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Health Psychology

Health psychology is the study of psychological and behavioral processes in health, illness, and healthcare. It is concerned with understanding how psychological, behavioral, and cultural factors contribute to physical health and illness. Psychological factors can affect health directly. For example, chronically occurring environmental stressors affecting the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis, cumulatively, can harm health. Behavioral factors can also affect a person's health. For example, certain behaviors can, over time, harm (smoking or consuming excessive amounts of alcohol) or enhance health (engaging in exercise). Health psychologists take a biopsychosocial approach. In other words, health psychologists understand health to be the product not only of biological processes (e.g., a virus, tumor, etc.) but also of psychological (e.g., thoughts and beliefs), behavioral (e.g., habits), and social processes (e.g., socioeconomic status and ethnicity).

By understanding psychological factors that influence health, and constructively applying that knowledge, health psychologists can improve health by working directly with individual patients or indirectly in large-scale public health programs. In addition, health psychologists can help train other healthcare professionals (e.g., physicians and nurses) to take advantage of the knowledge the discipline has generated, when treating patients. Health psychologists work in a variety of settings: alongside other medical professionals in hospitals and clinics, in public health departments working on large-scale behavior change and health promotion programs, and in universities and medical schools where they teach and conduct research.

Although its early beginnings can be traced to the field of clinical psychology, four different divisions within health psychology and one related field, occupational health psychology (OHP), have developed over time. The four divisions include clinical health psychology, public health psychology, community health psychology, and critical health psychology. Professional organizations for the field of health psychology include Division 38 of the American Psychological Association (APA), the Division of Health Psychology of the British Psychological Society (BPS), and the European Health Psychology Society. Advanced credentialing in the US as a clinical health psychologist is provided through the American Board of Professional Psychology.

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Matching Health Psychology Colleges

Scholarships for Health Psychology Majors

name award deadline

Bess Heflin Fellowship

University of Texas at Austin, Office of Graduate Studies

$19,000 Varies See Details

Bess Heflin Fellowship

University of Texas at Austin, Office of Graduate Studies

award

$19,000

deadline

Varies
See Details

Frank and Gladys E. Buhler Scholarship in Health and Human Performance

Austin Peay State University

Up to $3,300 March 01, 2020 See Details

Frank and Gladys E. Buhler Scholarship in Health and Human Performance

Austin Peay State University

award

Up to $3,300

deadline

March 01, 2020
See Details

Sven Peterson Memorial Scholarship - UCSD

University of California, San Diego

$2,000 Varies See Details

Sven Peterson Memorial Scholarship - UCSD

University of California, San Diego

award

$2,000

deadline

Varies
See Details

Psychology Department Scholarship - Waynesburg College

Waynesburg University

$2,000 Varies See Details

Psychology Department Scholarship - Waynesburg College

Waynesburg University

award

$2,000

deadline

Varies
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Maxie Collier Scholarship

Coppin State University

$2,000 Varies See Details

Maxie Collier Scholarship

Coppin State University

award

$2,000

deadline

Varies
See Details

Barbara Ann Hersko Scholarship

University of Wisconsin, Whitewater

$2,000 Varies See Details

Barbara Ann Hersko Scholarship

University of Wisconsin, Whitewater

award

$2,000

deadline

Varies
See Details

Owen Sowerwine Scholarship

Flathead Valley Community College

Up to $1,500 Varies See Details

Owen Sowerwine Scholarship

Flathead Valley Community College

award

Up to $1,500

deadline

Varies
See Details

Health and Human Performance Faculty Scholarship - MSU, Billings

Montana State University-Billings

$1,350 February 01, 2020 See Details

Health and Human Performance Faculty Scholarship - MSU, Billings

Montana State University-Billings

award

$1,350

deadline

February 01, 2020
See Details

Daniel Sidney Wolf Memorial Scholarship

Northwest University

$1,250 Varies See Details

Daniel Sidney Wolf Memorial Scholarship

Northwest University

award

$1,250

deadline

Varies
See Details

Class of 1937 Health Sciences Scholarship-East Stroudsburg University

East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania

$1,040 Varies See Details

Class of 1937 Health Sciences Scholarship-East Stroudsburg University

East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania

award

$1,040

deadline

Varies
See Details