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Health Psychology

  1. Stephanie C. Wallio

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0407

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Wallio, S. C. 2010. Health Psychology. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. VA Connecticut Healthcare System and University of Kansas

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Over 2,500 years have passed since philosophers Plato and Aristotle argued that the human mind or soul could not be found within the material body. Approximately 2,000 years later, René Descartes proposed his own theory about the separation of mind and body, which was rooted in these ancient philosophies and became known as Cartesian dualism. While believing that mental experiences were functions of the soul, which must be separate from the physical, Descartes also believed that the soul and body influenced one another. It has been argued (e.g., Rubin & Wessely, 2001) that perhaps the most important effect of Cartesian dualism is that it placed the body in the domain of physicians and the mind in the domain of philosophers, psychiatrists, and psychologists, leading to the development of modern medicine and psychology. This phenomenon is evident in one of the most common practitioner questions, “Is this problem organic or psychological?” Today, health psychology works within this still influential mind-body dualism to bridge the gap between psychological and physical states.


  • health psychology;
  • clinical health psychology;
  • behavioral medicine;
  • biopsychosocial model