Table of Contents
HISTORY AND BACKGROUND OF COMMUNITY PSYCHOLOGY AND PUBLIC HEALTH 2
SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND COMMUNITY PSYCHOLOGY 3
REFERENCE LIST 5
Societies have different ways of defining health problems as well as how they seek and organize explanations, and these differences are shaped by social factors and historical development. In a similar manner, the public health and community psychology disciplines have been developing since the industrial revolution and have been subjected to the above mentioned influences, as well as undergone reconstitutions that have reflected new relationships between society and state especially in their ways of reacting to the health problems of individuals and populations (Paim, 1992:136)
This paper aims to explore and state the differences and similarities of community psychology and public health approaches to health and social problems. The history and background of both approaches are briefly discussed so as to capture the essence of the disciplines. The paper then focuses on key factors of each discipline, which then enables us to critically compare and contrast the one with the other with a view of identifying where the two approaches overlap and can mutually benefit each other.
THE HISTORY AND BACKGROUND OF COMMUNITY PSYCHOLOGY AND PUBLIC HEALTH
Community psychology origins are tied up with the mental health reform movements in the United States of America. The care of the mentally ill however, is characterized by sporadic reforms followed by a long period of neglect. These reform movements represented a move towards treating mental illness as a social rather than individual problem as well as towards prevention rather than cure but despite the rhetoric were ineffective at a practical level. This approach was formalized as a separate discipline in 1965 at the Swampscot conference in Boston, however remained closely associated with mental health and thus struggled to define itself as a separate entity concerned with both mental health and social behavior. It gained currency in South Africa in 1980 in parallel with the struggle for democracy, psychologists on the periphery began examining the relevance of Euro-American based psychology (tutorial letter 102 for PYC4811, 2017, p.5-7).According to Albee (1995) community psychology has only functioned as an ideological corrective to the individualizing and curative bias of mainstream clinical psychology than as a viable alternative.
The public health movement of the 19th century England and America on the other hand, was stimulated by unhealthy social conditions in both the industrialized urban and rural areas (Feinberg et al. 1994). Both public and community psychology disciplines emerged as social action, thou with public health the aim was to combat the spread of infectious diseases (Afifi and Breslow, 1994). The public health movements has its roots in South Africa and...