Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Medical Model

  • Orlando SánchezEmail author
  • Martha Brownlee-Duffeck
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_2131


Biomedical model; Disease model


The medical model is a traditional approach to health and healing focused on identifying symptoms and pathology using standardized measures and procedures in order to treat the underlying disease or alleviate the presenting symptoms. Weakness of the model: (1) it supports the false notion of dualism in health, whereby biological and psychological/behavioral problems are treated separately; (2) overemphasis on pathology and diagnosis ignoring societal and environmental factors affecting functioning; (3) overemphasis on disability and impairment rather than on the individual’s abilities and strengths; and (4) promotes paternalism within medicine rather than patient empowerment.


References and Readings

  1. Falvo, D. R. (2013). Medical and psychosocial aspects of chronic illness and disability (5th ed.). Burlington: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.Google Scholar
  2. Hofmann, B. (2005). Simplified models of the relationship between health and disease. Theoretical Medicine, 26, 355–377.Google Scholar
  3. Olson, K., Young, R. A., & Schultz, I. Z. (Eds.). (2015). Handbook of qualitative health research for evidence-based practice: 2016. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  4. Shah, P., & Mountain, D. (2007). The medical model is dead – long live the medical model. British Journal of Psychiatry, 191, 375–377.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG (outside the USA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Minneapolis VA Health Care SystemMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Harry S. Truman MemorialColumbiaUSA