The Future of Social-Health Psychology: Prospects and Predictions



Social-health psychology has made substantial contributions to health psychology and is poised to make many more in the future. Some new developments will come from empirical progress in theoretical and empirical social psychology that can elucidate the psychological mechanisms whereby social variables affect health. Others will come from technological advances, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, that will uncover mechanisms that underlie effects of stress, coping, persuasive communications, and other factors on health. Progress will also come from social psychologists’ increasing comfort with biological processes and measures, including genetics and neuroendocrine mechanisms. As such, social-health psychology will not only continue to enrich both health psychology and social psychology, but increasingly be able to speak to intervention possibilities. Moreover, by virtue of its emphasis on psychobiological mechanisms, social-health psychology leads the way for an expanding role of social psychology in the integrative science of the future.