Health psychology in primary care: recent research and future directions
Stephen Thielke1, Alexander Thompson2, Richard Stuart3
1Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Puget Sound VA Medical Center, Seattle, WA, USA; 2Group Health Cooperative, Seattle, WA, USA; 3Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
Abstract: Over the last decade, research about health psychology in primary care has reiterated its contributions to mental and physical health promotion, and its role in addressing gaps in mental health service delivery. Recent meta-analyses have generated mixed results about the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of health psychology interventions. There have been few studies of health psychology interventions in real-world treatment settings. Several key challenges exist: determining the degree of penetration of health psychology into primary care settings; clarifying the specific roles of health psychologists in integrated care; resolving reimbursement issues; and adapting to the increased prescription of psychotropic medications. Identifying and exploring these issues can help health psychologists and primary care providers to develop the most effective ways of applying psychological principles in primary care settings. In a changing health care landscape, health psychologists must continue to articulate the theories and techniques of health psychology and integrated care, to put their beliefs into practice, and to measure the outcomes of their work.
Keywords: health psychology, primary care, integrated care, collaborative care, referral, colocation
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