Mental Models of Health and Healthcare

  • Robert M. Kaplan

Modern biology, physiology, and anatomy have done wonders for our understanding of disease. New techniques in radiology allow visualization of even minor anatomical defects. Contemporary laboratory methods offer advanced diagnoses of countless major and minor illnesses. The scientific basis for understanding disease has never been better. In the last decade, our insights into the basic mechanisms of disease have advanced at an incredible pace, and there is every reason to believe that the breadth and depth of our understanding will continue to grow at an extremely rapid rate.

Beliefs about the basis of disease guide decisions about medical intervention. But they also influence personal health decisions and public-health policies, investment and research agendas in private corporations and academic institutions, and government funding as well as donations to charities for a wide variety of healthcare delivery and medical research programs. Our beliefs about or mental representations of...


Mental Model Heart Attack American Cancer Society Relative Risk Reduction Colorectal Cancer Screening 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Turner RB, Bauer R, Woelkart K, Hulsey TC, Gangemi JD. An evaluation of Echinacea angustifolia in experimental rhinovirus infections. N Engl J Med. Jul 28 2005;353(4):341–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ackoff R. The Democratic Corporation. New York: Oxford University Press; 1994.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Checkland P. Systems theory and management thinking. Am Behav Sci. 1994;38(1):75–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Gharajedaghi J AR. Mechanisms, organisms, and social systems. Strateg Manag J. 1984;5: 289–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Holman H, Lorig K. Patients as partners in managing chronic disease. Partnership is a prerequisite for effective and efficient health care [editorial; comment]. BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.). 2000;320(7234):526–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ware JE, Jr., Bayliss MS, Rogers WH, Kosinski M, Tarlov AR. Differences in 4-year health outcomes for elderly and poor, chronically ill patients treated in HMO and fee-for-service systems. Results from the Medical Outcomes Study [see comments]. JAMA. 1996;276(13):1039–1047.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kaplan RM. Two pathways to prevention. Am Psychol. 2000;55(4):382–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kaplan RM. The Ziggy theorem: toward an outcomes-focused health psychology. Health Psychol. 1994;13(6):451–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    McGinnis JM, Foege WH. Actual causes of death in the United States [see comments]. JAMA. 1993;270(18):2207–2212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Rabin C, Leventhal H, Goodin S. Conceptualization of disease timeline predicts posttreatment distress in breast cancer patients. Health Psychol. Jul 2004;23(4):407–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Horowitz CR, Rein SB, Leventhal H. A story of maladies, misconceptions and mishaps: effective management of heart failure. Soc Sci Med. Feb 2004;58(3):631–643.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Steering Committee of the Physicians' Health Study Research Group. Final report on the aspirin component of the ongoing Physicians' Health Study. N Engl J Med. Jul 20 1989;321(3):129–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Findings from the aspirin component of the ongoing Physicians' Health Study. N Engl J Med. Jan 28 1988;318(4):262–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Huttunen JK, Manninen V, Manttari M, et al. The Helsinki Heart Study: central findings and clinical implications. Ann Med. Apr 1991;23(2):155–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Frick MH, Elo O, Haapa K, et al. Helsinki Heart Study: primary-prevention trial with gemfibrozil in middle-aged men with dyslipidemia. Safety of treatment, changes in risk factors, and incidence of coronary heart disease. N Engl J Med. Nov 12 1987;317(20):1237–1245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Larson RJ, Woloshin S, Schwartz LM, Welch HG. Celebrity endorsements of cancer screening. J Natl Cancer Inst. May 4 2005;97(9):693–695.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert M. Kaplan
    • 1
  1. 1.UCLA School of Public HealthLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations