18 Child Health Psychology

Health Psychology


  1. Lamia P. Barakat PhD1,
  2. Matthew Hocking PhD2,
  3. Anne E. Kazak PhD, ABPP1

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop209018

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Barakat, L. P., Hocking, M. and Kazak, A. E. 2012. Child Health Psychology. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 9:IV:18.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania, Department of Pediatrics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

  2. 2

    The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Division of Oncology, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012


The field of child health psychology is broad, multifaceted, and multidisciplinary in nature. Encompassing the well-being of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults, it includes an emphasis on health (e.g., absence of disease, health behaviors and prevention), as well as illnesses and injuries (major and minor, chronic and acute), and draws from other specialized areas of psychology, including developmental, clinical, clinical-child, health, social, and family psychology. In collaboration with pediatricians, nurses, social workers, psychiatrists, and other health care providers, child health psychologists screen and assess for a variety of issues (e.g., adherence, pain, medical stress and trauma, neurocognitive functioning) and design and implement interventions aimed at reducing distress, promoting adjustment, and maintaining health. Pediatric psychology offers a professional framework consistent with the themes of this child health psychology chapter. In the current summary of child health psychology, we integrate the diverse child health psychology assessment and intervention literature within the parameters of three focused basic assumptions (social ecology as organizing framework, resiliency of patients and families is the norm, and evidence-based assessment and intervention as essential to positive outcomes) and three levels of intervention (universal, selected, indicated/clinical) that are crucial to advancing the health and well-being of children and their families, now and in the future.


  • child health psychology;
  • pediatric psychology