Testing the biopsychosocial model: The ultimate challenge facing behavioral medicine?

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192 Scopus citations


Proposes that the ultimate challenge facing behavioral medicine is the empirical testing of the biopsychosocial model. Drawing upon S. C. Pepper's (1942) philosophy of science writings, the author illustrates the formistic, mechanistic, contextual, and organistic ways of thinking about health and illness. It is suggested that single-category, single-cause, single-effect models of health and illness are being replaced by multicategory, multicause, multieffect models and that this reflects a major paradigm shift in science in general. Basic aspects of systems theory are applied to the 4 major definitions of behavioral medicine and the 4 major stages of clinical research. The Patient Evaluation Grid is used to highlight how clinical data can be collected biopsychosocially. The emerging roles of psychology as the "middle" discipline and medicine as a biopsychosocial profession are considered in relation to medical education and the practice of behavioral medicine. (31 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1040-1053
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1982


  • empirical testing of biopsychosocial model as ultimate challenge facing behavioral medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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