Medical Psychology

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Medical Psychology


the branch of psychology that studies the role of the mind in the origin, manifestation, and course of human diseases and in the restoration of health.

The first attempts to provide a foundation for medical psychology were made by the 19th-century German psychologist and philosopher R. H. Lotze. The most highly developed aspect of medical psychology is abnormal psychology (psychopathology), the study of changes in the mind accompanying both somatic and psychogenic diseases (neuroses and reactive states).

The methods of medical psychology, which do not differ in principle from the methods of general psychology, vary depending on the character of the disease. However, medical psychology emphasizes the anamnesis—the analysis of the patient’s past experiences, from youth until the onset of the disease. The painfulness of the experience, the insoluble character of the pathogenic situation, the duration of traumatic stress—all of these factors can be understood and explained only by taking into account the individual features of the personality and character of the patient.

Further development of medical psychology has led to the formation of such branches as clinical psychophysiology (clinical psychosomatology), clinical neuropsychology, psychological defectology, and pathological pedagogy. Medical psychology is the basis for psychotherapy and mental hygiene.


Lebedinskii, M. S., and V. N. Miasishchev. Vvedenie v meditsinskuiu psikhologiiu. Leningrad, 1966.
Banshchikov, V. M., V. S. Gus’kov, and I. F. Miagkov. Meditsinskaia psikhologiia. Moscow, 1967.
Zeigarnik, B. V. Vvedenie v patopsikhologiiu. Moscow, 1969.
Tonkonogii, I. M. Vvedenie v klinicheskuiu neiropsikhologiiu. Leningrad, 1973.
Zilboorg, G., and G. W. Henry. History of Medical Psychology. New York-London, 1941.
Yacorzynski, G. K. Medical Psychology. New York, 1951.
Destunis, G. Einführung in die medizinische Psychologie (Für Mediziner und Psychologen). Berlin, 1955.
Kretschmer, E. Medizinische Psychologie, 12th ed. Stuttgart, 1963.
Handbook of Clinical Psychology. Edited by B. B. Wolman. New York, 1965.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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