BSc Psychology / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Lifestyle Behaviour Change

Course unit fact file
Unit code PSYC31212
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Division of Psychology and Mental Health
Available as a free choice unit? No


Health psychology is ‘the scientific study of psychological processes of health, illness and health care’ (as defined by The Division of Health Psychology, The British Psychological Society).  Health Psychology is a division of the British Psychological Society and health psychologists currently work as practitioners and researchers in many environments including the NHS and academia.    



Building on previous knowledge (see recommended PSYC21032 and PSYC21042), the unit aims to: Make students aware of the career path of a health psychologist and the work health psychologists are likely to be engaged in. Provide students with a clear understanding of the relationship between lifestyle behaviours and health. Enable students to understand, evaluate and discuss the application of psychology to understanding choices regarding lifestyle behaviours. Present students with several different health psychology models and explain their use in the prediction of lifestyle behaviours. Highlight the real-life application of psychology to behaviour change interventions for unhealthy lifestyle behaviours. Advance students’ ability to apply theoretical models in health psychology to developing ‘real world’ interventions.


Teaching and learning methods

This unit will be delivered via lectures and seminars.

Knowledge and understanding

Understand the relationship between lifestyle behaviours and health outcomes; Describe several behaviour change techniques and understand their role in health interventions that aim to change unhealthy lifestyle behaviours; Demonstrate knowledge about the current evidence-base of the key aspects of lifestyle; Understand the importance of evidence-based interventions; Recognise the career pathway of a health psychologist

Intellectual skills

Evaluate contemporary health psychology research on at least one lifestyle behaviour; Critically assess the theoretical usefulness of several health psychology models in the prediction of lifestyle behaviours

Practical skills

Perform literature searches; Identify the key issues regarding lifestyle arising from the literature lifestyle and be able to summarise into research questions  

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Design a health-promoting intervention based on a theoretical framework and to write it up as a research proposal; Engage in structured group discussions about lifestyle, health and real-world interventions; Understand the link between Government policy, the commissioning of healthcare and the role of psychology.

Assessment methods

Exam worth 40% 

Intervention Assignment worth 60%

Feedback methods

Coursework will be marked and full feedback will be provided before the final exam so that it can be used to inform exam preparation. Exam feedback will be available after exam board.


Recommended reading


The Psychology of Lifestyle: Promoting healthy behaviour (2009).  Thirlaway, K., & Upton, D. NYC: Routledge. 

Health Psychology, Second edition (2010) Edited by David French, Kavita Vedhara, Ad Kaptein and John Weinman. BPS Blackwell Blackwell publishing Ltd

Health Psychology, (2016) In the Topics in Applied Psychology series. By Charles Abraham, Mark Conner, Fiona Jones and Daryl O’Connor. Routledge.

Health psychology: A textbook. Third edition (2012) Jane Ogden, Open University Press.



British Journal of Health Psychology

Psychology and Health

Health Psychology

Journal of Health Psychology

Psychology, Health and Medicine

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 169

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Tracy Epton Unit coordinator

Return to course details