Health Psychology

By Anne. Samyukta   |   English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad (Host University)
Learners enrolled: 1350

This course is designed to give students a broad overview of the field of health psychology, including concepts, theory, and research. 

Health psychology is a young and exciting field of study that examines the bi-directional relationship between psychology and mental and physical health. 

This course will try to answer such questions as: 

  • What does stress do to your health? 
  • What psychological and social factors cause people to behave in unhealthy ways? 
  • What helps people adjust to illness? 
  • Does having a lot of friends affect your health?
  • How can we help people who are in pain without getting them addicted to pain-killers? 
  • Does it matter how your doctor talks to you? 

   This course is of 13 weeks with 4 credits and possess 51 modules. This course includes videos where experts in the field of health psychology explain the concepts with relevant examples, also provides reference links for learner’s convenience. This course helps learners in understanding how mind and body influence each other and helps in gaining insight about how mental health can effect physical health and vice versa. Provides information about how an individual’s attitude can be changed for better health practices. To put it simple, health psychology is the destination to gain psychological perspective regarding physical health practices and issues.

Following are the main objectives of the course:

  • Develops an understanding and appreciation of the complex interplay between one's physical a variety of biological, psychological, and social factors.

  • Helps students to learn how psychological research methods, theories, and principles can be applied to enhance biomedical approaches for promoting health and treating illness.

  • Helps students learn the nature of the stress response and its impact in the etiology and course of many health problems.

  • Develop skills for designing programs to improve one's own and others' personal health habits and lifestyles.

  • Determine how psychological and medical methods for relieving pain differ and are often combined to enhance treatment effectiveness.

  • Become aware of the impact that disabling or life-threatening illnesses have on patients and their families.
Course Status : Ongoing
Course Type : Elective
Duration : 15 weeks
Start Date : 18 Jul 2022
End Date : 31 Oct 2022
Exam Date :
Enrollment Ends : 15 Sep 2022
Category :
  • Teacher Education
Credit Points : 4
Level : Undergraduate

Page Visits

Course layout

Week 1:                 

    1. Facets of Health Psychology
    2. Significance of Health Psychology
    3. Health Psychology and Related Areas
    4. Research Methods – Epidemiological Methods, Survey Methods, Experimental Methods and Clinical Methods
    5. Assignment

Week 2:

    1. Concept and Determinants of Health Behaviour
    2. Theoretical Approaches to Health Behaviour - The Health Belief Model, The Theory of Reasoned Action and Learning Theory Approaches to Health Behaviour
    3. Concept and Dimensions of Illness cognitions, Leventhal’s self-regulatory model of illness cognitions (Stage 1: Interpretation, Stage 2: Coping, Stage 3: Appraisal)
    4. Problems with assessment (stage 1: interpretation -symptom perception and social messages; stage 2: coping- coping with a diagnosis and coping with the crisis of illness)
    5. Assignment

Week 3:

    1. Using the self-regulatory model to predict outcomes (Predicting adherence to treatment, predicting recovery from stroke and Predicting recovery from MI)
    2. Changing Attitudes and Beliefs
    3. Behavioural Technology- Cognitive – Behavioural Approaches and Specific Techniques
    4. Attitude and Behaviour Change Principles – Appeals by Physicians, Mass Media Appeals, Promoting Health in Schools and Work Place, Self- help Groups 
    5. Assignment

Week 4:

    1. Specific Health Problems – Smoking, Alcohol Abuse, Obesity and Weight Control and Exercise
    2. Nature and Conceptualisation of Stress - Cannon’s fight or Flight Response, Selye’s General Adaptation Syndrome and Stress and Psychological Appraisal
    3. Measurement of Stress – Self –report Measures, Performance Measures, Physiological Measures and Biochemical Measures
    4. Stress and Disease – Stress and Behaviour, The Psychophysiology of Stress
    5. Assignment

Week 5:

    1. Stress and Specific Health Problems- Peptic Ulcers, Asthma and Sports Injury
    2. Coping Process, Coping Goals and Strategies, Coping and Health
    3. Psychological Control as a Moderator of Stress – Gaining a Sense of control and Individual Differences in Perceived Control
    4. Personality and Coping- Personality Traits and Stress, Disease- Prone Personality and Hardy personality
    5. Assignment

Week 6:

    1. Social Support
    2. Stress Management – Relaxation, Meditation, Biofeedback, Physical Activity and Stress Inoculation Training
    3. Nature and Socio-cultural Context of Illness
    4. Perceiving Symptoms – Physiological and Psychological symptoms
    5. Assignment

Week 7:

    1. Factors in Symptom Perception and Accuracy in Symptom Perception
    2. Responding to Illness – Types of Illness Response, Illness Behaviour as Coping, Delaying Medical Care and Overusing Medical Care
    3. Psycho social Dimensions of Chronic Illness and Disability- Psychological Aspects, Social Aspects and Helping People Cope
    4. Breaking the Bad News: Helping the Patient Understand  the situation
    5. Assignment

Week 8:

    1. Psychological Intervention and Chronic Illness
    2. Chronic Illness and Rehabilitation
    3. Illness and Gender Quotient
    4. Illness in Childhood
    5. Assignment

Week 9:

    1. Illness and Ageing
    2. Living with Diabetes- Nature, Psychosocial Dimensions and Helping People Live with Diabetes
    3. Dealing with Arthritis - Nature, Psychosocial Dimensions and Helping People Live with Arthritis
    4. Living with Alzheimer’s disease – Impact on Family, Helping Families Cope
    5. Assignment

Week 10:

    1. Cancer
    2. Coronary Heart Disease
    3. Pain Physiology and Psychosocial Factors in the experience of Pain
    4. Theories of Pain – Early Pain Theories and Gate Control Theory
    5. Assignment

Week 11:

    1. Controlling Pain – physical Methods, Psychological Approaches and Pain Clinics
    2. Concept of Death and Facing the Thought of Death
    3. Dying Trajectories, Stages in Reactions to Dying, Social Relationships and Dying
    4. Management of the Dying Patient
    5. Assignment

Week 12:

    1. Grief and Bereavement
    2. Children and death – Children’s concepts of Death, Terminally ill Child, Helping Children Deal with Death
    3. Concept of Compliance and predicting whether patients are compliant: The Work of Ley
    4. Enhancing Compliance
    5. Assignment

Week 13:

    1. The wider role of information and Knowledge in illness and doctor–patient communication
    2. The problem of doctor variability
    3. Significance of Placebo in Treatment
    4. Assignment

Books and references

    1. Ogden.J. (1998) Health Psychology. Buck in House. Open University Press.
    2. Rice, P.L. (1998). Health Psychology. Brooks and Cole.
    3. Sarafino, E.P. (1996). Health Psychology: Bio Psychosocial Interaction. John Wiley and Sons.
    4. Brannon, L., Feist, J. and Updegraff, J., 2014. Health Psychology: An Introduction to Behaviour and Health. 8th ed. California: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
    5. Friedman, H., 2002. Health Psychology. 2nd ed. New Jersey:  Pearson Education, pp.23-24.
    6. Ogden, J., 2012. Health Psychology. 5th ed. Berkshire: McGraw Hill, pp.216,217.
    7. Marks, D., Murray, M. and Estacio, E., 2018. Health Psychology. 5th ed. London: Sage Publications.
    8. Phillips, K. and Pitts, M., 2002. The Psychology of Health. 2nd ed. London: Taylor & Francis.

Instructor bio

Anne. Samyukta

English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad (Host University)
  • Teaching: Worked as a part time assistant professor in the department of psychology, Osmania University for 8 years. She is also a visiting faculty to department of psychology, Kakatiya University. Also teaches at Prof. G. Ram Reddy Centre for Distance Education, Osmania University. She also been academic counsellor for M.A Psychology at IGNOU, Hyderabad. 
  • Counselling: Currently practicing counselling as a freelancer. Also worked as a counsellor for children and adolescent at risk in Don Bosco Rehabilitation center, Hyderabad.
  • Training: Takes up organisational trainings.

  • Research: Currently pursuing her research in the area of positive psychology from Osmania University.

Course certificate

30% for In-course Assignments and 70% for End-Term Proctored Exam

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