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PS50195: Health psychology approaches

[Page last updated: 02 August 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/23
Owning Department/School: Department of Psychology
Credits: 18 [equivalent to 36 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 360
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Academic Year
Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Reflective summary (CW 5%)
  • Systematic review (CW 45%)
  • Reflective report (CW 50%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Learning Outcomes: By the end of the unit, the students should be able to:
* Be familiar with the contributions of different disciplines to the study of health, well-being and disease.
* Be able to demonstrate that they know about the changes in health psychology across the lifespan.
* Appreciate some of the key social processes that contribute to the experience and reporting of illness.
* Be familiar with the role of beliefs and cognitions in the context of health.
* Understand and critically evaluate different health-related variables impacting on acute and long term conditions.
* Be able to demonstrate professonal responsibility and development.

* To provide a broad introduction to health psychology and health related disciplines.
* To locate many of the issues and health concerns of health psychology in the wider health sciences research context.
* To understand and critically evaluate different variables, models, theories and approaches associated with health beliefs and health cognitions.
* To provide an introduction to the appraisal and evaluation of evidence relating to health and illness.
* To be aware of policy, strategy and legislation in health contexts.

Skills: Intellectual Skills
* To make decisions regarding legitimacy and reliability of evidence
* To synthesise information from a variety of different sources in order to gain a coherent understanding
* To critically assess and evaluate research and evidence as well as a variety of other information
* To think analytically
* To communicate an argument
Professional / Practical
* To work independently
* To utilise problem solving skills
* To develop critical self-reflection
* Verbal and written presentation skills.

Content: The unit provides a broad introduction to health psychology and related health disciplines. The unit will introduce different models of health care, and consider a systematic appraisal of health across the lifespan from children to older adults including the social processes of becoming ill, including health beliefs and cognitions and their impact on health related behaviour.
Understanding the physiological and psychosomatic disease process and their impact on long term conditions will be explored. A focus on individual and social and cultural differences in health and illness will also be considered. These factors will be applied to current priorities in long term conditions and health related diseases that are prevalent.
Finally, the unit aims to provide students with an appreciation of the psychological processes involved in health communication. This will include discussion of the provision of treatment and its effect on subsequent behaviour, the impact of health care provision in different formats (including newer health technologies) and settings such as primary and secondary care. Beliefs and expectations about health, health risk perception, help seeking, help giving and self-help will be explored. Communication between provider patient and family including breaking bad news and difficult conversations will also be considered.

Programme availability:

PS50195 is a Designated Essential Unit 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.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
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