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Critical Issues in Clinical and Health Psychology

Critical Issues in Clinical and Health Psychology

  • Poul Rohleder - University of Essex, UK, University of East London, UK

May 2012 | 232 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

This textbook gives a clear and thought-provoking introduction to the critical issues related to health, illness and disability in clinical and health psychology. Challenging some of the preconceptions of ill-health of the biomedical approach, the book explores how health and illness is often shaped by factors such as culture, poverty, gender and sexuality, and examines how these influences impact on the experience and treatment of physical and mental illness as well as disability. Students are introduced to literature from disciplines other than psychology to provide multiple perspectives on these complex issues.

Critical Issues in Clinical and Health Psychology is a key textbook for undergraduate and graduate students taking courses in health or clinical psychology, as well as for students from other disciplines related to health and mental health care.

Introduction: Critical Issues in Clinical and Health Psychology
Locating the Field

Understanding Health, Illness and Disability

Critical Issues in Clinical and Health Psychology

Chapter 1: Psychosocial and Critical Models of Health, Illness and Disability
Health, Illness and Psychology

The Biopsychosocial Model

Psychological Models of Mental Health

Sociological Critiques of the Medical Model

Critical Psychology

Chapter 2: Understanding and Changing Health Behaviours
Cognitive-Behavioural Models of Health Behaviours

Ecological Systems Theory

Community and Structural Interventions

Chapter 3: Culture
Dimensions of Culture

Culture and Illness Experience

Culture and Mental Health

Culture, Body Image and Disordered Eating

Culture and Disability

Health Care as Cultural

Chapter 4: Socio-economic Status
SES and Disease

SES and Mental Health

SES and Disability

Homelessness and Health

Explaining SES Health Inequalities

SES and the Professional-Patient Interaction

Chapter 5: Gender
Gender Disparities in Health

Gender and Sexual Health

Gender, Body Image and Disordered Eating

Gender and Mental Health

Gender and Disability

Chapter 6: Sexuality
Homosexuality and the Mental Health Professions

Homosexuality, Ill-Health and Health Care

'African Sexuality' and HIV/AIDS

Sexuality and People with Disabilities

Chapter 7: Research Methods for a Critical Approach to Clinical and Health Psychology
Different Methods in Qualitative Research


Quality in Qualitative Research


This book extends the ongoing discussion on critical approaches within clinical and health psychology. In particular, it emphasises the need to consider the importance of social and cultural factors in understanding health, illness and disability. With detailed examination of a wide range of empirical studies it demonstrates the vibrancy of contemporary critical psychological research
Michael Murray
Keele University

This book provides an original overview of areas within health and clinical psychology that are frequently overlooked in other textbooks. It is distinctive in three major ways: first, it takes an explicitly critical approach, and therefore locates our current psychological understandings of issues within health and clinical psychology within their broader social and cultural contexts. Second, it considers both physical and mental health simultaneously, which is a major strength. Third, it is unique in its scope and focus. In achieving these distinctive features, this text competently draws on up-to-date research and literature across a range of disciplines and fields in an accessible and engaging manner.

The first three chapters set the scene well and provide a strong conceptual background for subsequent chapters on culture, socioeconomic status, gender and sexuality. Considerations of disability are threaded throughout all of the chapters, and this enables disability to be understood with greater insight in a much more integrated way than is usual in such texts. The book concludes with a chapter providing an informative and accessible overview of research methods that are commonly employed in critical approaches in these fields. Research issues are also considered and woven usefully throughout the text, with in-depth examples of specific research projects on relevant topics provided across the chapters. These will be highly beneficial for students, researchers and practitioners, as they link research methods, current knowledge (and knowledge construction) to implications for theory and practise in health and clinical psychology.

I have no doubt this book will be extremely valuable students, academics, and practitioners working in health and clinical psychology; but is also likely to be highly useful to others working in health-related professions. I personally think it should be a must-read for all those studying and working within the health psychology field!
Dr Antonia Lyons
Massey University, New Zealand

'...the book proved to be interesting and helpful in its illustration of approaches and ways of understanding distress and difficulty'

Simon Easton & Maggie Linnell
University of Portsmouth
Psychology Learning and Teaching

This textbook is easy to read, informative and enables students to grasp the material that will improve their practice. The focus on culture and society brings together both psychological and social perspectives.

Mrs stephanie louise mcguinness
Early, North West Regional College
September 30, 2015

covers all relevant issues and is nicely balanced between health and clinical issues

Miss Kathryn Bould
Dental Institute, King's College London
July 2, 2015

A very good accompanyment to key reading for Social Workers. One to have on the shelves.

Mr David Chaisty
Social Work , Cornwall College
October 22, 2014

Useful supplementary reading for students. I particularly enjoyed the section on Gender and this was covered in greater depth than in other course texts.

Dr Elizabeth Jenkinson
Health and Life Sciences, The University of the West of England
January 30, 2014

This has been an excellent supplementary text for both graduate and undergraduate health psychology courses.

Dr Christopher John Godfrey
Psychology Dept, Pace University
January 13, 2014

Good book. Covers useful issues, providing good background reading for nursing students

Ms Julie Werrett
Health , Birmingham University
October 22, 2013

This is an extremely good text that presents a complexity of relevant information in a condensed, student friendly format

Mr Armin Luthi
Fac of Health & Social Care Sciences, Kingston University
September 23, 2013

Not relevant to the sylabus for first year foundation degree. More suitable for health promotion subjects.

Mrs Alison Cox
Health and Social Care, Merthyr Tydfil College
February 20, 2013

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