Zuhal Baltaş

Emeritus Professor
Istanbul University
Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine
Department of Public Health
I.U. Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine, Basic Sciences, Floor 6
Istanbul (Turkey)
tel. +90-212-414-30-89
Baltaş Knowledgehouse
Goksu Evleri, Mimoza Street B116 34815 Anadoluhisarı
Istanbul (Turkey)
tel. +90-216-465-04-40

History of Health psychology in Turkey

In early 1970’s, Istanbul University, Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Istanbul University, Faculty of Medicine initiated health psychology studies in Turkey. Related specific courses officially started to be given in 1981, to medical faculty students at the Department of Public Health and to the students of the associated scientific fields at the Faculty of Letters. The first book in the field, Health Psychology: Behavioral Sciences in Public Health, was published in 2000. More information is available on the following web site:


Health Psychology, the second known book in the field, was published by Turkish Psychological Association, in 2013. Further information is available on the association’s web site http://www.psikolog.org.tr/?Publications=7&id=699 .

Health Psychology is recently represented as a separate division in Turkish Psychological Association and its regulations are officially shared on the association’s web site since 4.11.2014.

We earlier organized various national and international events for developing health psychology practices in Turkey. Detailed information is available in “National Associations” section. Following the growing interest in the field, we created a network group called “Turkish Health Psychology Group” on the LinkedIn platform. On this platform, we share EHPS’ recent notifications to keep the members up-to-date and to encourage international collaborations. All EHPS members and national delegates are welcomed to connect and share recent knowledge in the field.


National Associations:

Since we do not have a National Health Psychology Organization, relevant activities were organized as extensions of other psychology associations which were directly involved in health studies or which supported the development of academicians in the field. Below are some significant instances among these activities.

In 2005, SASBIL (Association of Social Sciences for Health) got in charge at the organization of “Health Challenges in the Third Millenium”. At that conference, “life style and health session” was held by Prof. Zuhal Baltaş, İstanbul University. Prof. Icek Ajzen, University of Massachusetts, Prof. Stanton Newman, UCL, were invited academicians for the session.

Turkish Psychological Association organized a certificate program in İstanbul between November 2006 and February 2007.

A health psychology symposium was held between December 6-7, 2012 at Fatih University, İstanbul, aiming to introduce the subfields of health psychology and its interdisciplinary nature.

Between 26 January and 10 February 2013, Association of Social Sciences for Health (SASBİL) organized a qualitative research methods course for researchers studying and working in the field of health, with the collaboration of Semahat Arsel Nursing Education and Research Center (SANERC). The course included three modules; an introductory session, research design and data collection, data analysis and report writing.

Link to Turkish Psychological Association webpage: http://www.psikolog.org.tr/

Link to SASBİL webpage: http://www.sasbil.org/

Link to SANERC webpage: http://www.vkv.org.tr/He_SemahatArsel_Nur.aspx

Education, training and professionalisation:

Studies conducted at Public Health Department of Cerrahpaşa Medical University, in the field of health psychology since 1975 showed some progress until 1999. Conducted in that year, the first study about the curriculum has been documented at 31 medical faculties and 11 faculties of art. The study checked; total number of hours and content of the “Health Psychology” courses given as part of undergraduate, post graduate and doctoral degree education. In the relevant study, it was found that courses related to health psychology was given in 4 medical faculties and their subjects largely involved health behavior, development of health, and behavior science practices for psychosocial causes of chronic diseases and coping strategies for various addictions.

Regarding the psychology departments, only two faculties of arts were found to give health psychology courses for undergraduates and those were not opened regularly. However, in one faculty some topics were involved in social psychology courses.

When we have repeated the study in 2008, the data has shown that there was a remarkable interest in the field with a significant increase in the number of universities giving health psychology courses.

Link for further details: http://www.baltas-baltas.com/ref/health_psy_final_report_combining_1999_…


Since we do not have a journal specialized in health psychology, relevant articles are published in medical and psychology journals. Currently, a list of publications is prepared to investigate the scope of research recently conducted.