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Department of Psychology, Unit Catalogue 2011/12

PS30083: Stress, immunity & health

Click here for further information Credits: 6
Click here for further information Level: Honours (FHEQ level 6)
Click here for further information Period: Semester 2
Click here for further information Assessment: EX 100%
Click here for further information Supplementary Assessment: Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Click here for further information Requisites: Before taking this unit you must take PS10086 and take PS20106 and take PS20108
Click here for further information Description: Aims:
This unit will examine the relationships between psychological and biological processes in health and illness. A particular focus will be given to Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), the study of inter-relationships between psychosocial processes such as stress, and functioning of the nervous, endocrine and immune systems. Many important and intriguing findings have linked psychosocial stress with disease onset and progression, and with the physiological mediators of such links. Underpinning much of this research is the traditional psychological paradigm of Pavlovian conditioning with well documented evidence for conditioned immunosuppression. Hence this module offers the student an opportunity to study a current and highly topical area of health psychology which is grounded in sound psychological theory.
Aim 1. To provide students with the opportunity to acquire a general knowledge of current research involving the inter-relationships between stress processes and physiological functioning as related to health and illness.
Aim 2. To provide students with the opportunity to develop and explore skills and confidence in using relevant bibliographic databases and other IT resources (e.g. MEDLINE, PSYCHINFO, etc.) for the access and retrieval of psychological and medical literature.
Aim 3. To provide students with the opportunity to develop critical and analytical skills in dealing with their own and others' theoretical ideas.

Learning Outcomes:
On completion of the unit the students will:
* Be able to demonstrate a general knowledge of and insight into the relationships between stress and physiological functioning in health and illness.
* Be able to use bibliographic databases and other IT resources to access relevant literature and information.
* Have developed i). Critical thinking skills; ii). Skills in aspects of oral communication, presentation, debating, and negotiation.

Understands the scientific underpinnings of psychology as a discipline, its historical origins, development and limitations. (T/F A)
Can demonstrate systematic knowledge and critical understanding of a range of influences on psychological functioning, how they are conceptualised across the core areas, and how they interrelate. The core knowledge domains within psychology include (i) research methods, (ii) biological psychology, (iii) health psychology, (iv) individual differences, (v) developmental psychology and (vi) social psychology. In addition to these core areas it is expected that students will gain knowledge of conceptual and historical perspectives in psychology. (T/F A)
Has detailed knowledge of several specialised areas and/or applications, some of which are at the cutting edge of research in the discipline. (T/F A)
Can reason scientifically, understand the role of evidence and make critical judgements about arguments in psychology. (T/F A)
Can adopt multiple perspectives and systematically analyse the relationships between them. (T/F A)
To reflect upon new technology and innovation within psychology and to make decisions regarding legitimacy, reliability and effectiveness. (T/F A)
To effectively and efficiently apply principles of psychological analysis within a variety of environments. (T/F A)
To develop sensitivity to the values and interests of others. (T/F A)
Can communicate ideas and research findings both effectively and fluently by written, oral and visual means. (T/F A)
Is computer literate and is confident in using word processing, database and statistical software. (T/F A)
Can solve problems by clarifying questions, considering alternative solutions and evaluating outcomes. (T/F A)
Is sensitive to and can react appropriately to contextual and interpersonal factors in groups and teams. (T/F A)
Can undertake self-directed study and project management in order to meet desired objectives. (T/F A)
Is able to take charge of their own learning, and can reflect and evaluate personal strengths and weaknesses for the purposes of future learning. (T/F A)

The unit will be organised around 12 two-hour lecture-seminars exploring relationships between stress and aspects of health and illness, focusing particularly on the field of Psychoneuroimmunology. The lecture-seminars will provide a sound knowledge of the field. Following an introduction to the physiological systems of the body, their inter-relationships, and the field of PNI, students will explore coping resources and psychosocial interventions for dealing with stress through the study of specific immune related diseases. Current conceptual issues in this emerging interdisciplinary field will be discussed throughout the course.
Click here for further informationProgramme availability:

PS30083 is Optional on the following programmes:

Programmes in Natural Sciences
  • UXXX-AFB01 : BSc (hons) Natural Sciences (Full-time) - Year 3
  • UXXX-AKB02 : BSc (hons) Natural Sciences with Industrial Placement (Full-time with Thick Sandwich Placement) - Year 4
  • UXXX-AAB02 : BSc (hons) Natural Sciences with Study Year Abroad (Full-time with Study Year Abroad) - Year 4
Department of Psychology
  • UHPS-AKB03 : BSc (hons) Psychology (Full-time with Thick Sandwich Placement) - Year 4

NB. Programmes and units are subject to change at any time, in accordance with normal University procedures.