Because the Social and Behavioral Sciences Contribute to Improving the Health of the Population

Because the Social and Behavioral Sciences Contribute to Improving the Health of the Population

Written By William (Bill) Riley, Ph.D., Director
Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

While waiting in line for a Broadway play, the couple behind us asked why we were in New York, and I told them that I was at a meeting on medication adherence. “Oh, you’re a doctor?” they asked. “Technically, yes, but I’m a psychologist” I said. They responded, “What does psychology have to do with medication adherence?” It struck me at that moment that most people do not understand that social and behavioral factors are the primary contributors to health and illness, and that when ill, these factors also play a significant role in disease management and healthcare delivery, including the relatively simple behavior of taking a pill.

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