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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Biopsychosocial Model in Psychological Studies

In tradition, the biomedical model is commonly used by scientists to study diseases and disorders with emphasis on individuals’ biological factors including the genetic materials and physiological function and structure.  Today many researchers have come to recognize that aspects of individuals such as their histories, social relationships, lifestyles, personalities, mental processes, and biological processes should be considered in a full conceptualization of risk factors for mental disorders.  As a result, the biopsychosocial model has emerged as an alternative to the biomedical approach to address holistic aspects of biological, psychological, and social systems each interrelated with and producing changes in the others (Sarafino & Smith, 2011).

The core concept of biopsychosocial model is that abnormal behavior and mental disorder can be understood and treated more completely if considerations are given to the biological, psychological, and sociocultural aspects of a person’s problem rather than only one of them.  Based on this model, the biopsychosocial theories have been developed to study mental disorder including schizophrenia.  Many studies confirmed that “abnormality results from the interaction of genetic, biological, developmental, emotional, behavioral, cognitive, social, cultural, and societal influences”  (Comer, 2010, p. 79).

According to biopsychosocial model, health and illness influence and result from the interplay of biological, psychological, and social aspects of people’s lives.  Biopsychosocial model may be thought as an extension of the biomedical model because by adding a person’s background to the biomedical perspective, a different and broader picture of the person’s health and illness can be perceived with connections of biological factors to psychological and social factors (Sarafino & Smith, 2011).  The biopsychosocial model weighs all three factors to assess how they affect and interact with people’s health.


Comer, R. J. (2010). Abnormal psychology (8th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

Sarafino, E. P. & Smith, T. W. (2011). Health psychology: Biopsychosocial interactions (7th ed.).  Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

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