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California State University, Long Beach
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Health Psychology

Health Psychology (also known as Medical Psychology or Behavioral Medicine) is a scientific discipline which examines how biological characteristics (e.g., immune system, genetics), behavioral factors (e.g., lifestyle, coping skills, health beliefs), psychological factors (e.g., stress, personality, self-efficacy) and social conditions (e.g., cultural influences, social support) interact to influence health and illness. Health Psychology faculty in our department are conducting innovative research in a number of applied settings and with diverse populations that include:

  • Identification of disease risk: studies designed to identify biological, behavioral, and/or psychosocial risk factors that either lead to increased disease susceptibility or help to improve one’s health risk status
  • Health promotion and disease prevention: studies designed to identify efficacious strategies for promoting health and preventing disease onset among at-risk individuals or communities; includes the development and evaluation of individual, group, and structural level interventions
  • Psychosocial adjustment to chronic illness: studies designed to examine factors associated with the recovery, rehabilitation, and/or psychological adjustment of patients with serious health conditions (e.g., HIV, diabetes, chronic pain)


  • James Amirkhan, Ph.D. (Professor): Assessing individual differences and psychosocial factors contributing to the etiology of disease; Stress and coping; Attribution theory
  • Chi-Ah Chun, Ph.D. (Professor): Cultural variations in stress and coping; Asian-American health; Health services and treatment outcomes for ethnic minorities
  • Guido Urizar, Ph.D. (Professor): Behavioral medicine in community-based settings; Cardiac psychology; Maternal & infant health; Psychoneuroendocrinology

The Masters in Psychological Research (MAPR) Program is a two-year, full time program which offers students an opportunity to gain research training and experience with Health Psychology faculty and helps prepare students for entry to doctoral programs. A doctoral degree in Health Psychology provides students with opportunities for careers in medical, community, and academic settings.