Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Psychosocial Characteristics

  • Adriana Dias Barbosa Vizzotto
  • Alexandra Martini de Oliveira
  • Helio Elkis
  • Quirino Cordeiro
  • Patrícia Cardoso Buchain
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_918



Psychosocial characteristics is a term used to describe the influences of social factors on an individual’s mental health and behavior.


A psychosocial approach to human behavior involves the relation between intrapersonal psychological and environmental aspects. Psychosocial characteristics is commonly described as an individual’s psychological development in relation to his/her social and cultural environment. “Psychosocial” means “pertaining to the influence of social factors on an individual’s mind or behavior, and to the interrelation of behavioral and social factors” (Oxford English Dictionary, 2012). Psychosocial factors, at least in the context of health research, can be defined as the mediation of the effects of social structural factors on individual health, conditioned and modified by the social structures contexts in which they exist (Martikainen, Bartley, & Lahelma, 2002). These statements raise...

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References and Readings

  1. Barylnik, J. (2003). Psychopathology, psychosocial characteristics, and family environment in juvenile delinquents. The German Journal of Psychiatry, 6, 30–32. http://www.gjpsy.uni-goettingen.de. ISSN 1433-1055.Google Scholar
  2. Engel, G. L. (1977). The need for a new medical model: A challenge for biomedicine. Science, 196, 129–136.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Halpen, R., & Figueiras, A. C. M. (2004). Environmental influences on child mental health. Journal of Pediatrics, 80(2 Suppl), S104–S110.Google Scholar
  4. Martikainen, P., Bartley, M., & Lahelma, E. (2002). Psychosocial determinants of health in social epidemiology. International Journal of Epidemiology, 31, 1091–1093.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. OED Online. (2012). Oxford University Press. Dictonary on line http://www.oed.com/. Retrieved 20120429.
  6. Santrock, J. W. (2007). A topical approach to human life-span development (3rd ed.). St. Louis: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  7. World Health Organization (WHO). (2001). The mental health report 2001: Mental health, new understanding hope. Genebra: Author.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adriana Dias Barbosa Vizzotto
    • 1
  • Alexandra Martini de Oliveira
    • 2
  • Helio Elkis
    • 3
  • Quirino Cordeiro
    • 4
  • Patrícia Cardoso Buchain
    • 1
  1. 1.Occupational Therapist of the Occupational Therapy ServiceInstitute of Psychiatry, Hospital das Clínicas University of São Paulo Medical SchoolSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Institute of Psychiatry – Hospital das Clínicas University of São Paulo Medical SchoolSão PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Department and Institute of PsychiatryUniversity of São Paulo Medical SchoolSão PauloBrazil
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry and Psychological MedicineSanta Casa Medical SchoolSão PauloBrazil