PSYCHOL 7134 - Health Psychology

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2018

This course examines the relationships of social, biological, behavioural and cognitive variables to health. It covers those aspects of the social environment that influence health and illness outcomes including the interactions amongst family members and between healthcare consumers and healthcare providers. Risk factors for health-compromising behaviours are also discussed including strategies for their modification

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PSYCHOL 7134
    Course Health Psychology
    Coordinating Unit Psychology
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Prerequisites PSYCHOL 7130, PSYCHOL 7131, PSYCHOL 7132, PSYCHOL 7133
    Restrictions Available to M Psych (Clin) and PhD/MPsych(Clin) students only or by permission of Head of School
    Course Description This course examines the relationships of social, biological, behavioural and cognitive variables to health. It covers those aspects of the social environment that influence health and illness outcomes including the interactions amongst family members and between healthcare consumers and healthcare providers. Risk factors for health-compromising behaviours are also discussed including strategies for their modification
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Melissa Oxlad

    School of Psychology Office:; ph +61 8313 5693
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1. Demonstrate understanding of the biological, behavioural, cognitive and social determinants of health, the risk factors for health-compromising behaviours and strategies for their modification, across the age range from childhood to old age.
    2. Demonstrate understanding of the health-relevant interactions amongst family members and between health-care consumers and health-care providers, collaborative relationships in multidisciplinary health care teams, and ethical considerations affecting both practice and research in health psychology
    3. Demonstrate advanced knowledge of individual, group and community-based approaches to the management and prevention of major identifiable health concerns and problems (both acute and chronic conditions).
    4. Plan and critically evaluate research in health psychology and behavioural medicine
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Recommended Resources
    The Library is a major resource centre for students. The Research Librarian for Psychology, Maureen Bell, provides some useful information through the Internet at The website contains a list of databases, links to tutorials and help with searching methods.

    For additional information please refer to the relevant Master of Psychology program handbook at the following link:
    Online Learning
    This course may use MyUni for one or more of the following:
    - Communication with students via Announcements and Discussion Board
    - Submission of assessment
    - Access to resources such as forms, templates and additional readings
    - Self-directed learning activities
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Seminars will be presented by teaching staff and clinical title-holders in the School of Psychology, based on their areas of expertise. Student assignments are aimed to encourage students to read more extensively and develop their professional and critical awareness of techniques and developments in health psychology.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    12x 3-hour seminars = 36 hours of class attendance
    Assignment 1: Participation in small-group presentation on a health related problem, its assessment and treatment, with associated readings and resources - 34 hours
    Assignment 2: Participation in OSCI tasks related to the use of motivational interviewing - 3 hours (not including preparation)
    Student Directed Learning exercises: completion of online courses in the areas of managing addiction, palliative care and returning to work - 6 hours
    Private or group study and reading - 45 hours
    Learning Activities Summary

    Week 1 Major theories and models of health psychology interventions Roles for health psychologists, including in indigenous and rural health. Self-  management of chronic illness & disabilities.
    Week 2 Physical systems and mind body interactions Physical systems of the body; psychophysiology of health and illness; basic neuro-anatomy. History of thinking about mind-body interactions.
    Week 3 Stress and health Stress, emotions and health - applications to somatising and conversion disorders: Mind-body applications to headaches and obesity
    Week 4 Stress and development Stress and development, and implications for interventions: Mind-body applications to sleep problems, chronic fatigue syndrome
    Week 5 Chronic pain Models and interventions, injury rehabilitation and compensation
    Week 6 Acute pain Models and interventions, preparation for surgery, interprofessional collaboration
    Week 7 Substance use Addiction, alcohol and other drug use preventions, treatment and relapse prevention
    Week 8 Motivational interviewing Motivational interviewing in health contexts
    Week 9 Health psychology practice in rural and remote areas Health behaviour change and health promotion in primary care; issues re rural health psychology practice

    Week 10 Health psychology in early life Reproduction, infants and children
    Week 11 Health psychology in late life Ageing, death and dying
    Week 12 Cancer Working with people with cancer

    Disclaimer: This program is provisional and subject to change.

    Specific Course Requirements
    On the initial enrolment into this Master’s program, all students (unless already a Registered Psychologist) MUST apply for and obtain provisional registration with the Psychology Board of Australia. All students are required to provide a copy of their registration details to the Program Administrator on their first day in the Program: this will be required for the Summer School courses Interviewing & Intervention and Evidence-Based Practice. The application form and details of fees payable are available from the PBA website:

    Candidates are required to consent to a police check as part of their application to the Psychology Board of Australia for Provisional Registration, a requirement of enrolment in the program. A satisfactory current police check is a mandatory requirement for acceptance to and continuation within the program.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Assessment Type Weighting Learning Outcome(s) being addressed
    SDL completion of 3 online learning courses Formative Not applicable 1-4
    Small group presentation on a health probelm and suitable interventions Summative NGP 1, 3, 4
    Objective Structured Clinical Interview task using motivational interviewing Summative NGP 1, 3
    Assessment Detail
    For further information please refer to the relevant refer to the relevant Master of Psychology program handbook at the following link:
    Written assignments are to be submitted electronically using MyUni.

    The School of Psychology undertakes to adhere to the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, Procedure 6a, which requires that assessments are returned within 4 weeks of the deadlines for submission.

    Extension of time for an assignment may be granted at the discretion of the Course Coordinator, to whom students should apply in writing (or email) before the due date and time.

    No requests for extensions will be considered if made after the due date and time.

    For further information re the Assessment Policy please refer to the relevant Master of Psychology Program Handbook at the following link:
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    GS8 (Coursework Grade Scheme)
    Grade Description
    CN Continuing
    FNS Fail No Submission
    NFE No Formal Examination
    F Fail
    NGP Non Graded Pass
    P Pass
    C Credit
    D Distinction
    HD High Distinction
    RP Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.