction of the three approaches as well.

The Biopsychosocial (BPS) model focuses on how biological, cognitive and social factors interact to develop into a disease.

For example, the BPS model looks at family relationships as a way to explain how a disease could develop as it involves psychological and social factors.

You will begin to understand as well as see examples of the BPS model being used through the book.

Yet for now, think of it as bringing together biological, cognitive and social factors to produce a holistic view of a health problem.

Nguyen et al (2016)

· 142 patient took part in a holistic weight loss programme that included: knowledge of insulin and its role in storing fat in the body, cognitive behavioural therapy to reframe thinking about food and behavioural therapy. To break unhealthy eating habits.

· In addition, a drug called: Phentermine was prescribed as well as the other two types of therapy.

· Then the participants followed an eating schedule for 5 days a week and they were told never to starve themselves, but to avoid sweets as well as artificial sweeteners.

· Results, shown that there was an average decrease in weight of 10.8% from the baseline to the end of the 86-day programme, and BMI decreased from 34.6 to 30.1.

· In conclusion, this holistic approach to weight loss may be more effective to other weight loss programmes as they only tend to focus on one or two aspects of the BPS model.

Critical thinking:

While this study uses a large sample size to create more data for them to support their conclusions. Making the study more reliability.

The study doesn’t use another diet or weight loss group that only focuses on one or two aspects of the BPS model. This would make the findings more reliability as we could directly compare the holistic approach to obesity and the other types of programmes that only focus on one or two aspects of the model. Overall, allowing us to see which approach is best or how much of a difference this holistic approach makes.


The Biopsychosocial model focuses on the interaction of biological, cognitive and social factors.

Nguyen et al (2016) demonstrated that a holistic approach to treatment could be more effective than focusing on only two aspects of the BPS model.

I hope that you found that useful and if you want to learn more about health psychology then please check out Health Psychology by Connor Whiteley and sign up for my newsletter to receive more psychology news.

Have a great week!

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