University of the West of England



Version: 1

Level: M UWE credit rating: 20 ECTS credit rating: 10

Module type: Standard

Owning Faculty: Applied Sciences Field: Psychology

Valid from: September 2003 Discontinued from:

Pre-requisites: None

Co-requisites: None

Excluded combinations: None

Learning outcomes:

      • Evaluate the application of theory and knowledge in health psychology to issues in health and health care.

      • Critically evaluate the advantages and limitations of using current theories and models in applied research

      • Examine current theories and models in relation to their own experience of behaviour change

      • Report their findings effectively in poster form and as an oral summary

      • Debate current issues in health psychology

Syllabus outline:

The Discipline of Health Psychology

The emergence of health psychology as a cognate discipline. The relationship and contribution of other areas within psychology (eg clinical, counselling and social psychology) and other disciplines (including the social sciences, epidemiology, health policy)

Health Psychology and Government Targets

Definitions and models of health and illness; health psychology and the biomedical model of care; current statistics of morbidity and mortality; the role of health psychology in achieving government targets for the health of the nation.

Determinants of Health

Social and cultural factors in health and illness; health inequalities. Health related behaviour including protective and risk behaviours (smoking, alcohol and other drug use, diet, sexual behaviour).

The relationship of exercise to health; concepts and definitions of fitness, wellbeing and physical activity; beliefs and attitudes about exercise; consensus views of the benefits of exercise to health. The body’s response to exercise; mental health and exercise. Factors affecting motivation to exercise. Applications of exercise to health, pain management, stress control, exercise prescriptions. Current debates concerning national campaigns and approaches to active living.

Theories and Models in Health Psychology

Evaluating theories and models of health related behaviour, behaviour change, health and illness representations and health promotion. The impact of social and cultural factors on health and illness behaviours. The way forward for theories and models in health psychology.

Applying Theories and Knowledge in Health Psychology

Triumphs, trials and tribulations in theory based and a-theoretical research and interventions, with particular reference to interactions with the health care system. Perceiving symptoms and seeking help; patient-practitioner relationships, giving bad news, communication and satisfaction, the impact of hospitalisation, preparation for stressful procedures, adherence to treatment regimes. Health promotion in the workplace, community and hospital.

Current debates in health psychology

The content will vary from year to year to include new topics of interest. Current issues include changing patterns of health care delivery; the escalating cost of health care; the role of health psychologists in the NHS.

Teaching and learning methods:

Workshops, student led discussions, group problem-solving sessions.

Reading Strategy

All students will be encouraged to make full use of the print and electronic resources available to them through membership of the University. These include a range of electronic journals and a wide variety of resources available through web sites and information gateways. The University Library’s web pages provide access to subject relevant resources and services, and to the library catalogue. Many resources can be accessed remotely. Students will be presented with opportunities within the curriculum to develop their information retrieval and evaluation skills in order to identify such resources effectively.

This guidance will be available either in the module handbook, via the module information on UWEonline or through any other vehicle deemed appropriate by the module/programme leaders.

Students will be required to rely heavily on journal articles to support this module. The reading lists and reading packs will be updated yearly. The following texts are offered as a guide only.

Ahmad, W. (2000) Ethinicity, Disability & Chronic Illness. Buckingham. Open University Press.

Bennett P & Murphy S (1997) Psychology & Health Promotion. OU Press: Buckingham

Conner, M. & Norman, P. (1999) Predicting Health Behaviour: Research and Practice with Social Cognition Models. Buckingham. Open University Press

Crossley, M.L (2000) Rethinking Health Psychology. Buckingham. Open University Press.

Edelmann RJ (2000) Psychosocial Aspects of the Health Care Process. Harlow. Prentice Hall.

Graham, H. (2000) Understanding Health Inequalities. Buckingham. Open University Press

HMSO (1999) Saving Lives: Our healthier nation. HMSO Books.

Kaptein. A & Weinman, J. (eds) (2003) Health Psychology: An Introduction. Blackwell

Marks D, Murray M, Evans B & Willig C (2000) Health Psychology : Theory, Research and Practice. Sage, London

Myers, L & Midence, K. (eds) (1998) Adherence to treatment in medical conditions. Amsterdam. Harwood Academic Press.

Norman, P. Abraham, C & Conner, M. (2000) Understanding and Changing Health Behaviour. Amsterdam. Harwood Academic Press.

Ogden J (2nd Edition 2000) Health Psychology: A Textbook. OU Press: Buckingham

Sarafino EP (2002 – 4th Ed) Health Psychology : Biopsychosocial Interactions. John Wiley & Son, New York

Walker, J. (2001) Control and the Psychology of Health. Buckingham. Open University Press


Weighting between components A and B (standard modules only) A: 25% B: 75%


First Assessment Opportunity

Component A Element weighting


Poster presentation & oral summary of critical evaluation of Health behaviour change.




Component B

Description of each element Element weighting


Critical evaluation of current theories and models in the light of the student’s own attempt at health behaviour change (2000 Words)





Second Assessment Opportunity (further attendance at taught classes) No

Component A

Description of each element Element weighting


Poster presentation & oral summary of critical evaluation of Health behaviour change.




Component B

Description of each element Element weighting


Critical evaluation of current theories and models in the light of the student’s own attempt at health behaviour change (2000 Words)




SECOND (OR SUBSEQUENT) ATTEMPT Attendance at taught classes. Yes

Specification confirmed by …………………………………………………Date ……………………………

(Associate Dean/Programme Director)

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