Biomedical v. Psychosocial Health Models


Holistic medicine also referred to as integrative medicine is an art of healing that addresses the mind-body and soul. The American healthcare system has evolved in such a manner that individuals are looking for alternatives to the conventional health model, i.e., the biomedical model. Integrative medicine is slowly becoming a desirable option for many individuals. This paper aims to compare the preference of biomedical and psychosocial models of health among physicians.

Biomedical versus Psychosocial Model of Health

A model of health is defined as a conceptual framework or a way of thinking about health. The two types of health models mainly include the biomedical and psychosocial models. All these models are essential in delivering holistic care. However, it is noted that in many instances, medical practitioners focus more on the organ-based perspective of an illness (biomedical model) than the emotional aspect (psychosocial model). The preference can be attributed to two main reasons. The biomedical model of health has been the dominant theory in Western medicine since the eighteenth century, and it grows stronger with the improvements in medical science (Lane, 2014). This is because the model is associated with improved quality of life and prolongation of life expectancy. The biomedical model is the medical science of diagnosing and curing disease. Therefore, diseases that develop and cause considerable illness are stopped, and death is avoided.

Moreover, in many countries, the biomedical model is predominant by the individuals in charge of allocating health care funds, i.e., it receives the majority of government healthcare funding (Wade & Halligan, 2017). Therefore, this will determine the type of clinical care that will be provided by medical professionals.


Although there is an increasing preference among people for holistic medicine, most physicians still use the biomedical health approach. This is mainly because the biomedical model is associated with a better physical health outcome.


  1. Lane, D. (2014). Is it possible to bridge the biopsychosocial and biomedical models? BioPsychoSocial Medicine, 8 (3). doi: 10.1186/1751-0759-8-3
  2. Wade, D. T., & Halligan, P. W. (2017). The biopsychosocial model of illness: A model whose time has come. Clinical Rehabilitation, 31 (8), 995-1004.