PM206 Health psychology Level 5 Plymouth University


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Health psychology helps in addressing the issues that the society may be facing. The chosen scenario for the report is obesity where two people, belonging to lower income class family have been facing obesity issues in United States (Sallis, Owen and Fisher, 2015). The report makes comprehensive discussion regarding biopsychosocial model that can have adopted by them to their health. Further, analysis will be made on intervention programs that can be adopted by them so as to reduce its impact on their health. The report then outlines regarding health psychology and theories of health behaviour change with respect to scenario. The theory will then be able to prove to be successful in variety of health-related behaviours, inclusive of cessation, smoking, development of unhealthy or health eating habits, exercising regularly, etc. The report then outlines contextual, environmental and political facilitation and inhibiting factors that can impact health behaviours and sustainability. In the end, strength and limitation of all the chosen intervention will be briefly discussed in the report.

Critical analysis of scenario with the help of biopsychosocial model of health

Biopsychosocial model, in broader sense, helps in attributing disease outcome in order to elaborate variable interaction of biological factors such as biomedical and genetics, psychological factors like personality mood and behaviour and social factors which are family related, socioeconomic and cultural as well as medal factors (Peters, De Bruin and Crutzen, 2015). The model can help in determining cause, manifesting it and ultimately deriving the outcomes related to wellness and disease. Generally, it is the duty of health care professionals to work with people and help them in dealing with psychological and emotional aspects related to illness and health. Increasing the adherence to medical treatments, smoking cessations and weight loss program can effectively help in dealing with this issue (Maddux, 2016). Prevention and intervention programs are designed to stick to healthier lifestyle in the form of increase in intake of nutrition and promote exercise.

There are majorly eight goals of health psychology. These are:

  • Understanding contextual and behavioural factors that are directly linked to illness and health.
  • Prevention of illness
  • Investigation on consecutive effect of disease (Hayes, 2016)
  • To provide critical analysis of various health policies
  • To conduct researches that can help in prevention and interventions of health issues
  • To improve the communication between doctor and patient
  • To improve patient’s adherence to medical advice
  • To find the treatment that can help in managing pain (Maddux, 2016).

Health psychology helps in addressing issues of population and individual level across four main domains. These are public, clinical, social justice and community. Clinical health psychology helps in applying scientific knowledge to questions that belong to the spectrum of health care. It generally focuses upon prevention and treatment of health problems. It also helps in analysing behavioural change, an individual may experience due to clinical aspects of health. Community health psychology helps in investigating community factors contributes to the health and wellbeing. These interventions are generally designed with an aim to combat various diseases and promote physical and mental health. Public health psychology helps in assessing potential cause link between psychosocial factors at the pubic or population level (Gardner, 2015). It is generally promoted through educators, policy formulators and other related health care providers so that public health can be promoted at riskier groups. At the end, critical health psychology is related to distribution of power and addressing impact of power differentials on health behaviours, healthcare systems and other linked wellness policies (Andrews and Bonta, 2014). Its main aim is to prioritize social justice with an objective to promote good health in a universal manner for people of all ages, genders, races and socio-economic positions. It helps in giving equal access of healthcare to all people.

The case discusses regarding issue of obesity where BMI results reflected that more than 35% among low income women population in United States are obese. Obesity leads to various medical attentions that are required to be taken by the individual (McCracken and Vowles, 2014)

. Public health can be promoted using this model as the dependence of social and behavioural aspect can be gathered that obese women can have due to their health conditions.

Applying psychosocial model, working upon mind, body and environment; all the three factors have a strong influence on health of an individual. None of the factors in isolation can sufficiently lead to any type of health illness. Hence, there is a deep interrelation between components that can help in reaching to a specific health outcome. Hence, it is important in case of Carl and Arlene that it must be able to understand these factors and health care professionals must enter into understanding the core aspect of disease considering these three factors (Epton and, 2015).

Consideration of health psychology and theories of health behaviour change with respect to scenario

Health belief model is considered to be an earliest framework that helps in understanding the human behaviour. It stated that people tend to take their health-related actions based upon six types of factors. These are:

  • Perceived susceptibility: The current health condition may affect the individual or one of feature of biopsychosocial model.

Perceived Severity: When the condition becomes severe enough that can have negative impact on current health consequences (Tonetti and, 2015).

  • Perceived benefits: The actions advised by professionals can help in lowering, lessening or stopping affected risk and consequences of condition of patient.
  • Perceived cost of barriers: The corrective and preventive benefits can help in outweighing psychological and physical harm so that appropriate behaviour can be initiated.
  • Cues of Action: There are internal and external cue that triggers the individual to reach to final act (Mazur, 2016).

Social cognitive theory, out of all health behaviour theories, has direct link to the situation that has been discussed in case study. It states that there is a direct impact of individual’s observation on adoption that can affect its behaviour towards a particular disease. There are basically two models that are directly involved on its overall impact. One is direct modelling where people tend to gain insights from people in the society and engage in particular behaviour. It is generally known as vicarious learning (Martin and Pear, 2015). Symbolic modelling is another type of model linked to social cognitive theory where people likely to adopt the behaviour of others which they identify it has been able to portray them in media.

The theory has been able to prove to be successful in variety of health-related behaviours, inclusive of cessation, smoking, development of unhealthy or health eating habits, exercising regularly, etc. Specialists have also been able to adopt this model in such a manner that in order to reduce or stop unhealthy traits among people and develop and enhance actions that are healthy enough to be adopted. It helps in doing alteration in the behaviour in such a manner that it can help the individual in leading a healthy life style and promote health and wellness (Head and Noar, 2014). This theory helps in developing dynamic interaction between people and their behaviour and influence that has been taken from the environment. In order words, it can be stated that people do not learn new behaviour solely by trying them or through assessment of success or failing. Rather, survival of activities has high dependence on replication of actions. These learned behaviours can also directly become the attention of one’s own personality. Making the environmental factors conducive enough that can help in ultimately making certain changes in environment setting so that adoption and abilities of the individual can be altered (Eldredge and, 2016). Campaigning regarding obesity and making people realise that certain physical exercise and healthy eating habits can help them in lose extra weight can help in adoption of good practices. It can help in altering personal and environmental perspectives that is leading population of United States towards obesity. Various health promotions led by the government do not aim to maintain the current behaviour but to initiate a behavioural change that is impactful for the individual health (Rapport, 2014).

Hence, preparation of strategies that can help in dealing with the increased obesity will initiate behavioural change among people. Improvement in dietary habits can help in promoting long term nutritional behaviour can help in protecting excessive body weight. Moreover, it will also help in preventing obesity related disease in the near future among, Carl and Arlene, who are currently facing obesity as per the given case scenario (Kwasnicka White and Sniehotta, 2016).

Identifying and exploring possible interventions

Analysing the case study, it can be stated that, it is important to take intervention actions that can help in reduction of obesity in the individuals. Two intervention technique have been chosen that can be adopted by health care professionals so as to cope up with the emerging problem of obesity (Kossek and Moen, 2014). These intervention activities are,

Brief Intervention

 It is a technique which is used to initiate change in the behaviour which is unhealthy and risky as well. Such type of behaviours can be, smoking, alcohol misuse and lack of exercising habits. It can also be used in case of alcohol misuse as well. It acts as a prevention approach which is typically carried out to increase the role of health (Marris, 2014)

. It is generally adopted in the two main ways. First is getting people to think differently about unhealthy dietary and lifestyle practices adopted by them. The other is providing people the skills that can help in consuming the unhealthy food in the most healthier manner so that its impact on their body is minimum. The most common aspect related to it is physical screening of the candidate who is obese and require to adopt appropriate interventions. People with raised body weight percentage are required to bring adequate control over their eating habits in such a manner that it can help in overall body weight reductions (Kok and, 2016). Weight management group can also help in initiating this type of change in people belonging to particular region as stated in the given case scenario. Motivational interviewing is one of the technique that is adopted. The success rate of this technique has higher dependence on information provided by the individual who is involved in taking nay type of interview (Wells, Evans and Cheek, 2016) . It becomes important to acknowledge that each individual that is arriving for counselling session can have different level of readiness to change their lifestyle. It can include the following scenario:

No perception of obesity being a bane (French, Chisholm and Mc Sharry, 2014).

  • Realising that obesity is a problem and has to be modified.
  • Currently active address the ileus of obesity to the maximum extent

Already under maintenance and started opting for interventions that can help them in dealing with the obesity (Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi, 2014).

Feedback is another important aspect that can be adopted to control obesity under brief intervention. It is generally done when the assessment is complete, people tend to receive personalised feedback from the professionals regarding their obesity aspect and other behaviours that are related to it (Wells, Evans and Cheek, 2016). It can help in identifying that obesity is leading them to some health risks up to what extent. Feedback can also be given based upon data collected from other group member prior the adoption of any kind of intervention programs. It depends on the researcher that is what way, he / she wants to collect data, it can be in the form of questionnaire or face to face interview (Bowling, 2014). However, the limitation is, there is no evidence that the data revealed by the individual is correct or not and higher dependence of intervention program is on feedback only (Smith, Mackie and Claypool, 2014).

Another aspect of skills training which helps in development of the skills in people that can assist them in consuming unhealthy food in a safer manner. Skill training programs can effectively go with motivational interviewing techniques which can simultaneously makes the individual regarding its importance. Moderate goals can be considered based upon their intensity to adapt the change that is required to be brought in their lifestyle (Michie and Hardeman, 2015).

Motivational Intervention

Motivational intervention is another kind of intervention that can be adopted to cope up with the obesity aspect of Carl and Arlene. Obesity and being overweight is the common health issue that can lead to increase in various health condition in the patient. Hence, it is required to be controlled with the help of various intervention. One such type of intervention is related to motivation. It has been assessed by the researchers that clinical practices combined with motivation can effectively help in achieving better results in comparison to the one where only clinical practices are adopted by the researcher on obese people(Magidson, Collado-Rodriguez and Lejuez, 2014) . The opportunity to reinforce behavioural skills seems to be the key to reduce the regain of weight after it has been diminished. Motivational group interventions can be more effective in comparison to isolated clinical practices generall adopted by the health care professionals (Pilgrim, 2017) . Psychologist must include basic training practices related to motivating the individual for lifestyle change in obese or over weight patients. Training may include counselling and workshop solely having this objective. Role play activity is another method of its adoption. Patients having any type of sensory related or psychiatric disorder, motivational intervention becomes a challenge to be adopted (Gerrig and Wilkes, 2015).

Hence, it can be evidenced that, motivational activity is effective enough that can be adopted by the psychologist for promoting healthy lifestyle among individuals. It also help is ensuring that clinical treatment that has been given by health care professional is adequately followed and adoption of healthy lifestyle has been initiated by them in a well defined manner (Sarafino and Smith, 2014) .

However, the main limitation of adoption of this kind of intervention is that it can be short lived if individual himself is not motivated enough to practice the same. Although, continuous session, time to time can help in leaving positive impact on its functioning (Parahoo, 2014) .  

Critically examining contextual, environmental and political facilitation and inhibiting factors that can impact health behaviours and sustainability

There are various factors that can have direct or indirect impact on health behaviour of Carl and Arlene. Some of the factors that can affect health behaviour and sustainability of practices are:

Contextual factor: There are certain contextual factors that acts as a barrier in properly opting for obese related interventions. It depends upon the adoption that has been made by the individual from its surroundings (Pilgrim, 2017). There are higher chances that sometimes the acts are adopted by people in ineffective manner. It depends of people that how it has been perceived and understood and then ultimately adopted to their lifestyle. Contextual factors have higher dependence on ecology and environment that can have adequate impact on the overall collaboration aspect as well (Glanz, 2015).

Environmental factor: There are certain environmental factors that can affect the functioning of an obese. Majority of the habits are generally adopted through behaviours prevailing of environment. For instance, if one individual is involved in leading an unhealthy lifestyle and still remaining fit, then the same will also be adopted by the other individuals as well, unknowing their body type and immunity aspect. Hence, environmental factors play a major role in preserving the health and well being of people (London, 2014).

Political facilitation:  Inadequate amount of health promotion have a great deal of impact on what actually have been perceived by people at a particular location. In such cases, adoption of variety of health promotions in the form of different intensity that matches with the behavioural accept of various individual can help in dealing with the issue. People who belongs to an effective society will be conscious from the beginning regarding health-related campaigns and less people staying there will be obese (Merluzzi, Yang and Conley, 2017).

Other inhibiting factors: Other inhibiting factors that has led to increased people who are obese are, leading an unhealthy lifestyle, not aware of weight loss practices, regain of weight after losing it once, adoption of wrong lifestyle, not aware of health risk that are linked to obesity, prevailing socio economic issues, etc (Watkins and Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014).


Based on the above report, it can be concluded that, Prevention and intervention programs are designed to stick to healthie lifestyle in the form of increase in intake of nutrition and promote exercise. Health psychology help in addressing issues of population and individual level across four main domains (McCracken and Morley, 2014)(McDaniel, 2014) . These are, public, clinical, social justice and community. The case discuses regarding the issue of obesity where BMI results reflected that more than 35% among low income women population in United States are obese. Social cognitive theory, out of all health behaviour theory have direct link to the situation that have been discussed in the case study. It states that there is direct impact of individual’s observation on that can affect its behaviour towards a particular disease. The two types of interventions that are discussed in the report are, brief and motivational interventions (Sallis, Owen and Fisher, 2015) .


  • Sallis, J.F., Owen, N. and Fisher, E., 2015. Ecological models of health behavior. Health behavior: Theory, research, and practice5, pp.43-64.
  • Peters, G.J.Y., De Bruin, M. and Crutzen, R., 2015. Everything should be as simple as possible, but no simpler: towards a protocol for accumulating evidence regarding the active content of health behaviour change interventions. Health Psychology Review9(1), pp.1-14.
  • Maddux, J.E., 2016. Self-efficacy. In Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Expectancies (pp. 55-60). Routledge.
  • Hayes, S.C., 2016. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Relational Frame Theory, and the Third Wave of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies–Republished Article. Behavior therapy47(6), pp.869-885.
  • Gardner, B., 2015. A review and analysis of the use of ‘habit’in understanding, predicting and influencing health-related behaviour. Health Psychology Review9(3), pp.277-295.
  • Andrews, D.A. and Bonta, J., 2014. The psychology of criminal conduct. Routledge.
  • McCracken, L.M. and Vowles, K.E., 2014. Acceptance and commitment therapy and mindfulness for chronic pain: model, process, and progress. American Psychologist69(2), p.178.
  • Epton, T. and, 2015. The impact of self-affirmation on health-behavior change: A meta-analysis. Health Psychology34(3), p.187.
  • Tonetti, M.S. and, 2015. Principles in prevention of periodontal diseases. Journal of clinical periodontology42(S16).
  • Mazur, J.E., 2016. Learning & behavior. Routledge.
  • Martin, G. and Pear, J.J., 2015. Behavior modification: What it is and how to do it. Psychology Press.
  • Head, K.J. and Noar, S.M., 2014. Facilitating progress in health behaviour theory development and modification: The reasoned action approach as a case study. Health Psychology Review8(1), pp.34-52.
  • Eldredge, L.K.B. and, 2016. Planning health promotion programs: an intervention mapping approach. John Wiley & Sons.
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