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PSY3110 Clinical Health Psychology

Semester 2, 2015 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Psychology and Counselling

Contents on this page


Examiner: Zahra Izadikhah
Moderator: Andrea Lamont-Mills


Pre-requisite: PSY3030


This course explores the connection between how people think and behave and their physical and mental health. The connection between mind and body is bi-directional and multi-faceted. The ways in which people think or feel can benefit or harm their health in areas such as cardiovascular disease, chronic pain, coping with chronic disease, drug and alcohol use, fitness, or injury and disease prevention. People's physical health status can conversely affect their moods, attitudes to life, and both individual and social behaviour. This course will assist students to integrate their knowledge of psychology into the bio-psycho-social context of physical and psychological health, thus preparing them to acquire the practical and specialised knowledge and skills taught at postgraduate level.


This course will consider psychological factors involved in the area of health and disease from the theoretical perspectives of social psychology as they relate to behavioural change. It will discuss psychological research methods in their application to health. Students will examine health-related behaviours, such as coping with disease and pain, attitude to medical advice, smoking, diet, exercise, alcohol use, sexual practices, and injury prevention. Finally future challenges facing psychology in its relationship to health will be outlined. The course will be offered in the form of twelve modules on-campus and externally.


On completion of this course students should have acquired knowledge of:

  1. key biological, psychological, and social determinants of health and illness;
  2. clinical psychological sequalae of major illnesses and injury;
  3. epidemiology of Australian population groups;
  4. psychology of health risk factors;
  5. health beliefs and attitudes;
  6. stress, coping, and social support in health and illness;
  7. disease prevention;
  8. processes of acute and chronic illness, psychological factors influencing medical care;
  9. communication in health settings;
  10. interdisciplinary public health;
  11. interventions used in preventing and coping with disease and in promoting healthy behaviour.


Description Weighting(%)
1. What is health? Changing perspectives. Individual, cultural, and lifespan perspectives on health. What is Health psychology? Poverty and health. Minority status and health. Work and health. 10.00
2. What is health behaviour? Diet. Obesity. Alcohol consumption. Smoking. Unprotected sexual behaviour. Exercise. Health-screening behaviour. Immunisation. 10.00
3. Predicting health behaviour. Influences on health behaviour. Models of health Behaviour. Continuum models of behaviour change. Stage models of behaviour change 10.00
4. Reducing risk of disease. Health promotion. Screening programs. Strategies for changing risk behaviour. Modelling change. Behaviour practice. Cognitive strategies. Promoting population health. Using the mass media. Environmental influences. 10.00
5. The body in health and illness. Behavioural anatomy of the brain. The autonomic Nervous system. The immune system. The digestive tract. The cardiovascular system. The respiratory system. Symptom perception, interpretation, and response. 10.00
6. The consultation and beyond. Influencing factors. Moving beyond consultation. 5.00
7. Stress, health, and illness. Concept of stress. Types of stress. Stress as a physiological response. The stress and illness link. 5.00
8. Stress and illness moderators. Stress and coping. Stress, personality, and illness. Stress and cognitions. Stress and emotions. Social support and stress. 5.00
9. Preventing stress. Working with individuals. Helping people to cope with trauma. Minimising stress in hospital settings. 5.00
10. Impact of illness on quality of life. Measuring quality of life. Illness, emotions and adjustment. Illness and family. Caring. 5.00
11. Pain. The experience of pain. Biological models of pain. A psychobiological theory of pain. Future understandings of pain - the neuromatrix. Helping people to cope with pain. 10.00
12. Improving health and quality of life. Coping with chronic illness. Reducing distress. Managing illness. Preventing disease progression. 10.00
13. Futures. Health psychology research and the future of healthcare in Australia. 5.00

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. (

  • Caltabiano, ML, Sarafino, EP & Byrne, D 2008, Health psychology: biopsychosocial interactions, 2nd Australasian edn, Wiley, Brisbane.

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.
  • Adams, Bridget 1998, Psychology for health care: key terms and concepts, MacMillan, Basingstoke, Hampshire.
  • Allen, F 2010, Health Psychology and behaviour in Australia, McGraw-Hill, Sydney.
  • Bennett, P 2000, Introduction to clinical health psychology, Open University, Buckingham.
  • Caltabiano, ML & Sarafino, EP 2002, Health psychology: biopsychosocial interactions, an Australian perspective, Wiley, Brisbane.
  • Grbich, C 2004, Health in Australia: sociological concepts and issues, 3rd edn, Longman, Sydney.
  • Kozlowski, LT, Henningfield, JE & Brigham, J 2001, Cigarettes, nicotine & health: a behavioural approach, Sage, Thousand Oaks, Ca; London.
  • Lewis, MK 2002, Multicultural health psychology: special topics acknowledging diversity, Allyn & Bacon, Boston.
  • Morrison, V, Bennett, P, Butow, P, Mullan, B, & White, K 2008, Introduction to health psychology in Australia, Pearson, Frenchs Forest.
  • Ogden, J 2007, Health psychology: a textbook, 4th edn, McGraw-Hill, New York.
  • Salmon, P 2000, Psychology of medicine and surgery: a guide for psychologists, counsellors, nurses and doctors, Wiley, Chichester.
  • Sarafino, EP 2006, Health psychology: biopsychosocial interactions, 5th edn, Wiley, Brisbane.
  • Sternberg, EM 2001, The balance within: the science of connecting health and emotions, WH Freeman & Co, New York.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 55.00
Examinations 2.00
Private Study 108.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 40 40 14 Sep 2015

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C-. Students do not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to be awarded a passing grade in this course. Refer to Statement 4 below for the requirements to receive a passing grade in this course.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  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 course. Note that the Conceded Pass is not available in this course due to APAC accreditation standard 2.1.9.

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

  6. Examination information:
    Candidates are allowed to bring only writing and drawing instruments into the Closed examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  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. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students may be required to provide a copy of assignments submitted for assessment purposes. Such copies should be dispatched to the USQ within 24 hours of receipt of a request to do so.

  3. Access to email, discussion groups and the internet is a departmental requirement. I expect you to open your university provided email account and check it regularly for personal communication. Information sent this way will be regarded as being receivable. [Note, other accounts often have more limited sized mail boxes, are not accessible when the USQ external connection is down and may not always remain open throughout your candidature.]

  4. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  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. //

  6. Reliable access to the internet is a requirement of this course as the course contains electronic submission elements. In order to avoid internet issues, on-campus students should upload their assignments electronically using the on-campus computer laboratories. External students who knowingly do not have reliable access to the internet should actively seek alternative internet access (e.g., Internet cafes, local libraries, or work places) for assessment submission. External students are able to use the on-campus student computer laboratories once access has been enabled. To be granted access, external students need to contact ICT and ask to have a student account enabled so that they can work on-campus. This needs to be requested at least one week before access is required

Other requirements

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