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PSY8060 Health Psychology

Semester 1, 2011 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Sciences
School or Department : Psychology

Contents on this page


Examiner: Grace Pretty
Moderator: Paul Bramston


Pre-requisite: PSY8045


Many preventable causes of acute and chronic illness and premature death are associated with lifestyle and environment, in addition to biological and physiological aetiologies. Also, the well being of individuals already suffering from acute and chronic illness can be enhanced with psychological assistance in managing psychological aspects of symptoms and medical treatments. In order to address lifestyle-related health issues and psychological aspects of chronic and acute illness management, practitioners need to understand the biopsychosocial factors in health, how to assess these factors, develop and provide appropriate interventions and assess outcomes.


This course will examine biopsychosocial factors associated with mortality and morbidity in the Australian culture. It will consider research and theory relevant to health and lifestyle-related behaviour. A range of health attitudes, assessment methods and interventions will be reviewed, and students will use several of these methods in practice sessions. This course will be offered through three two-day compulsory workshops on-campus, each of two days duration.


On successful completion of this course students will be able to demonstrate the following competencies identified by the APS Competencies for Psychologists (1996) and the competency document for the College of Clinical Psychologists. Specifically they will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of evidence-based biopsychosocial factors in relation to current health problems;
  2. appropriately select from and implement a range of assessment strategies relevant to these problems;
  3. identify and assess the relationship between health attitudes and health behaviours;
  4. demonstrate an understanding of the links between stress, coping and support systems;
  5. appreciate gender, age and cross cultural aspects of health related behaviour and attitudes;
  6. understand and implement strategies of motivational interviewing;
  7. understand and implement strategies for facilitating positive affect, attitudes, beliefs and behaviour related to pain management.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Concepts of health, personal wellness and self care in response to acute and chronic illness. 10.00
2. Lifestyle change promoting health and motivational interviewing strategies. 30.00
3. Psychological models of pain, its assessment and intervention. 30.00
4. Psychological models of chronic illness and disease, assessment and intervention. 30.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Llewelyn, S & Kennedy, P (Eds) 2003, Handbook of clinical health psychology, Wiley & Sons, Milton, Qld.
  • Rollnick, S, Miller, W & Butler, C 2008, Motivational Interviewing in Health Care: Helping Patients Change Behvaiour, Guildford Press, New York.
  • White, CA 2001, Cognitive behaviour therapy for chronic medical problems: A guide to assessment and practise, John Wiley, Chichester; New York.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Allen, F 1998, Health psychology - theory and practice, Allen & Unwin, Australia.
  • American psychological association health psychology section,
  • Antoni, M 2003, Stress management intervention for women with breast cancer, American Psychological Association, New York.
  • Baler, CD & Deardorff, W 1995, Clinical health psychology in medical settings: a practitioner's guidebook, American Psychological Association, New York.
  • Baum, A & Anderson, B (eds) 2001, Psychosocial interventions for cancer, American Psychological Association, New York.
  • Block, A, Gatchel, RJ, Deardorff, W & Guyer, R 2003, The psychology of spine surgery, American Psychological Association, New York.
  • British psychological society special group in health psychology.
  • Canadian psychological association, health psychology section.
  • European health psychology society,
  • Frank, RG & Elliott, TR 2000, Handbook of rehabilitation psychology, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.
  • Gatchel, RJ & Oordt, MS 2003, Clinical health psychology and primary care: practical advice and clinical guidance for successful collaboration, 1st edn, APA, Washington, DC.
  • Gatchel, RJ & Tusk, DC (eds) 1999, Psychosocial factors in pain: critical perspectives, Guilford Press, New York.
  • Gatchel, RJ 2005, Clinical essentials of pain management, 1st edn, APA, Washington, DC.
  • Glanz, K, Lewis, FM & Rimer, B (eds) 2002, Health behavior and health education: theory, practice and research, 3rd edn, Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, Calf.
  • Health psychology on the net.
  • International society of behavioural medicine,
  • Journal of health and human behaviour.
  • Journal of health and social behaviour.
  • Journal of health psychology.
  • Miller, W R & Rollnick, S 2002, Motivational Interviewing: Preparing people for change, 2nd edn, Guildford Press, New York.
  • Salmon, P 2000, Psychology of medicine and surgery: a guide for psychologists, counsellors, nurses and doctors, Jacaranda Wiley, Australia.
  • Schedlowski, M & Tewes, U (eds) 1999, Psychoneuroimmunology: an interdisciplinary introduction, Kluwer Academic/Plenum, London.
  • Society of behavioural medicine,
  • The Motivational Interviewing Page,

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assignments 42.00
Private Study 100.00
Test 3.00
Workshops 42.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSESSMENT REPORT 1 40 39 04 May 2011
PAIN ASSESS & MANAGE DVD 1 1 31 May 2011
2 HOUR CLOSED IN-CLASS TEST 60 58 24 Jun 2011 (see note 1)
ATTEND AT 3 WKSHOP SESS ONCAM 1 1 24 Jun 2011 (see note 2)

  1. The 2 Hour Closed In-Class Test will be given on Day 2 of Workshop 3.
  2. On-campus Workshops will be held for two days on three occasions during the semester. Students should consult the Department of Psychology website for the 2011 schedule.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    Participation in On-campus Workshops. The skills components of this course will be taught in three, two-day compulsory workshops held on campus. During these workshops, students will engage in practice of techniques for a variety of assessments. These are essential prior to completion of the assessment reports. If circumstances prevent a student from attending a workshop, the student must contact the examiner to arrange an alternative activity. Attendance at the three workshops and/or completion of one or more alternative activities at a standard judged to be appropriate by the examiner is required before the 1 mark for the workshops can be awarded.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To complete each of the assignments satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for each assignment. To complete the test satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for the test.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    No late penalties.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the assignment and test, and attempt the workshop attendance requirement and the two DVDs for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    In a Closed Test, candidates are allowed to bring only writing and drawing instruments into the test.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any deferred tests for this course will be held at a date and time determined by the examiner after consultation with the students involved. There will be no supplementary tests in this course.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be produced within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  2. The examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  3. Students will require access to e-mail and internet access to UConnect for this course.

  4. Client Assessment Report 1. Each student will interview a 'volunteer client' regarding a particular acute health issue, such as physical injury, surgery, etc, or a lifestyle issue such as lack of exercise, poor diet, smoking, etc. The student will integrate data from the interview and from appropriate formal assessments to write a report on the psychological factors contributing to the person's health problem and possibly affecting the efficacy of a psychological intervention. The report will be approximately 1,500 words. Motivational Interviewing and Pain Assessment and Intervention DVD's. Students will engage a 'volunteer client' to demonstrate a 45 minute session of motivational interviewing and a 45 minute video of pain assessment and intervention. Students will submit an Intervention Skills Self-Evaluation Checklist with each DVD. Viewing and feedback of these DVD's during the workshops.

  5. APA style is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use APA style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide. //