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PS30101: Psychology of pain

[Page last updated: 02 August 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/23
Owning Department/School: Department of Psychology
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Honours (FHEQ level 6)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: ES 80%, OT 20%
Assessment Detail:
  • Presentation (OT 20%)
  • Essay (ES 80%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Requisites: Before taking this module you must take PS20167 AND take PS20107 AND ( take PS20109 OR take PS20168 ) AND take PS20124 AND take PS20125
Learning Outcomes: To critically evaluate theoretical models of pain
To critically evaluate the physiological approach to pain
To critically evaluate the way in which psychological factors can affect the experience and perception pf pain
To critically evaluate the role that psychological interventions can have in pain management programmes.

Aims: To provide students with a fundamental understanding of the role that psychological factors play in pain and pain-related behaviours. To cover core topics such as definitions of pain, sensory pain pathways, treatment approaches, and psychological issues in pain.

Skills: Recognises the inherent variability and diversity of psychological functioning and its significance. (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) cognitive psychology, (iv) individual differences, (v) developmental psychology and (vi) social psychology.
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)
Can undertake self-directed study and project management in order to meet desired objectives. (F)
Is able to take charge of their own learning, and can reflect and evaluate personal strengths and weaknesses for the purposes of future learning. (F)

Content: Definitions of pain
Theoretical models of pain modulation
Peripheral and spinal mechanisms in pain
Central pain pathways
Coping with pain
The role of emotion in pain
Sex, gender and pain
Pharmacological management of pain
Physical management of pain
Psychological management of pain.

Programme availability:

PS30101 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Psychology


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
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