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Promoting psychological science in women’s health research

APA Services’ recommendations for the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for Research on the Health of Women urges increased awareness of maternal mental health and a greater focus on prevention and the promotion of quality of life and well-being across the lifespan.

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American Psychological Association. (2022, October 6). Promoting psychological science in women’s health research. https://www.apaservices.org/advocacy/news/psychological-science-women-health

Three exuberant women

On September 29, APA Services responded to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Women’s Research (PDF, 346KB) call for input on the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for Research on the Health of Women. APA Services urged NIH to expand the description of the research supported by the agency to include “biomedical and behavioral” research as it did in its NIH-Wide Strategic Plan in Fiscal Years 2021–25. APA explained that the use of “biomedical and behavioral” research highlights for the scientific community that behavioral research is a critical part of women’s health. In addition, the comments emphasized that “[w]e know stress, psychological and behavioral factors impact health outcomes at multiple levels (e.g., genetic changes, immune function, adherence to treatment factors, beliefs surrounding vaccines, maternal outcomes, etc.).”

The association also called for increased emphasis on prevention and promotion of quality of life and well-being across the lifespan. The updated strategic plan is an opportunity for the NIH to highlight the importance of research in these areas, along with the need for more research on biopsychosocial factors that reduce risk and disease burden and improve the response to treatment and quality of life.

For more information, contact Angela L. Sharpe, MG.