The Biomedical Model and the Biopsychosocial Model in Medicine

Authored by: Fred Gifford

The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Medicine

Print publication date:  October  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138846791
eBook ISBN: 9781315720739
Adobe ISBN: 9781317519850


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The “biomedical model” (BMM) and the “biopsychosocial model” (BPSM) are contrasting conceptual models or frameworks that organize our thoughts, knowledge, and experience in medicine and clinical practice. The BMM has been the dominant model, understanding disease and clinical knowledge and practice in terms of biomedical science, and the BPSM was put forward, especially in the writings of George Engel (Engel 1977, 1981), as a criticism and corrective, urging more serious inclusion of psychological and social factors into our thinking. This chapter discusses both models, with emphasis on the latter.

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