PSYCHOL 7234 - Health Psychology

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2014

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 7234
    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
    Corequisites PSYCHOL 7230, PSYCHOL 7231, PSYCHOL 7232, PSYCHOL 7233
    Restrictions Available to M Psych (Health) and PhD/MPsych(Health) 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: Associate Professor Rachel Roberts

    School office: Ms Janine Flory - Ph 8313 1540; Email -
    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)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-4
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 1, 3, 4
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 1, 2, 3
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 2, 3
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 1, 3
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1, 4
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1, 4
  • 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.

    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 - 30 hours
    Assignment 2: submission of a written critique of a recent journal article on a health psychology topic, with associated discussion of implications of psychological practice - 30 hours
    Student Directed Learning exercise: completion of at least 6 interactive health psychology cases in the emedici online learning tool and submission of a reflective summary about what has been learned from each case - 6 hours
    Private or group study and reading - 45 hours
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week Topic Lecture
    Week 1 Mind-body interactions Physical systems of the body; psychophysiology of health and illness; basic neuro-anatomy. Information sources.
    Week 2 Stress and health Stress, emotions and health - applications to somatising and conversion disorders:Mind-body applications to headaches and obesity
    Week 3 Stress and development Mind-body applications to sleep problems, chronic fatigue syndrome
    Week 4 Major theories and models of health psychology interventions Roles for health psychologists, including in indigenous and rural health. Self-management of chronic illness & disabilities, motivational interviewing techniques. 
    Week 5l Chronic pain Models and interventions
    Week 6 Acute pain Models and interventions; interprofessional collaboration
    Week 7 Substance use Addictions and their treatment
    Week 8 Health psychology practice in rural and remote areas Health behaviour change and health promotion in primary care; issues re rural health psychology practice
    Week 9 Occupational health psychology Work stress, unemployment, work-life balance including for health professionals
    Week 10 Health psychology in early life Reproduction, infants and children
    Week 11 Health psychology in late life Ageing, death and dying
    Week 12 Injury and disability Rehabilitation after neurological damage
    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 Task Assessment Type Weighting Learning Outcome(s) being addressed
    SDL completiong of 6+ emedici online learning cases Formative Not applicable 1-4
    Small group presentation on a health probelm and suitable interventions Summative 50% 1, 3
    Essay critique of scientific paper on a topical health psychology issue Summative 50% 2, 4
    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:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    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.

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