Rethinking Health Psychology

Rethinking Health Psychology

Rethinking Health Psychology

Rethinking Health Psychology


This introductory text presents a coherent overview of prevalent theories, methods and applications within contemporary health psychology. In particular, it provides a critical analysis of mainstream health psychology by drawing on newer approaches such as discourse, narrative, postmodernism, and material discursive analysis.


This new series of books in health psychology is designed to support postgraduate and postqualification studies in psychology, nursing, medicine and paramedical science, as well as the establishment of health psychology within the undergraduate psychology curriculum. Health psychology is growing rapidly as a field of study. Concerned as it is with the application of psychological theories and models in the promotion and maintenance of health, and the individual and interpersonal aspects of adaptive behaviour in illness and disability, health psychology has a wide remit and a potentially important role to play in the future.

In this timely book, Michele Crossley examines and challenges the subject matter and methods of contemporary mainstream health psychology. The largely quantitative approach and its concern with concepts such as healthy and unhealthy behaviour, prevention, aetiology and prediction, is set alongside a critical (hermeneutic) paradigm, which uses qualitative methods to explore experiences of and meaning in health and illness, and considers the moral aspects of promoting some behaviours as desirable and seeking to change others. The differences between the two approaches are considered in the context of some of the major topics in the field: health promotion, pain and disease, mental illness, interpersonal relationships in healthcare, and death and dying.

This book is not a comfortable read; it is thought-provoking, challenging and exciting — and a welcome addition to the series.

Sheila Payne and Sandra Horn

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