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Health Psychology

Health Psychology is a newly developed and important area of research, teaching, and clinical practice. The emergence of Health Psychology as a critical discipline for worldwide health is founded on the confluence of several factors. First, changing patterns of mortality and morbidity forced the recognition among researchers, practitioners, and social policy planners that behavior is a primary determinant of death and disease. Second, conceptual advances that emerged from empirical research gave rise to plausible theories of how psychological factors, behavior, and physiological processes can interact to produce both positive and negative health states. Third, technological advances continue to permit enhanced measurement of biobehavioral processes. Finally, empirically supported interventions targeting biobehavioral disorders (e.g., cognitive-behavioral treatments for headache, pain, insomnia, movement disorders, psychophysiological disorders) have been recently developed, refined, and published.

A student who wishes to pursue a career in Health Psychology will need to acquire a broad range of knowledge and practical skills in: Psychological and behavioral assessment, psychophysiology, clinical research methods, statistics, the design and implementation of empirically supported interventions, and biomedical practice (e.g. familiarity with basic anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, medical interventions, and the organizational structure of medical environments). Envisioning the need for developing a specialization in Health Psychology, we created a training program that is designed to graduate scientist-practitioners who will contribute to the public well-being through active research, teaching, and clinical service. The central components of this training program are outlined below.

Concentrating in Health Psychology

The Health Psychology specialization is offered to students accepted into the APA-approved clinical training program in the Department of Psychology at Bowling Green State University. Graduate students wishing to specialize in Health Psychology must complete all of the standard requirements for receiving a Ph. D. in Clinical Psychology at BGSU. Additionally, they must:

  • conduct a research project (Master's Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation) that tests biobehavioral hypotheses,
  • participate in the Health Psychology research group for at least one year,
  • complete a one year clinical externship in a Health Psychology setting,
  • complete advanced assessment, therapy, and research seminars in Health Psychology or a closely related area, and        
  • complete a one year predoctoral internship that offers a substantive training in the area.   

Concentration Coordinator: - William O'Brien Ph. D., ABPP .

Core Faculty Members:

- Robert Carels, Ph. D.
- William H. O'Brien, Ph. D.
- Harold Rosenberg, Ph.D.

Lab Websites:

-Healthy Living Research Group
-Mindful Behavior Therapies and Psychophysiology Lab