optimize biomedical health care and to manage the psychological/behavioral and social aspects of illness and its consequences so as to promote better health.

For the reasons given above, this definition uses the wording “psychosocial health services” to make clear that it refers to services that “enable patients, their families, and health care providers to optimize biomedical health care and to manage the psychological, social, and behavioral aspects of illness” as opposed to those psychosocial services that might enable individuals to meet other goals, such as strengthening family functioning or avoiding incarceration. The committee also decided to adopt the wording “psychological/behavioral” because of the lack of consistent usage of “psychological” and “behavioral” in the scientific community; for example, the American Psychological Association subsumes behavior under psychology, while others use “behavioral” as the umbrella term. The committee’s definition also includes but distinguishes between psychosocial services (i.e., activities or tangible goods directly received by and benefiting the patient or family) and psychosocial interventions (activities that enable the provision of those services, such as needs assessment, referral, or care coordination).


Effective Psychosocial Health Services

The committee identified effective psychosocial health services by first identifying the psychosocial health needs experienced by cancer patients. Psychosocial needs were identified by examining peer-reviewed periodical literature and prior authoritative reports addressing this topic, including the following:

DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services). 2003. Achieving the promise: Transforming mental health care in America. New Freedom Commission on Mental Health Final Report. DHHS Publication No. SMA-03-3832. Rockville, MD: DHHS.

Holland, J. C., B. Andersen, M. Booth-Jones, W. Breitbart, M. Dabrowski, M. Dudley, S. Fleishman, P. Fobair, G. Foley, C. Fulcher, D. Greenberg, C. Greiner, G. Handzo, J. Herman, P. Jacobsen, S. Knight, M. Levy, R. McAllister-Black. M. Riba, J. Schuster, N. Slatkin, A. Valentive, J. Weinberg, and M. Zevon. 2003. NCCN distress management clinical practice guidelines in oncology. Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network 1:344–374.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement