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PSY8060 Health Psychology

Semester 2, 2019 On-campus Toowoomba
Short Description: Health Psychology
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Psychology and Counselling
Student contribution band : Band 1
ASCED code : 090701 - Psychology
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Amy Mullens


Pre-requisite: PSY8045


Many preventable causes of acute and chronic illness and premature death are associated with lifestyle and environment, in addition to socio-cultural (e.g., ethnicity), 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, including working as psychologists in multi-disciplinary teams. 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; within contemporary multi-disciplinary contexts.


This course will examine biopsychosocial factors associated with mortality and morbidity in the Australian culture; and in working in multi-disciplinary teams across health contexts. It will consider research and theory relevant to health and lifestyle-related behaviour and pain management. A range of health attitudes, assessment methods and interventions will be reviewed, and students will use several of these methods in practice sessions-including theory and application with specific groups (e.g., ethnicity, Australian Indigenous clients). 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 acute and chronic health problem prevention, intervention and rehabilitation—including the influence of cultural factors and culturally-responsive treatment approaches;
  2. appropriately select from and implement a range of assessment and intervention strategies relevant to these problems, and identified priority populations (e.g., Indigenous Australians);
  3. identify and assess the relationship between health attitudes and health behaviours, risk-taking and potential injury; recovery from surgical procedures and invasive diagnostic procedures; and how to effectively work within intra-professional teams to enhance patient outcomes.
  4. demonstrate an understanding of the links between stress, coping and support systems;
  5. appreciate gender, age and cross cultural and socio-economic disadvantage aspects of health related behaviour and attitudes; and best-practice assessment and intervention strategies that are culturally-responsive.
  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. 25.00
2. Lifestyle behavioural change promoting health and recovery, appropriate use of motivational interviewing strategies. 25.00
3. Psychological models of pain, its assessment and intervention. 25.00
4. Psychological models of chronic illness and disease, assessment and intervention. 25.00

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. (

Marks, D.F., Murray, M., Evans, B., & Estacio, E.V 2018, Health Psychology: Theory, research, and practice, 5th edn, Sage Publications, London.
Rollnick, S, Miller, W & Butler, C 2008, Motivational Interviewing in Health Care: Helping Patients Change Behaviour, 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.
Daruna, J 2012, An introduction to psychoneuroimmunology, 2nd edn, Elsevier Academic Press, MA, USA.
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 2005, Clinical essentials of pain management, 1st edn, APA, Washington, DC.
Miller, W R & Rollnick, S 2013, Motivational Interviewing: helping people change, 3rd edn, Guildford Press, New York.
Mostofsky, D. & Barlow, D 2000, The management of stress and anxiety in medical disorders, Allyn and Bacon, Needham Heights, MA.
Salmon, P 2000, Psychology of medicine and surgery: a guide for psychologists, counsellors, nurses and doctors, Jacaranda Wiley, Australia.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assignments 42.00
Private Study 91.00
Workshops 42.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
PAIN ASSESS & MANAGE DVD 33 33 21 Oct 2019
ATTEND AT 3 WKSHOP SESS ONCAM 1 1 25 Oct 2019 (see note 1)

  1. On-campus Workshops will be held for two days on three occasions during the semester.

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 a variety of assessments and interventions. 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 the motivational interviewing DVD, the pain assessment and management DVD students must submit/attempt and achieve 70% of the marks available for each item. To complete the report satisfactorily, students must achieve at least 50% of the marks available. To complete the workshop sessions satisfactorily, students must achieve 100% of the marks available.

  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 in this course, a student must attend all three (3) workshops and must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks for the report and at least 70% of the total weighted marks for the DVD's of the recorded practice interviews.

  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:
    There is no examination for this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    As there is no exam, there will be no Supplementary or Deferred exams for 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. Lifestyle Behavoiur Change Report. Each student will interview a 'volunteer client' regarding a particular lifestyle issue such as lack of exercise, poor diet, smoking, etc. The student will integrate data from the interview with a model of health behaviour change to write a report which addresses three issues: 1. An overview of the health psychology model guiding the interview, the assessment and the formulation; 2. A problem formulation of the psychological factors contributing to the person's health problem and prognosis for the efficacy of a psychological intervention at this time; 3. A cognitive-behavioural intervention plan integrated with the model chosen for the formulation. The report will be approximately 4,000 words.

  5. A Motivational Interviewing and a Pain Consultation DVD. Students will engage a 'volunteer client' to demonstrate a 45 minute session of motivational interviewing and a 45 minute video of pain assessment, psychoeducation and intervention. The examiner will determine whether the student has demonstrated an acceptable level of skill; if not the student will be required to repeat the exercise until such skill levels are demonstrated.

  6. 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.