The study of clinical health psychology has emerged as a major exciting focus for clinical psychologists. The clinical health focus is conceived within a broader general focus in health psychology and is further facilitated by multidisciplinary work with physicians, sociologists, biologists, and health educators. Students choosing the clinical health focus take specialized courses and do specialized clinical work in addition to their core courses. By combining clinical health psychology with these other areas students receive a broader focus and can sub-specialize in a specific area of health within this broader context.
The Clinical Health Psychology area is part of a broad Health Psychology program within the Department of Psychology at Kent State. Our health psychology program is unusual in that health psychology faculty across areas work together and graduate students often choose mentors outside their own training program. So, some Experimental students have Clinical faculty mentors and some Clinical students have mentors from the Experimental faculty. Many graduate students have secondary mentors that cross sub-disciplinary lines.
Research Training in Clinical Health Psychology
Clinical health psychology research is broadly defined as investigation into the interaction between psychological and physical health. It can focus on how diseases impact people psychologically or how psychological processes impact disease. Work can range from laboratory to medical/health to community settings. The training for the specialization in clinical health psychology involves engagement in research, in collaboration with a faculty mentor, on a topic related to health psychology, which may range from rather basic research to more applied investigations. During the course of graduate training, students develop a particular research interest area within the general area of the mentor's expertise. Students typically conduct both their master's thesis and doctoral dissertation in their identified area of interest.
Students complete all departmental and clinical core course requirements, as well as the clinical program's requisite number of clinical and experimental elective credits. Students in clinical health psychology may major or minor in this area. Students who major in the area take three courses: clinical aspects of health psychology, biological aspects of health psychology, and psychosocial aspects of health psychology. Students who minor take two courses and do not necessarily conduct their thesis/dissertation on a health-related topic. Students may also take additional health focused courses within and outside the department. Students may choose to have some of their elective requirements waived so that they can involve themselves in additional research projects.
Clinical students complete their practicum requirements by taking the general practicum in their second year, and selecting an advanced or specialty practicum in their third year. It is recommended that students choose a third-year specialty practicum related to their research focus, if one is available. In addition, students may request that they be assigned cases related to their area of interest when it is possible and feasible for the Clinic to do this. Students also complete at least one year of the required field placement in an assessment and/or treatment setting, and we have several directly related to health.
Clinical Health Faculty
Dr. Janis Crowther - Body image disturbance, chronic dieting, and binge eating.
Dr. John Gunstad - The neuropsychology of aging and disease, with a particular interest in cardiovascular disease and obesity.
Dr. Joel Hughes - The role of psychological and social factors in cardiovascular health and disease.
Faculty with Related Interests
Recent Clinical Health Ph.D.â€™s
Our clinical health program has been particularly successful in placing our graduates in professorships and postdoctoral training programs. Hereâ€™s what some of our recent grads are doing now.