The Biopsychosocial Model

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The Biopsychosocial model (Suls & Rothman, 2004) is one of the earliest multi-dimensional models of the health field. This model demonstrates the interaction between biological and social factors in regard to disease analysis. It displays levels above and below a person arranged from global systems at the top and genetic systems at the bottom. In the Social and Behavioral Foundations of Public Health, Coreil (2010) describes how the biopsychosocial is more concerned with the biological systems within the human body and pays greater attention to this interplay. In the case study, Cockerham (2013) details how social conditions act as the ultimate causes of diabetes and diabetes related fatalities in the community of East Harlem. These social…show more content…
Cockerham (2013) addresses this when he refers to the Asian population in the city. Society plays a big role because it addresses day to day norms and essentially culture that the population participates in. In this example, Chinese immigrants to the city adapt to the American lifestyle, albeit an unhealthy one. This includes a sedentary lifestyle, high-calorie processed food, more snacking and less exercise. In order to acclimate to the new country, they turned down their traditional food, portion size, and even exercise schedule. This illustrates how the influence of society can be detrimental to health when individuals want to follow the “norms”. The interpersonal level of the model is the influence of relationships between people. Family dynamics are key here. It is not inaccurate to conclude that in East Harlem, the lack of resources impacts families. Most likely they all eat unhealthy, are sedentary, are stressed and do not have access to adequate health care. People influence others and individuals see others in their community yet alone their family making unhealthy decisions they will more likely do the same. Such as the Asian community devaluing their Chinese culture as family for more American attitudes. They are influenced by others (advertisements, friends, neighbors) and take up bad…show more content…
In the East Harlem community, many people devalued the severity of diabetes due to personal aspects. For example, one woman said how her life is too stressful to worry about the illness. The toll of living high demand-low control lives is greater in the lesser affluent neighborhoods. Their daily lives are often too hectic for them to participate in a healthier lifestyle. Diabetes adds to this stress because residents voiced that the out of control sugar levels made them more stressed. Individual emotional and physical choices play a crucial role in health and even more so in lower socio-economic neighborhoods. The biological level in terms of diabetes would be the genetic influence Cockerham (2013) addressed. The biological element at play is the TCF7L2 variant gene. This gene increases the diabetes risk but depends on heredity. However, presence itself doesn’t mean diabetes. But because diabetes is growing so rapidly in New York City genetics alone is not a factor. Overall, the biopsychosocial model represents how a disease is a mixture of social and biological factors not just one. They both impact health and are influenced by each other. For example, social aspects can activate biological traits and biological features can be influenced by social (environment)
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