Toward a Socio-cultural Health Psychology: Taking Human Activity Into Consideration
1University of Lausanne
Several authors in critical health psychology have underlined the need to develop models of psychological life within qualitative research that are not limited to mere descriptions of health or illness. This communication presents methodological basis in order to overcome such descriptive level by proposing a socio-cultural approach. First, we analyse the dominant tendency in psychology consisting on defining the constructivist paradigm and qualitative research as impressionist, vague and subjective, that is, “non scientific”. We claim that qualitative research may be objective, clear and precise while succeeding to consider psychological processes within their socio-cultural context. We make “indirect methods” a major focus, as able to capture psychological processes at stake in health and illness by interpretating their “traces”. Moreover, we illustrate a variety of methods used in psychology to study the structuring role of culture in this process. We conclude by discussing the possibility to build complex psychological concepts regardless immediate experience.