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Psychology for Medicine

Psychology for Medicine

552 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
This first of its kind comprehensive textbook covers all the psychology you need to know as an undergraduate medical student. The authors show the importance of applied psychological theory and evidence to medicine, and offer enough depth on the subject to span your entire degree. Psychology for Medicine is a unique mix of psychological theory and evidence with implications for clinical practice, clinical tips and case studies.

After an introduction, the text is split into four key sections that should suit all curricula:

  • Psychology and Health covers core health psychology topics such as stress, symptom perception, health behavior and chronic illness.
  • Basic Foundations of Psychology covers topics from biological, developmental, cognitive and social psychology that are relevant to medicine.
  • Body Systems covers psychological research specific to body systems, including cardiovascular, respiratory, gastro-intestinal, immunology and reproduction.
  • Healthcare Practice covers clinical skills and practice, including chapters on evidence-based medicine, communication skills and psychological intervention.

With a full color text design, each chapter follows the same accessible format which includes summaries, learning objectives, case studies, research examples, applications to clinical practice, further reading and short answer questions. They include the latest psychological theory and research evidence.

Psychology and Medicine
Psychology and medicine

What is Health?

Why is Psychology Important?

Different Approaches to Medicine

Motivation, Emotion and Health

Motivation & Health


Emotion & Health

Stress and Health
What is Stress?

Stress & Health

Stress in Medicine

Managing Stress

Symptoms and Illness
Symptom Perception


Placebo & Nocebo Effects

Illness Beliefs & Representations

Health and Behaviour
Predicting & Changing Health Behaviour

Health Belief Model

Theory of Planned Behaviour

Transtheoretical Model

PRIME Theory

Chronic Illness, Death and Dying
Chronic Illness

Psychological Intervention

Death & Dying

Death & Medical Practice

Brain and Behaviour
Components & Organisation of the Nervous System

Communication Between Neurons

Structure of the Brain & Central Nervous System

Control of Movement

Sleep, Consciousness & Bological Cocks

Development across the Lifespan



Old Age

Social Context

Self Pychology

Individuals & Goups


Prosocial Bhaviour

Learning, Perception and Memory




Immunity and Protection
Infection, Iflammation & Imunity

Psychological Apects of Imune Dsorders



Cardiovascular and Respiratory
Cardiovascular Halth

Respiratory Halth

Psychological Fctors & the GI Sstem

Lifestyle & GI health

GI Dsorders

Reproduction and Endocrinology

Endocrine Disorders & Psychosocial Well-Being

Sexual Health

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Prostate & Testicular Cancer

Urinary Incontinence & Renal Failure

Psychiatry and Neuropsychological Rehabilitation

Diagnosis & Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders

Neurological Disorders

Neuropsychological Assessment & Rehabilitation

Evidence-Based Medicine
Evidence-Based medicine

Adherence to Treatment

Doctor-Patient Communication

Clinical Interviewing
How We Communicate

Clinical Interviewing

Difficult Interviews

Giving Bad News

Psychological Intervention
What Do Psychologists Do?

Which Therapy is Best?

Psychological Intervention in Medical Settings


As the fundamental importance of psychological aspects of medical practice becomes ever more evident, and a correspondingly greater knowledge of psychology is required of medical graduates by bodies such as the UK General Medical Council, books like this one must become essential reading for all medical students.

Michael Sharpe MD, FRCP FRCPsych,
Professor of Psychological Medicine, University of Edinburgh

A welcome text that fulfills a niche for books on behavioural and social sciences written for medical students. Other books provide an introductory overview but a more detailed textbook is needed which clearly demonstrates a contemporary evidence base for the role of psychology in medicine. The book achieves this. The systems based approach and the focus on psychological skills are also welcomed.

Judith Anne Rock???
Undergraduate School of Medicine, Keele University

It's a great textbook, the application to Medicine is nicely outlined and the case studies illustrating the points further are brilliant. It's easy to read and follow and really highlights the importance of Psychology in Medicine. I will definitely be recommending this text to my students!

Dr Harbinder Sandhu???
Health Psychology Institute of Clinical Education,???? University of Warwick

At last, a good comprehensive textbook on psychology for medical students. I'll be sure to recommend this to my students.

Katie Lock???
Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University

This is a very complete book, giving overview on psychology in medicine on a broad scope. The essence is brought and accompanied with practical examples. So, in short, to get an overview, its a perfect book.
And that's also it's limitation. I was studying this book for a opportunity to use it in a more public health oriented course. And in that perspective, the information is too small.
An excellent book for 101 courses on academic level.

Mr Hugo Stappers
Faculty of Medical Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen
October 7, 2015

This is a really good book for those either teaching psychology to clinicians or for clinicians who are studying psychology as relevant to their field. Each chapter is comprehensively laid out with a list of contents, learning objectives, activities and revision questions as well as case studies, clinical notes and examples of applied research. Different sections justify the relevance of psychology to health and consider basic aspects of psychology as well as illustrating the relevance of psychology to body systems and healthcare practice. These different perspectives allow one to broach this topic from a variety of directions with helpful cross-referencing to facilitate remedial learning if required.

Dr Andrea Waylen
Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, Bristol University
November 4, 2015

Highly informative and relevant for many health students. Addressed a "gap" in the market.

Dr Peter Leadbetter
Health & Social Care, Edge Hill University
June 8, 2015

Great introduction to psychological theory for medicine

Miss Kathryn Bould
Dental Institute, King's College London
March 5, 2015

Excellent book for an introduction to psychology for medical students who may well be unaware of psychological concepts.

Dr Jasmine Hearn
The Department of Psychology, The University of Buckingham
January 6, 2015

This is a great book, and I'm glad it is presenting psychology for a healthcare audience (not just medicine I think) in an colourful and attractive way.

However, my students on this module have a background of two years in psychology prior to this module and it is not quite right for their needs. I would wholeheartedly recommend it if the audience were medical students or those of another healthcare discipline (e.g. nursing).

Dr Francis Quinn
School of Applied Social Studies, Robert Gordon University
November 13, 2013

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: Psychology and Medicine

Susan Ayers

Susan AyersSusan is a psychologist specialising in wellbeing and mental health during pregnancy and after birth. She is a professor at City, University of London in the School of Health Sciences, a chartered health psychologist and cognitive behaviour therapist. Since obtaining her PhD from the University of London, Susan worked at St. George's Hospital Medical School (London) and Brighton and Sussex Medical School (Sussex) before moving to City, University of London. Susan is co-author of Psychology for Medicine (2011), and Psychology for Medicine and Healthcare (Sage, 2017) and editor of the Cambridge Handbook of Psychology, Health and... More About Author

Richard de Visser

Dr Richard de Visser has been working in the fields of health psychology and public health for 25 years.  He is Reader in Psychology at Brighton & Sussex Medical School and the School of Psychology at the University of Sussex, where has received awards for his individual and group teaching.  He was co-author of Psychology for Medicine (Sage, 2011) and Psychology for Medicine and Healthcare (Sage, 2017). Richard completed a BSc in psychology at the University of Melbourne, and a PhD at the Australian Research centre in Sex, Health & Society. He then undertook post-doctoral work at Birkbeck College, University of... More About Author