Health Psychology Research Topics

Ideas for Experiments, Papers and Other Projects

Psychology paper. Credit: Image by Nic McPhee (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Are you looking for a research topic centered on health psychology for a paper, experiment, or other class project? Health psychology is a rapidly growing subfield focused on the psychological factors that influence health and wellness.

Health Psychology Research Topic Ideas

The following are just a few different topics that you might want to explore:

  • Explore some of the psychological strategies that can help people adhere to a diet and exercise program. Is there any one strategy that is more effective than others?
  • Analyze how media depictions of "ideal" bodies influence anorexia and bulimia. Is there a link between exposure to these images and eating disorders?
  • Look at different techniques that can be used to increase the likelihood that people will use safety equipment such as seat belts and bicycle helmets. What type of public safety program would you devise to encourage the use of these products?
  • What can mental health and medical professionals do to help people cope in the immediate aftermath of a disaster? Are there any strategies that result in better long-term outcomes?
  • Explore how increased public awareness of infant safety, such as placing an infant on his back to sleep, removing pillows and other objects from the sleeping area, etc., have influenced the occurrence of SIDS or "crib death." Has the number of SIDS-related deaths gone down? Why do some parents ignore these sleep safety guidelines?
  • Compare and contrast different approaches to smoking cessation. Which strategies are the most effective?
  • Look at the emotional, social and psychological impact of care-giving, such as taking care of an aging parent, a family member with AIDS or a spouse suffering from Alzheimer's.
  • Research the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among veterans. What factors contribute to whether an individual experiences PTSD? What mental health interventions are most effective at treating this disorder?
  • Evaluate how stress management techniques and relaxation methods can help patients suffering from chronic pain. How effective are these tactics? How do they compare to traditional pharmacological approaches to pain management?
  • Assess current approaches to childhood immunizations. Why do some parents choose not to immunize their children? How does this impact public health? What can health professionals do to increase the likelihood that kids are immunized?
  • Explore the factors that contribute to teen suicide. How effective are suicide prevention programs?
  • Take a closer look at careers in health psychology. What do health psychologists do? What type of career opportunities are available within this specialty area?

Before You Begin

Before you pick a topic for any paper, experiment, or project, there are a few important things you should consider. First, is your topic appropriate for the assignment? Many instructors have very specific guidelines about what they are looking for in a particular project.

Once you have an idea in mind, take the time to run the topic by your instructor. Getting approval before you begin can save a lot of hassle and headaches later on.

Second, do you have the time and resources to explore the topic? Don't plan on performing an experiment if you don't have access to materials and participants. If you are writing a research paper, make sure that you are able to find sufficient reference material before you begin writing in earnest. In some cases, you might find that you need to ask for help from your school librarian or slightly tweak your existing topic in order to locate adequate sources.

Getting Help With the Research Process

Whether you are writing a research paper or performing your own experiment or survey, the first step is to spend some time doing background research. This often involves making use of the library at your school, searching online databases and seeking out other information online. 

If you need help with this process, be sure ask your librarian for assistance and check out the following resources for additional information:

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