Our History

Society for Health Psychology
SfHP Council Focus

SfHP Milestones

health psychology communications

The Society for Health Psychology (SfHP) was established in 1978 as a result of burgeoning interest in health-related research within the field of psychology. Over the last half-decade, SfHP has grown from 175 charter members to a thriving group of nearly 3,000. Some of the major milestones in SfHP’s history are described below.

  • 1969: William Schofield of the University of Minnesota published a landmark paper in American Psychologist on “The role of psychology in the delivery of health services”.
  • 1973: Upon recommendation by the APA Committee on Newly Emerging Areas of Research (NEAR), the APA Board of Scientific Affairs established a Task Force on Health Research.
  • 1975: A group of psychologists interested in health formed the Health Research Section (Section 2) of Division 18 (Psychologists in Public Service).
  • 1978: Stephen Weiss and Joseph Matarazzo start a petition to APA Council to establish a new division of Health Psychology. Over 600 members and fellows of APA sign the petition.
  • 1978: Division 38 founded. Bylaws adopted by 175 charter members.
  • 1979: First issue of The Health Psychologist is published.
  • 1980: SfHP reaches nearly 1,500 members.
  • 1980: SfHP gives out the first awards for “Outstanding Contributions to Health Psychology”.
  • 1981: SfHP launches its first membership survey to ascertain and establish priorities for the division.
  • 1982: The division’s journal, Health Psychology, is launched.
  • 1983: SfHP hosts a National Working Conference on Education and Training in Health Psychology.
  • 1984: SfHP partners with the Council of Health Psychology Training Directors to establish the American Board of Health Psychology (ABHP), the credentialing body for the specialty practice of health psychology. Later, ABHP will become fully affiliated with the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP).
  • 1985: Under the leadership of John Linton, SfHP develops its first long-range plan.
  • 1987: The executive committee expands to include members-at-large.
  • 1988: SfHP hosts a National Working Conference on Research in Health and Behavior.
  • 1992: SfHP sponsors a National Conference on Behavioral and Sociocultural Perspectives on Ethnicity and Health.
  • 1993: Health Psychology becomes an official APA journal.
  • 1994: SfHP launches a health psychology book series. The first volume, edited by Robert Gatchel and Edward Blanchard, was on Psychophysiological Disorders.
  • 1995: SfHP reaches over 3,300 members