The Biopsychosocial Model of Health

Topic: Psychological Principles
Words: 973 Pages: 3


The biopsychosocial (BPS) perspective posited in 1977 by George Engel was considered one of the biggest advancements realized in the field of psychiatry and medicine. Under the biomedical perception, sicknesses were regarded as having physiological aetiologies only diagnosed through precise biochemical markers and subsequently treated via physical interventions (Tripathi et al., 2019). Previously, psychiatry management embraced the biomedical concept as a way of treating mental challenges through pharmacological strategies targeting biological instabilities. The BPS model refers to the social, psychological, and biological factors that play a critical role in disease treatment and causation. From Engel’s model, all the above factors are intertwined and influence an individual’s well-being. Moreover, when a person is depressed, it leads to detachment from family and friends or even neglect self-care, affecting their social and physical wellness.

Advantages of the BPS Model Over Other Standalone Approaches

The BPS model wields more significance in the modern comprehension of mental health challenges. Towards the beginning of the 20th century, the BPS perspective inferred some important advantages. Some of the benefits of this model over other standalone approaches include changing the manner of hypothesizing “illness,” and providing opportunities for psychiatrists to be more integrative and holistic in their strategy for handling illness. The concept also allows for a humanistic method in the management of health care. First, the BPS model has transformed the way of hypothesizing illness since it does not believe that a disease is just caused by bacteria or viruses. However, it encourages better social and psychological interaction (Tramonti et al., 2021). Moreover, it promotes social support, resulting in the advancement of community-based living, which in turn has a net effect on the overall well-being of society.

Second, the BPS concept has installed a novel approach to researching mental health by providing an inclusive and nuanced comprehension of mental health determinants, encompassing specific attention to the client-doctor relationship. A doctor needs to be familiar with how his or her communication with a patient impacts the diagnosis of the illness. Therefore, this perspective instills a patient-centered approach coupled with a rejuvenated emphasis on the significance of doctor-patient relations (Tramonti et al., 2021). The view permits a multidisciplinary orientation to the treatment of mental challenges. It brings together psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, social welfare officers, psychologists, etc. to participate in the care of a patient. The tactic combined with a tailored approach to the client’s needs ultimately results in enhanced quality of care compared to other standalone concepts that aim to offer a single-care-suits-all model. Third, the BPS concept allows for a humanistic method in the management of health care. Today, the approach is the theoretical status quo that fortifies the World Health Organization’s description of health (Frazier, 2020). Engel’s approach introduced a novel manner of conceptualizing mental health challenges and creating changes within research, medical practice, and teaching.

Psychological Risk Factors

Avoidance Behavior

Avoidance and escape are some of the most prevailing aspects that lead to social anxiety disorder. Mike manifests avoidance and escapes behavior by isolating themself from roommates, declining invitations, and skipping classes. Avoidance enhances anxiety through the negative reinforcement process – a reward with relief from nervousness (Frazier, 2020). Mike gets relief from his avoidance practices, making him believe the move will lower anxiety and regains control of the prevailing situation.


The case shows the levels of depression experienced by Mike. Being twenty years old, he already has enough problems to deal with. The psychological aspects in Mike’s case that drive up the depression encompass deep thoughts and perceptions about the environment or experiences. These cognitive trends act together to impact the apparent sense of regulator of Mike’s environment (Tramonti et al., 2021). Moreover, the cognitive patterns also help to evaluate and interpret the events leading to the development of Mike’s social anxiety disorder.

High Levels of Stress

Mike experiences considerable amounts of stress to levels that might make him flunk out of school. Intense stress is a key aspect of generating anxiety disorder. Stress can trigger frustrations and nervousness which in turn result in a feeling of fear, unease, or worry (Tripathi et al., 2019). The situation of high stress plays out in how Mike spends much of his time in the dormitory playing video games while also having a difficult moment identifying what, if anything, is entertaining on a normal day. Moreover, he hardly attends class and does not bother contacting his lecturers to save his grades.


Nervousness is displayed in three ways; the thinking or cognitive level, behavioral level, and psychological level. All these three conditions play a serious role in developing anxiety although they differ from one person to another. The thinking element leads to the development of anxiety by reflecting on how an individual interprets a situation (Tripathi et al., 2019). For instance, when individual thoughts focus on bad outcomes, then they might experience dread, worry, and trepidation. Mike is not only shy but also keeps on worrying about what people perceive of him.

Low Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem and anxiety are fundamentally one construct that should be intellectualized as the different poles of one dimension. Low self-esteem reduces self-confidence and creates some level of unease that in turn leads to nervousness in an individual (Frazier, 2020). Mike experiences serious low self-esteem to the level that he feels escaping from the public is the best solution to finding relief. For instance, he ignores phone calls, isolates, and skips classes.


In conclusion, the BPS model of health has gained considerable acceptance in well-being psychology. Engel’s model posits that an individual’s biological, psychological, and social factors are all entangled and impact a person’s health. Based on the presented case study, five psychological factors have been identified to be contributing as serve risk factors for the development of his social anxiety disorder; depression, avoidance, stress, nervousness, and low self-esteem.


Frazier, L. D. (2020). The past, present, and future of the biopsychosocial model: A review of the biopsychosocial model of health and disease: New philosophical and scientific developments by Derek Bolton and Grant Gillett. New Ideas in Psychology, 57(1), 1-4. Web.

Tramonti, F., Giorgi, F., & Fanali, A. (2021). Systems thinking and the biopsychosocial approach: A multilevel framework for patient‐centred care. Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 38(2), 215-230. Web.

Tripathi, A., Das, A., & Kar, S. K. (2019). Biopsychosocial model in contemporary psychiatry: Current validity and future prospects. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 41(6), 582-585. Web.

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