Psychology Applied to Health

Module titlePsychology Applied to Health
Module codeCSC4003
Academic year2016/7
Module staff

Dr Mark Tarrant (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Health and illness are not only influenced by biological factors (viruses, bacteria etc.) but also by psychological and social factors, including emotions, personality, and our relationships with other people. Understanding the interplay between these different influences is critical to medical research and clinical practice. This module will provide students with an introduction to this field and highlight research relevant to both treatment and prevention of ill health.

The option module is delivered by expert psychologists who conduct research in a variety of health contexts and is likely to interest final year students of BSc Medical Sciences and related disciplines (e.g. Psychology, Biosciences, Human Sciences, Sport and Health Sciences).

Module aims - intentions of the module

Students are introduced to contemporary research in key areas of psychology applied to health (including stress, social support, medication adherence), and study how research findings are translated into practice in healthcare settings (e.g., through health promotion and behaviour change interventions). By critically appraising how social and psychological processes influence health and illness, students will develop an integrative, holistic understanding of important problems in healthcare.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate understanding of key research and findings in psychology applied to health
  • 2. Review key psychological theories and research studies in health psychology
  • 3. Critically appraise research in psychology applied to health, in terms of theoretical and methodological rigour
  • 4. Evaluate research that has been applied in preventative health contexts (e.g., in healthcare and public health interventions) and consider the implications of this research for the future of healthcare and public health policy

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Describe and critically appraise methods used in health psychology research
  • 6. Critically appraise scientific research papers in psychology

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Study autonomously, managing private study, soliciting and using feedback
  • 8. Interact effectively with others and contribute to scientific discussions
  • 9. Communicate ideas effectively by written means

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The syllabus is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and structured on-line discussions. Specifically, students will attend a series of lectures which provide the core content of the module, in terms of theoretical frameworks and key empirical studies within the field. Group learning seminars will enable students to work with others in developing critical appraisal skills and fostering deeper understanding of module material. Structured on-line discussion forums will allow students to discuss scientific papers and explore questions arising from these.

The syllabus is supported by an on-line clinic for questions, comments and advice. Students are expected to engage in independent study across the module.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching11Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching4Seminars (2x2 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching11Weekly tutor clinic
Scheduled Learning and Teaching7Scientific discussions in on-line forum
Guided Independent Study117Guided reading of research articles and literature; preparation for lectures, seminars and scientific discussions; assessment preparation


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Contribution to scientific discussions, including developing a scientific argumentBased on contributions to the on-line forum (students are expected to contribute to each discussion).1-9, esp. 8Written (tutor)

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay Examination602 hours1-7, 9Written, generic group (tutor)
Scientific Essay Synopsis (coursework)401000 words1-7, 9Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay ExaminationEssay Examination1-7, 9Ref/Def
Scientific Essay SynopsisEssay Examination1-7, 9Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

DEFERRAL: Students who are granted a deferral by the Board of Examiners, as recommended by the UEMS Mitigation Committee, will be permitted to sit any missed piece of assessment or its equivalent (see ref/def table, above) in the referral/deferral period as an uncapped first attempt.


REFERRAL: Students who fail the module overall, either by failing a piece of assessment that is a pass requirement or by achieving an overall module mark of less than 40%, will be permitted a second attempt at the assessment or its equivalent (see ref/def table, above) in the referral/deferral period as a capped (40%) second and final attempt.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Abraham, C. et al. (2008). Health Psychology. London: Hodder Education.

Jetten, J. et al. (2011). The Social Cure: Identity, Health and Well-being. Hove: Psychology Press.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

ELE – College to provide hyperlink to appropriate pages

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Primary research publications and review articles covering various topics, as directed by the module team and identified through independent study.

Key words search

Psychology, Health, Behaviour Change, Health Promotion, Interventions

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Last revision date