Health Psychology

A health psychologist studies how biological, psychological, and social factors affect health and illness. Looks at the medical treatment people seek and get, how patients handle illness, why some people don't follow medical advice, and effective ways to control pain or to change poor health habits. Develops health care strategies that foster emotional and physical well-being. Teams up with medical personnel to provide patients with complete health care, and educates medical staff about psychological problems that may arise from illness and about symptoms that may seem physical but are actually psychological. May develop/implement programs dealing with societal problems, such as teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, risky sexual behaviors, smoking, lack of exercise, and poor diet. Usually requires a doctorate degree.