Health psychologists are interested in the promotion and maintenance of good
health as well as the prevention and treatment of illness. They study how
patients handle illness, why some people don’t follow medical advice,
and the most effective ways to control pain or to change poor health habits.
They also develop health care strategies that foster emotional and physical
well-being. Health psychologists often team up with medical personnel in private
practice and in hospitals to provide patients with complete health care. They
educate medical staff about psychological problems that arise from the pain
and stress of illness and about symptoms that may seem to be physical in origin
but actually have psychological causes.
Health psychologists also investigate issues that affect a large segment
of society, and develop and implement programs to deal with these problems.
Examples are teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, risky sexual behaviors, smoking,
lack of exercise, and poor diet.
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