Biopsyhosocial Model versus Biomedical Model of Health

BiopsyhosocialModel versus Biomedical Model of Health

BiopsyhosocialModel versus Biomedical Model of Health


Thebiopsyhosocial model and the biomedical models are major frameworksused in the health care sector. The biopsyhosocial model is based onfour major assumptions that were put forward in 1980s. First, themodel assumes that mental disorder emerge within people who areconsidered to be part of the system (Pilgrim, 2014). Secondly, themodel assumes that the system has different physical elements thatcan be classified as supra-personal and sub-personal elements. Third,the aforementioned physical elements lead to hierarchical nature ofthe system. Lastly, Biopsyhosocial model assumes that wellness andhealth are mainly caused by the interaction of psychological,biological, and socio-cultural elements. The biomedical model is alsobased on four key assumptions. First, the biomedical model assumesthat all illnesses are caused by some agents, such as virus,parasites, or germs. Secondly, the biomedical model assumes thatdiseases are universal biopsychosocialorbiological entities that result from dysfunctions or somatic lesions(Varnekar, 2014). Third, the model assumes that the body should beregarded as a unique machine, which means that patients are thepassive target for medical intervention. Lastly, the restoration ofhealth calls for the use of advanced scientific procedures andmedical technology.

Majorcauses of death and the determination of the suitable model

Trendsshow that many health care providers are coming to an agreement thatthe majority of the killer diseases, especially the chronic ones canbe attributed to a complex interaction of psychological, biological,and socio-cultural elements (Varnekar, 2014). This has contributedtowards the increase in the popularity of the biopsychosocialmodel compared to the biomedical model. The health care providers whoare inclined to the application of the biopsychosocial model becausethey are convinced that chronic disease that are currently theleading causes of death can be associated with the implications ofstress, environment, social, and biological factors.

Modelthat lenders itself readily to research

Althoughthe two models, biopsychosocial model and the biomedical models havetheir supporters in the health care sector, the biopsychosocial modelrenders itself readily to research than the biomedical model. This isbecause the biopsychosocial model gives a broader approach to thestudy of wellness and diseases, which means that the stakeholders inthe health care sector have more factors study and determine therelationship of these factors to illnesses. For example, thebiopsychosocial model assumes that diseases are caused by manyfactors that include stress, environment, social, and biologicalfactors (Varnekar,2014).This means that medical researcher should research on each of thesefactors to determine the mechanisms trough which they cause diseasesand how efforts to address them can increase wellness.

Factorsconsidered during diagnosis

Physiciansor psychologists consider different factors when making diagnosisdepending on the health model that they uphold. For example,physicians and psychologists who uphold the biomedical model arelikely to consider the possibility of a pathogenic infection,dysfunctional biochemical pathways, and other physiological aspectsof illness when making diagnosis (Boyd,2015). Physiciansand psychologists who uphold the biopsychosocial model are likely toconsider multiple factors, including psychological,biological, and socio-cultural elements. This means that health careprofessionals who use the biopsychosocialmodel will consider more possible causes of a disease than those whouse the biomedical model to make diagnosis.

Strengthsand drawbacks

Someof the key strengths of the biopsychosocial model include the factthat the model considers a smaller picture of the biologicalchallenges at the individual level (Varnekar,2014). Inaddition, the biopsychosocial model focuses more on all-rounddevelopment, maintenance, and cure for the three major factors,including social, biological, and psychological. Moreover the modelpromotes social interactions since it does only focus on pathogens asthe causes of diseases. However, the model has several drawbacks thathave reduced its usefulness to some extent. For example, theassumption that all mental illnesses are biopsychosocial has resultedin stigmatization of the mentally ill people. In addition, criticsalso hold that incorrect behavior (including anti-social behavior)may not be considered to be medical conditions.

Thebiomedical model has three major benefits. First, it is considered asthe most scientific model, which has increased its popularity.Secondly, the model has been associated with higher rate ofsuccessful therapy (Boyd,2015). Themajor drawback of the biomedical model is that it ignores thepossible effects of the environmental factors in determining wellnessand occurrence of diseases.

Inconclusion, the biopsychosocialmodel and biomedical model are useful in the health care sector.However, the biopsychosocial modelhelps the health care providers to consider more factors whendiagnosing diseases. The primary difference between the two models isthat thebiopsychosocial model considers the impact of the environmentalfactors.


Boyd,N. (2015). Assessing the biological model: Strengths and weaknesses.Study.Retrieved August 12, 2015, from

Pilgrim,D. (2014). Thebiopsychosocial model in Angro-American psychiatry.Merseyside: University of Liverpool.

Varnekar,V. (2014). Advantages and disadvantages of the biopsychosocial model.Buzzle.Retrieved August 12, 2015, from