Assignment 1 Critical Analysis Essay

Submitted By Rhea2499
Words: 1208
Pages: 5

Definitions of Health Psychology - Critical Analysis

The five dimensions of health (physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual) each focus upon one aspect. Whilst physical wellbeing is important, it is only one component of overall health. Research shows having social support systems provides protection against numerous health problems (Center for Health, 2010). Neither dimension is most appropriate in defining overall health. These five dimensions interrelate. Each dimension can impact or improve our health. Developing health in one dimension may result in beneficial effects on other dimensions.

Research demonstrates smoking cessation for women appear to be unsuccessful with a low number engaging (Secker-Walker et al, 1998). The Biomedical model offers little perspective into non-pathological behaviours (Engel, 2002). Most healthcare professionals do not ask for psychological or social history about an individual. Alternatively, they look for biophysical or genetic predispositions. This stresses the shortcomings of clinical practice. A broader approach is required to understand the influence of behaviour. The Biomedical Model is reductionist; illness is isolated to a single cause (Curtis, 2002). The strength of this approach is that it creates advances in technology; many common problems can be effectively treated. Thus extending life expectancy and improving the quality of lives (Ogden, 2012). When explaining events such as smoking during pregnancy, the insufficiencies of the model can be recognised. The disadvantage is that it does not consider the broader psychological and social factors when dealing with illness (Taylor, 1995). The variation of influences and reasons why people smoke highlights the limitations of the Biomedical model. For example, nicotine dependence is a feature of the disorder, but other factors must be considered for a successful prevention strategy to be introduced.

The Biomedical model argues individuals are not responsible for their illness (Ogden, 2012). The Biomedical model would argue lung cancer is caused by smoking. In contrast the Biopsychosocial model may propose to be the cause passive smoking or hereditary predispositions to the disease. The Biomedical approach does not promote good health nor encourage people to lead healthy lives; problems are treated as they arise. Blaxter (2004) argues if someone smokes, drinks excessively, eats unhealthily but does not feel ill, they may view these behaviours as acceptable. In contrast the Biopsychosocial model encourages people to lead healthy lifestyles to prevent illness (Blaxter, 2004).

The Biopsychosocial model provides an explanation for smoking during pregnancy. In this case research suggests there are a number of participating factors including; expectant mothers' fears over the health of their baby and marital concerns, particularly if the partner smokes (Wakefield et al, 1998). The advantage of this approach is encouraging individuals to take responsibility and lead healthier lifestyles to improve quality of life. The disadvantage is there is a lack of accessible education to people therefore difficult to motivate change. Not all illness can be prevented and results of this approach to health are not evident for a long period of time.

The Health Belief model explains why people engage in preventative health measures such as stopping smoking. This takes into account personal vulnerability to illness caused by smoking, seriousness of consequences, treatment cost and effectiveness, barriers perceived and cues to take action to initiate change. An individual needs to believe they have the strength and ability to change; self-efficacy. People must see benefits to stopping smoking. If benefits do not outweigh the costs or barriers then action is unlikely. This model is questionable when applied to certain behaviours because an individual’s beliefs are in competition with other stimuli for significance and control. For