Health Psychology Topic Ideas

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Health psychology, also known as medical psychology or behavioral medicine, focuses on how biology, psychology, behavior, and social factors influence health and well-being. It's a diverse and rich field worth exploring if you're studying to be a health professional and have an assignment that requires doing research or writing a paper.

Health Psychology Research and Paper Topic Ideas

Next time you're looking for a research topic for your studies and would like to focus on health psychology, consider the suggestions that follow. These can be the inspiration for an experiment, a research paper, or any other type of class project. Before you begin, make sure the topic you're interested in is in keeping with the specific assignment. Even if your instructor doesn't require you to get approval for your intended topic, it's always a good idea to run it by them before you delve too deeply into your research.

Of course, make sure you've chosen a subject that you know you'll be able to find appropriate sources for. You wouldn't want to commit to a project only to find that there's not enough existing information to work with. Again, input from your instructor can prevent you from wasting time on a topic that offers little to go on.

Exercise and Eating Behavior Topic Ideas

  • Explore some of the psychological strategies that can help people stick to a diet and exercise program. Is there any singular strategy that is more effective than others?
  • Analyze how media depictions of "ideal" bodies influence anorexia and bulimia. Is there a link between exposure to these images and eating disorders?

Family Health and Safety Topic Ideas

  • Explore how increased public awareness of infant safety, such as placing an infant on their back to sleep, or removing pillows and other objects from the sleeping area, have influenced the occurrence of SIDS, or "crib death." Has the number of SIDS-related deaths gone down? Why do some parents ignore these sleep safety guidelines?
  • Assess current approaches to childhood immunizations. Why do some parents choose not to immunize their children? How does this impact public health? What can health professionals do to increase the likelihood that kids are immunized?
  • Explore the factors that contribute to teen suicide. How effective are suicide prevention programs?
  • Look at the emotional, social, and psychological impact of caregiving, such as taking care of an aging parent, a family member with AIDS, or a spouse diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Public Health Topic Ideas

  • What can mental health and medical professionals do to help people cope in the immediate aftermath of a disaster? Are there any strategies that result in better long-term outcomes?
  • Research the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among veterans. What factors contribute to whether an individual veteran experiences PTSD? Which mental health interventions are most effective in treating this disorder?
  • Evaluate how stress management techniques and relaxation methods can help patients experiencing chronic pain. How effective are these tactics? How do they compare to traditional pharmacological approaches to pain management?
  • Compare and contrast different approaches to smoking cessation. Which strategies are the most effective?
  • Look at different techniques that can be used to increase the likelihood that people will use safety equipment such as seat belts and bicycle helmets. What type of public safety program would you devise to encourage the use of these products?
5 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Ian Lubek, Monica Ghabrial, Naomi Ennis, et al. Notes on the development of health psychology and behavioral medicine in the United States. J Health Psychol. 2018;23(3):492-505. doi:10.1177/1359105318755156

  2. Naumann E, Tuschen-Caffier B, Voderholzer U, Schäfer J, Svaldi J. Effects of emotional acceptance and rumination on media-induced body dissatisfaction in anorexia and bulimia nervosa. J Psychiatr Res. 2016;82:119-125. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2016.07.021

  3. McNeil DA, Mueller M, MacDonald S, et al. Maternal perceptions of childhood vaccination: Explanations of reasons for and against vaccination. BMC Public Health. 2019;19(1):49. doi:10.1186/s12889-018-6338-0

  4. Shen S, Cheng C, Yang J, Yang S. Visualized analysis of developing trends and hot topics in natural disaster research. PLoS One. 2018;13(1):e0191250. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0191250

  5. Renshaw KD. An integrated model of risk and protective factors for post-deployment PTSD symptoms in OEF/OIF era combat veterans. J Affect Disord. 2011;128(3):321-326. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2010.07.022

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd
Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."