Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Psychosocial Aspects of Dietary Behaviour

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Food Sciences and Nutrition

DESCRIPTION Food choice and dietary behaviour are complex issues with a number of key influencing determinants. This study-unit examines the relationship between the cultural, social and psychological environment (at both the individual and community level) and dietary behaviours. Moreover, it explores the role of cognitive and emotional factors on dietary behaviour from preconception to old age thus including topics such as the development of food, likes and dislikes in children and the role of diet in normal ageing and age-related conditions.

Study-unit Aims:

- To provide a comprehensive overview of the various social and psychological determinants of eating behaviour including: mood, stress and depression, social class, cultural influences and social context;
- To familiarise students with concepts relating to eating behaviours and patterns including eating disorders; and
- To develop comprehensive knowledge and understanding about dietary behaviour across the lifespan.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Report on the main concepts, theories and evidence relating to dietary influences on mood and cognition, appetite and weight control as well as consumer responses to the current food environment;
- Describe behavioural approaches and models relating to the design of effective interventions to improve diet and physical activity levels within populations and individuals;
- Explain eating disorders, co morbidities and predisposing factors for eating disorders.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Explore psychosocial aspects and dietary behaviour within a context i.e. developed and underdeveloped countries;
- Report on potential psychosocial barriers which influence dietary behaviour with special relevance towards obesity and dieting e.g., gender, maternal beliefs, stress and depression, fatigue, religious and cultural beliefs, historical traditions, media and campaigns and other barriers; and
- Develop problem solving recommendations to implement new behaviour modification strategies for example: motivational interventions and in the evaluation of outcomes in the context of the individual or population.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

No main texts as the nature of this topic requires the utilisation of relevant peer reviewed papers from journal articles.

Supplementary Readings

- Blackman, M & Kvaska, C. (2011). Nutrition Psychology: Improving Dietary Adherence. Jones & Bartlett Publishers: London
- Ogden, J. (2010). The Psychology of Eating: From Healthy to Disordered Behaviour.Wiley Blackwell: Oxford

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Independent Study and Group Learning

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation (15 Minutes) SEM2 No 20%
Assignment SEM2 Yes 80%

LECTURER/S Maria Bezzina Xuereb
Josianne Scerri
Dorothy Scicluna (Co-ord.)

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.