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Pyc4811 Assignment 1

1471 words - 6 pages

PYC4811
Assignment 1- 657794
Student Number- 55560296

Community Psychology and Public Health’s
Approaches to Social Problems

Introduction
Community Psychology and Public Health models both cover the same ground but with key differences
in the explanation of causes and influences on mental illness. Community psychology has a primary focus
on understanding, and working with, people in their wider social context. Public Health on the other hand
is concerned with preventing disease and distress of all forms before they occur (Tutorial Letter 102 for
PYC4811, 2015). It attempts through scientific investigation to understand such links between the socioenvironmental context and the ...view middle of the document...

The History of Community Psychology and Public Health
The reason of development of both disciplines goes hand in hand with each other in the sense of the
realisation that the wider socio-environmental variables plays a leading role in the development of
diseases. Thus community psychology movement developed in the U.S.A. during an era when there was
growing concern about both the lack of resources and treatment facilities and the impact of social systems

on the human psyche (Tutorial Letter 102 for PYC4811, 2015). Psychologists and other helping
professionals began to take note of the effects of social variables like poverty and alienation on mental
health’ (Tutorial Letter 102 for PYC4811, 2015). Similarly the public health movement of nineteenthcentury England and America was stimulated by unhealthy social conditions in both industrialised urban
and rural areas and therefore emerged as 'social action' to combat the spread of infectious diseases
(Gilbert, 1995).
Purposes and goals and contributions of both disciplines
Both of these disciplines are aimed at primary prevention which is seen as being “far less resource
intensive and costly” (Guernina, 1995). They both share the ultimate purpose, which is they both divert
their attention from the individual to the community. Public health and its emphasis of prevention have
deeply influenced the field of community psychology. This is pointed out by George Albee (Guernina,
1995), one of the founding fathers of community psychology, “I learnt something about the field of public
health and how successful it has been in eliminating some of the great plagues that have inflicted human
kind over centuries, not through individual treatment but through successful efforts at prevention”
(Guernina, 1995).
The Models of Community Psychology and Public Health
Both disciplines differ in their theories of pathology. Public health is based on shift from the biomedical
model that focuses on the impact of medicine in the elimination of disease to the psycho-socioenvironmental model that focuses on the promotion and maintenance of health through socioenvironmental and behavioural changes (Gilbert, 1995). Community psychology differs in that it believes
the development of pathology is the result the oppressive socio/politico/economical structures and
systems (Guernina, 1995). Pathology is the result of an individual being forced to survive in an
environment of poverty and violence all of which lead to maladaptive behaviour developing in order to
cope with these environments (Gilbert, 1995). Both public health and community psychology are each

based on four different models. Public health concerns itself with the physical and tangible changes
within the environment such as sanitation and hygiene and the regulation of the food industry as well as
health services (Tutorial Letter 102 for PYC4811, 2015). In contrast community psychology concentrates
mainly on the development of economic...

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