Handbook of psychology, Vol.9: Health psychology (2nd ed.). Primary care psychology

Robert A. DiTomasso, Barbara A. Golden, Stacey C. Cahn, Amelia G. Gradwell

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This chapter discusses the discipline of primary care psychology. Within the past several years, the interface between professional psychology and primary care medicine has begun to burgeon. Primary care psychology may be defined as "the provision of health and mental health services that includes the prevention of disease and the promotion of healthy behaviors in individuals, families, and communities". This specialty area has recently become a major focus of interest and study and has challenged psychologists to rethink their roles, functions, and modalities of professional practice. Today, the emergence of primary care psychology as a model for integrating psychology and medicine is at the forefront of the health-care reform movement. This new movement has been driven by a variety of forces rooted deeply in the interest to deliver health care in a most efficient and effective manner. Among other things, what uniquely defines this area are the problems presented in the primary care setting and the important role that psychological factors play in health and wellness. In consideration of these factors, the meshing of professional psychology and primary care medicine is not only welcome but has been a long time coming. In describing primary care, DiTomasso and Esposito note the following: Physicians have begun to realize that a thorough understanding and treatment of the whole patient is critical in accurately conceptualizing patient problems and in developing effective interventions. Primary care patients present with a multitude of possible problems, many of which have central components that are behavioral in nature. Given the reciprocal and synergistic relationship that exists between mind and body phenomenon, there is little wonder why patients seeking care from primary care physicians (PCPs) may do so for a variety of mental and physical reasons. The convergence of a number of historical factors has evolved to shape the emergence of primary care psychology as a critical specialty area. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved). (chapter)

Original languageAmerican English
PublisherHandbook of psychology, Vol.9: Health psychology (2nd ed.).
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


  • primary care psychology
  • health-care reform movement
  • primary care medicine
  • mental health services
  • health promotion
  • Health Care Psychology
  • Primary Health Care
  • Health Care Reform
  • Health


  • Psychology

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