Women's Mental Health

Module titleWomen's Mental Health
Module codePSY3430
Academic year2018/9
Module staff

Dr Heather O'Mahen (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

The module aims to provide you with a thorough grounding in BioPsychoSocial Models of Women’s mental health. This model will join up important work across each area in an effort to gain a holistic understanding of women’s mental health. This module will familiarise you with cutting edge research in the area, and will draw on the work of members from the Mood Disorders Centre, the Medical School, and where appropriate the Humanities. In taking this module, you will become familiar with not only the theory, but also the application of current empirically supported treatments for women’s mental health (including CBT, Interpersonal Psychotherapy, and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy), and you will gain an awareness of current issues and controversies surrounding NICE guidelines and how the National Health Service delivers these interventions. Teaching methods will include lectures, but also group, pair and individual exercises.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This seminar builds on Level 1 and Level 2 modules in abnormal and clinical psychology and related areas. With a focus on mental disorders overrepresented by women, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, and eating disorders, the module familiarises students with current research and theory about biopsychosocial factors contributing to women’s mental health and empirically supported treatment approaches for women. Key areas of knowledge to be covered include:

  • gender specific psychosocial factors contributing to women’s mental health (e.g., culture and gender specific beliefs, relationship issues, trauma)
  • the presentation of mental disorders in women (symptoms, prevalence, incidence, demographics, prognosis)
  • the influence of major hormonal periods (puberty, premenstrual, pregnancy/post-partum, perimenopause) on women’s mental health
  • modifying and delivering empirically supported treatments for women.

The seminar will provide a forum for exploring, formulating, and refining career goals. In particular, students will learn to critically evaluate assessment of psychopathology in women, will understand factors impacting women’s mental health and their treatment, and write their evaluation in a scientific style. This will be achieved through directed reading, lectures, discussion, student presentations, role-playing, use of video, illustration through case material and written assignments. The seminar makes extensive use of the research and clinical practice of the lecturer convening the seminar.

Through attending the weekly seminars and completing the assessments, you will further develop the following academic and professional skills: problem solving (linking theory to practice, being able to critically evaluate scientific methods and results as they relate to practical, real-world problems, developing your own ideas with confidence, being able to respond to novel and unfamiliar problems), managing structure (identifying key demands of the task, setting clearly defined goals, responding flexibly to changing priorities), time management (managing time effectively individually and within a group), collaboration (respecting the views and values of others, taking initiative and leading others, supporting others in their work, maintaining group cohesiveness and purpose), and audience awareness (presenting ideas effectively in multiple formats, persuading others of the importance and relevance of your views, responding positively and effectively to questions). The seminar will provide a forum for exploring, formulating, and refining career goals. If you are interested in pursuing a career as a psychological practitioner in the NHS or a career in clinical psychology the seminar will assist in developing necessary skills for postgraduate study or early career employment. You will gain applied skills in interviewing strategies and an understanding of basic psychological practices utilised in applied clinical work. This will be achieved through directed reading, lectures, discussion, student presentations, role-playing, use of video, illustration through case material and written assignments. The seminar will give you direct experience with specific treatment methods and theoretical orientations used by CBT practitioners, as well as insight into how CBT practitioners and researchers can effectively interact with health care commissioners, research funding agencies and the general public.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Describe the main empirical findings, theoretical approaches, research methods and empirically-validated psychological treatments relevant to women’s mental health
  • 2. Acquire knowledge about the impact of gendered views of women’s roles on their thoughts, actions, and subsequent mental health
  • 3. Evaluate in a scientific way biopsychosocial factors contributing to women’s mental health
  • 4. Critically explore biopsychosocial factors impacting women’s mental health treatment

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 5. Acquire detailed, systematic and comprehensive knowledge within the discipline, with in-depth specialisation at the forefront of the discipline in certain areas, and demonstrate advanced critical understanding of this knowledge and of the limits and provisional nature of this knowledge
  • 6. Review and critically evaluate published work at an advanced level and identify the strengths and weaknesses of this work, and at an advanced level structure this literature to present logical, coherent and sustained arguments to support conclusions at an advanced level
  • 7. Address systematically complex problems at an advanced level which may be framed within unpredictable contexts, think critically, creatively and independently, and fully appreciate the complexities of the issues
  • 8. Understand and apply essential principles in designing novel research, and critically evaluate and analyse empirical evidence, and assess the reliability of empirical evidence using a range of defined techniques at an advanced level
  • 9. Illustrate the wider ethical issues relating to the subject and its application at an advanced level

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 10. Interact effectively and supportively within a learning group
  • 11. Manage your own learning using the full range of resources of the discipline and with minimum guidance
  • 12. Engage effectively in debate in a professional manner and produce detailed and coherent written work
  • 13. Identify complex problems and apply appropriate knowledge and methods for their solution with confidence and flexibility

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Introduction, module overview, and assignment to topics

Topic 1: Introduction to Disorders (note: each topic below will discuss these mental disorders)

  • Introduction to depression, trauma/PTSD, eating disorders

Topic 2: Psychosocial Factors Impacting Women’s Mental Health

  • Society, stigma, and women’s mental health
  • Interpersonal/family/attachment relationships and mental distress and health in women
  • Cognitive factors: a lifespan perspective
  • Women and emotion

Topic 3: A Biological Life-Span Perspective

  • Genetics and brain functioning
  • Hormonal changes across the Lifespan – evidence for influence on mental health?

Topic 4: Assessment and Therapy

  • Mental health biases in diagnosis and treatment in medical and psychological settings.
  • Evaluation of feminist approaches and theories.

Overview of empirically supported treatments with a focus on content and delivery modifications for women and their needs

Summary and revision

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 Teaching33Seminars
Guided Independent Study20Preparation for seminar (ie doing set readings for each week)
Guided Independent Study17Preparation of group presentation
Guided Independent Study40Research and preparation of essay
Guided Independent Study40Research and revision for final examination


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group presentation30 minutesAllOral

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
Examination603 hours1-8, 10-12Feedback on request
Essay402000 wordsAllWritten


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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ExaminationExamination1-8, 10-12August Ref/Def
EssayEssayAllAugust Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Two assessments are required for this module. Where you have been referred/deferred in the examination you will have the opportunity to take a second examination in the August/September re-assessment period. Where you have been referred/deferred in the essay you will be required to resubmit the essay. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%; deferred marks are not capped.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Core readings will be assigned for each week and will be available on the ELE module homepage.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Clinical Psychology, women, health, therapy

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date