MSc Health Psychology

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Health and Society

Unit code PSYC69831
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Division of Psychology and Mental Health
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

This unit examines how the social, cultural and economic environment influences the presentation of different physical and mental health outcomes and ones experience of them. Students will explore and discuss health inequalities and the role of health psychology in understanding these. How these factors shape government policy, the availability and accessibility of health care services, health behaviour and the health of the nation will be considered. The unit also explores the role that prejudice and discrimination play in the relationship between these social, cultural and economic factors and health. The unit aims to show students that understanding the role of these social, cultural and economic factors is vital for understanding health and illness and provides an essential foundation for the design of tailored-interventions to improve health.

Aims

The unit aims to:

  • Provide students with an understanding of the importance of social, cultural and economic factors including neighbourhood, gender, age, religion, socioeconomic status and ethnicity on health outcomes and health behaviours
  • Inequalities in health outcomes and health behaviours due to social, cultural and economic factors will be examined
  • Provide an understanding of how social, cultural and economic factors impact on health seeking, and access and availability of health services
  • Inform students of how policies directly affect social, cultural and economic factors and shape the health of the nation
  • Highlight the importance of historical knowledge, global awareness and other disciplines, such as epidemiology, in the understanding of health and illness
  • Teach students that critical evaluation of the current knowledge, theory and evidence of social, cultural and economic influences on health is the basis for effective intervention to improve health outcomes
  • Explore theories of social and individual representations of health and illness to enable students to understand the impact of social, cultural and economic factors on an individual’s health
  • Facilitate understanding of the impact of prejudice, legislation and discrimination on health.
     

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe how social, cultural and economic factors influence individual and societal health outcome and health behaviours
  • Discuss how social, cultural and economic factors impact on health seeking, and access and availability of health services
  • Understand how policy affects social, cultural and economic factors and shapes the health of the nation
  • Understand of the impact of prejudice, legislation and discrimination on health.
  • Critically evaluate how historic and multidisciplinary knowledge of social, cultural and economic factors impact on health seeking, and access and availability of health services
  • Critically evaluate the existing literature on social, cultural and economic factors’ impact on health seeking, and access and availability of health services
  • Understand how knowledge, theory and evidence of social, cultural and economic influences on health forms the basis for effective intervention to improve health outcomes
  • Explore theories of social and individual representations of health and illness.
  • Engage with the unit lead and fellow class members through in-class activities and the online discussion board
  • Present what they have learnt throughout the unit in a portfolio completed weekly.
  • Reflect on their own position in society and the impact this could have upon their role as a health psychologist
  • Communicate their views and experience of the unit learning objectives in written form.
     

Teaching and learning methods

Ten two-hour sessions will be run over one semester. To aid student learning, these teaching and learning sessions will comprise of a mixture of lecture-based learning, student-led seminar and discussion activities. Each session will begin by indicating which of the unit aims and learning objectives will be addressed. Likewise, each session will end with a summary of what was covered in relation to the unit aims and learning objectives.

The weekly sessions will be supplemented with material posted on Blackboard (e.g. lecture slides, reading lists and resources).

The discussion board on Blackboard will be available for asking questions and discussing issues arising in teaching sessions and reading. The unit lead will respond to all discussion board posts at least once a week and will review before each session so to edit the session accordingly to facilitate learning.

The assessment is completed by students throughout the unit and will aid their learning in relation to the unit learning objectives and their own development as a health psychologist.

 

Assessment methods

Portfolio 100%

A portfolio of six activities will be submitted by student. Activities 1-3 will be submitted during reading week in November (this will be worth 50% of the grade). Activities 4-6 will be submitted near the end of the semester in December (this will be worth a further 50% of the grade). The activities differ in length and content (e.g., one asks students to provide photographs and one a podcast). Therefore it is not possible to state a word count. Weekly activities will be provided to students on Blackboard with clear instructions for completion. In addition, the portfolio will be explained to students in the first teaching and learning session by the unit lead. Students will be given the opportunity to ask question about the activities on the discussion board on Blackboard (to enable students to feel comfortable to ask questions, they will be able to post anonymously). The activities will be varied and will be designed to support the student’s learning of the unit learning objectives. The portfolio will aid the understanding (both prior to and after sessions) of the social, cultural and economic factors influencing health and illness.

Recommended reading

These are key readings for the course. Additional references will be provided with individual sessions.

  • Black, D., Morris, J.N., Smith, C., & Townsend, P. (1980). The Black Report. London: Department of Health.
  • Davey Smith, G. Bartley, M., & Blane, D. (1997). The black report on socioeconomic inequalities in health 10 years on. British Medical Journal, 301, 373-377.
  • Graham, H. (2010). Understanding Health Inequalities (2nd Edition). Berkshire, England: McGraw-Hill Education.
  • Koplan, J.P, Bond, T,C., Merson, M,H., et al. (2009). Towards a common definition of global health. Lancet, 373 (9679), 1993-5.
  • Marmot, M. G.; Davey Smith, G.; Stansfield, S.; et al. (1991). "Health Inequalities among British civil servants: the Whitehall II study". Lancet 337 (8754): 1387-1393. doi:10.1016/0140-6736
  • Marmot, M. & Wilkinson, R. G. (Eds.). Social determinants of health (2nd Edition) (p.1-6). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Michie, S., Jochelson, K., Markham, W.A., & Bridle, C. (2009). Low-income groups and behaviour change interventions: a review of intervention content, effectiveness and theoretical frameworks. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 63, 610-622.
  • Monteiro, C.A., Mouram E.C., Conde, W.L., & Popkin, B.M. (2004). Socioeconomic status and obesity in adult populations of developing countries: a review. Public Health Reviews, 82 (12), 940-946

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 130

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Tracy Epton Unit coordinator

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