The biopsychosocial model in health psychology is free of any specific religious or spiritual context. Physical and mental health are often the focus of much research and practice while regularly omitting attention on religious and spiritual aspects of health. However, evidence from empirical studies concludes religion and spirituality are predictors of physical and mental health (Potts, 1998). Past and present reasons associated with this lack of attention from researchers is evident despite recent documentation that 95% of the United States population profess a belief in God (Potts, 1998).
The limited number of professional training programs available for psychologist and social scientist that address religion and spirituality contribute to the research deficit (Hill, 2003). Without proper training and knowledge, the empirical arena is bound to suffer. The possibility also exists that these institutions (ones in which religion and theology are main focuses) are purposely ignored by potential students and candidates. .
A reason for this prejudice and the general understudy of psychology, religion and spirituality is the belief that religion and spirituality are not as important to psychologist and other health researchers when compared to the general public (Hill, 2003). This reason is supported in some cases by a second reason which states the belief that religion and spirituality do not qualify as variables for scientific study (Hill, 2003). Depending on previous personal and university or institutional training concerning religion and spirituality, a potential student or researcher may have strong or indifferent beliefs concerning the merging of professional psychology with religion and spirituality. .
In example, I personally visited the Rosemead School of Psychology at Biola University where Hill conducts research. While investigating Rosemead as a possible school to attend for a terminal degree in psychology I quickly experienced a unique feeling very different from other "more-traditional" schools I visited.