Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Health Psychology

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit introduces students to the key principles, theories, research findings in health psychology. It looks at how psychology may contribute to the promotion and maintenance of health, the prevention and treatment of illness, the identification of factors leading to the development of illness, and the analysis and improvement of health care and health policy. It discusses such issues as the biopsychosocial approach to health and illness, health related behaviours and cognitions, stress, health and illness, the treatment context, pain and pain management, and chronic and terminal illness.

Students will be expected to:
- Develop an understanding of current theories and research findings concerning the role of behavioural and personality factors as well as the environment in health and illness;
- Develop an understanding of theory and research relating to health behaviours and health-related cognitions;
- Be familiar with the current theories and research findings in specific areas in health psychology such as stress, health and illness, hospitalisation and health care, pain management, and chronic and terminal illness;
- Identify, discuss, and critically evaluate important issues in the psychology of health and illness.

Tentative Study-unit Outline:

- Context and perspectives in health psychology: historical overview and current approaches; related disciplines; methodology issues; future trends;
- Epidemiology of health and illness: causes of mortality/morbidity; public health inequalities in health;
- Lifespan, gender and cultural issues in health psychology: gender and health; lifespan changes in health and illness; the role of family in health and illness;
- Health related behaviours: behaviour and environmental risk factors; preventive health: levels of prevention and health promotion;
- Health related cognitions: attributions, beliefs, representations; models of health behaviour;
- Stress, health and illness: models of stress, stress and physical illness, moderators of the stress-health relationship; preparing for stressful medical procedures;
- The treatment context: impact of hospitalisation on adults and children; communication and patient satisfaction in health care settings;
- Pain: theories, models and research findings, main interventions in pain management;
- Chronic and terminal illness: coping with chronic illness and disability, the role of psychology in the prevention and treatment/management of several chronic illnesses will be presented.

Required Text:

- Taylor, S.E. (2011). Health Psychology. (8th Ed.) McGraw Hill.
- Marks, D.F, Murray, M.P, Evans, B & Estacio, E.V. (2011) Health Psychology: Theory, Research and Practice. (3rd Ed) Sage Publications.
- Ogden, J. (2012). Health Psychology: A textbook. (5th Ed) Open University Press.

Reading List:

- Allan, R. & Fisher, 2011). Heart and Mind: the practice of cardiac psychology. Washington, DC: APA.
- Baum, A. & Anderson, B.L. (2001) Psychosocial interventions for Cancer. Washington, DC: APA.
- Baum, A., et al (2011) Handbook of Health Psychology .(2nd Ed) Malwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
- DeRidder, D. & Schreurs, K. (2001) Developing interventions for chronically ill patients: is coping a helpful concept? Clinical psychology review, 21:205-240.
- Elywn, G. et al (2000) Shared decision making and the concept of equipoise: the competences of involving patients in healthcare choices. British journal of general practice, 50,:892-9.
- Evenson, K., & Fleury, J. (2000). Barriers to outpatient cardiac rehabilitation participation and adherence. Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, 20(4), 241-246.
- Kuper, H. & Marmot, M. (2003) Job strain, job demands, decision latitude, and risk of coronary heart disease within the Whitehall II study. Journal of epidemiology and community health, 57:147-53.
- Leong, J., Molassiotis, A., & Marsh, H. (2004). Adherence to health recommendations after a cardiac rehabilitation programme in post-myocardial infarction patients: the role of health beliefs, locus of control and psychological status. Clinical Effectiveness in Nursing, 8 (1), 26-38.
- Frattaroli, J. (2006). Experimental disclosure and its moderators: a meta-analysis. Psychol Bull 132(6): 823-65.
- Merzel, C. & D’Afflitti, J. (2003) Reconsidering community-based health promotion: promise, performance and potential. American journal of public health, 93:557-74.
- Morley, S. et al (1999) Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials of cognitive behaviour therapy and behaviour therapy for chronic pain in adults, excluding headache. Pain, 80:1-13.
- Norman, P. et al (2000). Understanding and changing health behaviour: from health beliefs to self-regulation. Amsterdam: Harwood.
- Phillips, W. et al (2001) The effects of physical activity on physical and psychological health. In A. Baum et al (eds) Handbook of health psychology. Malwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
- Sarason, B. et al (2001) Close personal relationships and health outcomes: A key to the role of social support. In B.Sarason and S.Duck (eds) Personal relationships: implications for clinical and community psychology. NY:Wiley.
- Scheier, M.F. & Carver, C.S. (2001) Adapting to cancer: the importance of hope and purpose. In A. Baum & B.L. Anderson (eds) Social interventions for cancer. Washington, DC: APA.
- Siegman, A.W. & Smith, T.W. (1994) Anger, hostility and the heart. Hillsdale, H.J.:Erlbaum.
- Spiro, H.M. et al (1993) Empathy and the practice of medicine: beyond pills and the scalpel. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
- Stanton, A.L. (2011) Adjustment to chronic illness: Theory and research. In A. Baum et al (2011) Handbook of health psychology. Malwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
- Curran, C., Williams, A., & Potts, H. (2009). Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Persistent Pain: Does Adherence after treatment affect outcome? European Journal of Pain,13, 178-188.
- Eccleston, C., Morley, S., Williams, A., Yorke, L., & Mastroyannopoulou, K. (2002). Systematic review of randomised controlled trials of psychological therapy for chronic pain in children and adolescents, with a subset meta-analysis of pain relief. Pain, 157-165.


ADDITIONAL NOTES This study-unit is only offered to students with Psychology as an area of study and to Podiatry students.

Please note that the pre-requisites for this study-unit are not required for non-BPsy students.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation SEM2 No 15%
Multiple Choice Questions Examination (2 Hours) SEM2 Yes 85%


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 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.