Original article:

An evolutionary perspective on health psychology: New approaches and applications

Evolutionary Psychology 10(5): 855-867 Joshua M. Tybur, Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, j.m.tybur@vu.nlAngela D. Bryan, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USAAnn E. Caldwell Hooper, Department of Psychology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA


Although health psychologists’ efforts to understand and promote health are most effective when guided by theory, health psychology has not taken full advantage of theoretical insights provided by evolutionary psychology. Here, we argue that evolutionary perspectives can fruitfully inform strategies for addressing some of the challenges facing health psychologists. Evolutionary psychology’s emphasis on modular, functionally specialized psychological systems can inform approaches to understanding the myriad behaviors grouped under the umbrella of “health,” as can theoretical perspectives used by evolutionary anthropologists, biologists, and psychologists (e.g., Life History Theory). We detail some early investigations into evolutionary health psychology, and we provide suggestions for directions for future research.


health psychology, life history theory, tradeoffs, pathogen avoidance

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Evolutionary Psychology - An open access peer-reviewed journal - ISSN 1474-7049 © Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young; individual articles © the author(s)

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