BSc Psychology / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Foundations of Health Psychology

Course unit fact file
Unit code PSYC11512
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Division of Psychology and Mental Health
Available as a free choice unit? No


Topics covered will include:

  • the concept of health
  • the biomedical and biopsychosocial approaches to health
  • the influence of stress on health
  • the social cognition approach to predicting and changing health behaviour

This unit will also provide students with i. an illustration of the ways in which a strong research basis is critical in this area, and ii. a critical evaluation of basic theoretical and methodological issues.


The unit aims to:

Introduce the concept of health.

Contrast the biomedical model with the biopsychosocial model.

Develop an understanding of approaches to stress.

Develop an understanding of the social cognition approach to predicting and changing health behaviour.

Promote an appreciation of the need for a strong empirical and research base to health psychology.

Develop basic critical evaluation skills.


Teaching and learning methods

This unit is taught via lectures and seminars.

Supplementary reading and resources via Blackboard


Knowledge and understanding

Understand the principal approaches to conceptualising health and health behaviour.

Understand and describe, from theoretical and methodological perspectives, key psychological models that have been used to understand health and health behaviour.

Intellectual skills

  • Appreciate the contributions that psychological research has made to health. Integrate findings from different fields of research to understand health. Ability to summarise the evidence base for findings from the main approaches to health psychology.

Practical skills

  • Apply knowledge to real world cases in the field of health psychology.  

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Students will have the opportunity to develop their skills in: Synthesising information; summarising theories and evidence; critical thinking; evaluating research; communicating effectively; presenting concise and persuasive arguments

Assessment methods

Essay - 100%

Feedback methods

Students will receive a grade and written feedback.


Recommended reading

Abraham, C., Conner, M., Jones, F., O'Connor, D. (2016). Health Psychology. Taylor and Francis.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 84

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Christopher Armitage Unit coordinator

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