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The Psychology of Health and Well Being

  • Module code: PS6005
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 6
  • Credits: 30
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

The module will engage you with the main themes of contemporary health psychology and positive psychology with a particular focus on theory, research, intervention, and application. You will gain an understanding of the importance of psychological processes in the experience of health and illness, and explore the role of behaviour and emotion in current trends of mortality and morbidity. In addition, you will gain an understanding of the role of positive emotions, optimism, spirituality, flourishing relationships, and community engagement in promoting health, well-being, and happiness. You will also become aware of the crucial roles health psychology and positive psychology have to play in the development and evaluation of physical and psychological health promotion interventions.

Aims

  • To enable students to attain detailed understanding of the role and importance of psychological processes in physical and psychological health;
  • To facilitate the development of critical appraisal skills in evaluating research on health and well-being;
  • To advance students' ability to apply theoretical models and constructs in health psychology and positive psychology to ‘real life'/research interventions.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the role of psychological processes in health and well-being;
  • Critically evaluate contemporary health psychology or positive psychology research in at least one key area;
  • Design and evaluate interventions to promote health and well-being.

Curriculum content

  • The biopsychosocial models of health and illness
  • Theories of stress and coping; the role of social support
  • Communication in medical settings
  • Costs of caring
  • Health inequalities
  • Social cognitive models of health behaviours
  • Health behaviours (e.g. smoking, diet, exercise, and screening)
  • Health promotion strategies and interventions
  • Subjective well-being, positive emotions, and happiness
  • Human strengths and resilience
  • Flow and mindfulness
  • Positive psychology in clinical and occupational settings 

Teaching and learning strategy

This module will be delivered through a series of 22 one-hour lectures and 22 two-hour seminars. Lectures are designed to introduce students to the key theory, research findings, and current debate on each topic. Students will apply the knowledge gained from the lecture to practical examples and group activities during the seminar sessions. Online content such as video links, discussion boards, and external talks will also engage students with the teaching material. The teaching and learning strategy is designed to enable students to learn key skills in knowledge application, critical analysis, and group work.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive UNISTATS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Interactive lectures and seminars 66
Guided independent study independent study 234
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Summative assessment will be through two essays (50% each).  The first essay (2000 words) will allow students to demonstrate the application of theory and research to our understanding of health behaviour and behaviour change., The second essay (2000 words) will allow students to choose one key area of health psychology or positive psychology and critically evaluate contemporary research in this area in detail. Explicit formative feedback will be given during the interactive lectures to enable students to discuss their work before the summative assessment is completed.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the role of psychological processes in health and well-being Formatively through lecture and seminar activities, summatively through the two essay assignments.
Evaluate contemporary health or positive psychology research in at least one key area Formatively through lecture and seminar activities, summatively through the two essay assignments.
Design and evaluate interventions to promote health and well-being Formatively through lecture and seminar activities, summatively through the two essay assignments.

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography recommended reading

Marks, D. F. Murray, M., Evans, B., Willig, C., Woodall, C., & Sykes, C. (2005). Health psychology: Theory, research and practice (2nd ed.). London: Sage.

Morrison, V., & Bennett, P. (2006). An introduction to health psychology. Pearson, Prentice Hall.

Ogden, J. (2012). Health psychology (5th ed.). Buckingham: Open University Press.

Roberts, R., Towell, T., & Golding, J. F. (2001). Foundations of health psychology. Palgrave.

Baumgardner, S. & Crothers, M. (2009). Positive psychology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Snyder, C. R., Lopez, S. J., & Pedrotti, J. T. (2010). Positive psychology: The scientific and practical explorations of human strengths. London: Sage Publications.

Carr, A. (2004). Positive psychology: The Science of happiness and human strengths. (2nd ed.) New York: Brunner-Routledge.

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