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PSY8060 Advanced Health Psychology

Semester 2, 2020 On-campus Toowoomba
Short Description: Advanced 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: Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: MCPS or MCPA or be undertaking the course as professional development


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 wellbeing 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). Attendance at the five on-campus workshops is mandatory. Dates of the five workshops will be according to the 'Workshop Schedule' which will be emailed to students at the outset of the program.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to :

  1. apply knowledge 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. apply advanced knowledge of the interaction between stress, coping and support systems;
  5. incorporate knowledge of gender, age, and socio-economic disadvantage to the assessment and intervention of health related behaviour and attitudes, in a culturally-responsive manner;
  6. integrate advanced knowledge and skills to conducting motivational interviewing;
  7. implement advanced intervention 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 treatment in 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.
Miller, W R & Rollnick, S 2013, Motivational Interviewing: helping people change, 3rd edn, Guildford Press, New York.
Salmon, P 2000, Psychology of medicine and surgery: a guide for psychologists, counsellors, nurses and doctors, Jacaranda Wiley, Australia.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Private Study 125.00
Workshops 40.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Objectives Assessed Notes
LIFESTYLE BEHAV CHNGE REPORT 34 34 05 Nov 2020 1,2,3,4,5,7
MOTIVATIONAL INTERVIEWING DVD 33 33 06 Nov 2020 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 (see note 1)
PAIN ASSESS & MANAGE DVD 33 33 06 Nov 2020 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 (see note 2)

  1. The Course Examiner will advise Students of the due date via StudyDesk
  2. The Course Examiner will advise Students of the due date via StudyDesk

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in the compulsory workshops held on-campus, where the skills components of this course will be taught. During these workshops, students will engage in the development and practice of skills. Further, it is the students' responsibility to study all assigned material. If circumstances prevent a student from attending any portion of a workshop, the student MUST contact the examiner IN ADVANCE, if at all possible. The student must also contact the examiner in order to arrange an alternative activity, although it is important to note that it will be at the examiner’s discretion as to whether an alternative activity will be made available. Attendance at, and participation in, the five workshops and/or completion of one or more alternative activities at a standard judged to be appropriate by the examiner is required to pass the course. Attendance at the five on-campus workshops is mandatory. Dates of the five workshops will be according to the 'Workshop Schedule' which will be emailed to students at the outset of the program.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    Students must achieve 70% in order to pass the motivational interviewing DVD, and, the pain assessment and management DVD assessment tasks. Students must achieve 50% in order to pass the Lifestyle Behaviour Change report

  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 submit each assessment item, and achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the Behaviour Change report, and at least 70% of the weighted marks available for the two recorded interview DVDs, in addition to attending all workshops. All courses in the MCPS and MCPA are approved by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC), which requires that students pass all assessment items in all courses. Where a student fails any assignment, the student will be allowed one opportunity to re-submit their work following feedback from the course examiner. If a student fails any assignment a second time, he or she will be deemed to have failed the course and will be required to undertake the course again at its next offering. This rule applies regardless of whether or not the aggregated marks for remaining assessment in a course are higher than 50% overall. Where illness, bereavement, or circumstances of similar gravity affect a student’s ability to meet the high standards expected in the course, the student should meet with the course examiner and Director of Postgraduate Psychology to negotiate suitable management of the person’s individual needs in accordance to University policies and procedures.

  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, with a passing grade only awarded where all workshops were attended and all assessment items were passed

  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. Applications for extension must be submitted in writing to the course examiner IN ADVANCE of the assessment due date.

  4. Lifestyle Behaviour 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 1,500 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. Students will be given one (1) opportunity to resubmit their video, should they fail;

  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.

Date printed 6 November 2020