The pre-history of health psychology in the United Kingdom: From natural science and psychoanalysis to social science, social cognition and beyond.

Abstract

Health psychology formally came of age in the United Kingdom in the 1980s, but it was prefigured by much discussion about challenges to the dominance of biomedicine in healthcare and debates about the role of individual behaviour change in promoting population health. Despite current progress and accomplishments, it is important to reflect upon earlier attempts to explore the psychological dimensions of health and illness. It is through such exploration that we can begin to reveal the connection between ideas and the social context. This article focuses on what could be termed the pre-history of health psychology in the United Kingdom. This was the period in the earlier 20th century when psychological approaches were dominated by psychoanalysis which was in tension with more positivist approaches. In the post-World War II period, the classical form of psychoanalysis turned to a concern with relationships. This was the period which also saw the rise of behaviourism and then cognitivism each of which had a strong influence on the new profession of clinical psychology and then health psychology. Review of this pre-history provides the backdrop for the rise of health psychology in the United Kingdom and also reveals the tensions between the different theoretical perspectives.

DOI: 10.1177/1359105317705879

Cite this paper

@article{Murray2017ThePO, title={The pre-history of health psychology in the United Kingdom: From natural science and psychoanalysis to social science, social cognition and beyond.}, author={Michael D. Murray}, journal={Journal of health psychology}, year={2017}, pages={1359105317705879} }