The World Health Organization (n.d.) identifies health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being (p. 1)


The World Health Organization (n.d.) identifies health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being” (p. 1). This quote refers to the notion that health should not be reduced to a single, biological source; rather, biology must be considered in relation to other psychological and social factors. George Engel, a psychiatrist in the 1970s, developed the biopsychosocial model to avoid the pitfalls of reductionism so often associated with the traditional medical model. A practitioner using the model to diagnose and treat depression might consider the patient’s family history of depression (biological factor), life stressors, such as the loss of a job (psychological factors), and level of social support from family and friends (social factor). In this discussion, you will explore the biopsychosocial model in more detail and how it can be applied to a variety of different health issues.

World Health Organization (n.d.). Constitution of WHO: Principles. Retrieved from

To Prepare

  • Review the article, The Biopsychosocial Model 25 Years Later: Principles, Practice, and Scientific Inquiry. Think about how and why the biopsychosocial model was created. Also, consider the role of a patient’s subjective experience in the diagnosis and treatment of health issues.
  • Review the remaining articles on the biopsychosocial model. Think about how biological, psychological, and social factors affect the health and wellness issues addressed in the articles.
  • Select one health issue from the following list:
    • Migraine headaches
    • Postpartum depression
    • Obesity
    • Substance abuse/addiction
    • Eating Disorder (anorexia, bulimia)
  • Identify biological, psychological, and social factors that contribute to the health issue you selected.
  • Reflect on how the person’s subjective experience may influence the mitigation or severity of the health issue you selected.

Describe the health issue you selected and identify key contributors or factors, based on the biopsychosocial model, that could contribute to the development of the issue (be sure to include all three aspects of the model). Then describe the role of subjective experience and how it could influence the mitigation/severity of the issue.

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