Improving the Management of Illness Behaviour by Changing Roles Within Multidisciplinary Treatment Teams

  • Brian Shaw


Clinicians interested in illness behaviour have generally accepted an interdisciplinary approach to treatment. For example, Schwartz and Weiss (1978, p.249) defined behavioural medicine as “the interdisciplinary field concerned with the development and integration of behavioural and biomedical science, knowledge and prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.” In a later definition, Matarazzo (1982, p.8) defined behavioural medicine as “an interdisciplinary field dedicated to promoting a philosophy of health that stresses individual responsibility in the application of behavioural and biomedical science knowledge and techniques to the maintenance of health and the prevention of illness and dysfunction by a variety of self-initiated or shared activities.” There are several operative concepts in these definitions besides the interdisciplinary notion. The terms “science” and “the application of knowledge” imply a deciphering of data to guide specific interventions. These data may become available through methods of biomedicine, behavioural science, or both. This chapter addresses some of the problems and a few potential solutions in the delivery of health-care services within a multidisciplinary model of treatment. The main theme of this chapter concerns the influence of roles, expectations, and attitudes that produce significant difficulties in the integration of knowledge acquired from the observations of various disciplines. By discussing strategies to change roles, expectations and attitudes within multidisciplinary treatment teams, the hope is to improve the quality of care provided to consumers, in part by better management of illness behaviour.


Team Member Behavioural Medicine Role Conflict Treatment Team Biopsychosocial Model 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Shaw
    • 1
  1. 1.Clarke Institute of PsychiatryUniversity of TorontoCanada

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