Introduction to Health Psychology

The details
Health and Social Care (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Tuesday 19 January 2021
Tuesday 23 March 2021
11 March 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

Health psychology is a sub-discipline of psychology, concerned with understanding how biological, psychological and social factors (biopsychosocial approach) shape physical health, illness and clinical outcomes. This is an applied psychology module for health-related modular programmes.

Module aims

Develop knowledge and critical understanding about the strengths and weaknesses of applied psychology in healthcare

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the [learner] will be able to:

Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of key issues in health
psychology (e.g. interaction between mind and body)

Apply psychological theories and propose evidence-based solutions (e.g. consider the benefits/challenges of a psychological approach to managing pain or stress)

Identify strengths/weaknesses of main methods of enquiry in health psychology

Consider how a biopsychosocial approach can challenge and extend biomedical
understanding of health and illness

Module information

This module provides opportunities to develop knowledge and critical understanding of some key topics and issues in health psychology

Learning and teaching methods

Teaching Methods Weekly lecture-seminars supported by online resources via Moodle. Formative guidance and further tutorial support on request.


  • (no date) The Journal of Pain.
  • (no date) Health Psychology.
  • Folkman, Susan. (2011) The Oxford handbook of stress, health, and coping, New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Smith, Robert C.; Fortin, Auguste H.; Dwamena, Francesca; Frankel, Richard M. (2013) 'An evidence-based patient-centered method makes the biopsychosocial model scientific', in Patient Education and Counseling. vol. 91 (3) , pp.265-270
  • (no date) Psychology & Health.
  • Richardson, Clifford; Adams, Nicola; Poole, Helen. (2006-09) 'Psychological approaches for the nursing management of chronic pain: part 2', in Journal of Clinical Nursing. vol. 15 (9) , pp.1196-1202
  • (no date) British Journal of Health Psychology.
  • (no date) Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.
  • (2013) The radical shift in NHS doctor/ patient relationships from 1948.
  • Melzack, Ronald; Wall, Patrick D. (1965) 'Pain Mechanisms: A New Theory', in Science: American Association for the Advancement of Science. vol. 150, No. 3699, pp.971-979
  • Adams, Nicola; Poole, Helen; Richardson, Clifford. (2006) 'Psychological approaches to chronic pain management: part 1', in Journal of Clinical Nursing. vol. 15 (3) , pp.290-300
  • (no date) Psychology, Health & Medicine.
  • Melzack, Ronald. (2011) 'The Story of Pain', in The Psychologist. vol. 24 (6) , pp.470-471
  • Ogden, Jane. (2019) Health psychology, London: McGraw-Hill.
  • Lazarus, Richard S.; Folkman, Susan. (c1984) Stress, appraisal, and coping, New York: Springer.
  • Morrison, Val; Bennett, Paul. (2016) An introduction to health psychology, Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.
  • Rice, Virginia Hill. (c2012) Handbook of stress, coping, and health: implications for nursing research, theory, and practice, Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.
  • Jarrett, Christian. (2011) 'Ouch! The different ways people experience pain', in The Psychologist. vol. 24 (6) , pp.416-420
  • Ayers, Susan; De Visser, Richard. (2018) Psychology for medicine & healthcare, Los Angeles: Sage.
  • Ayers, Susan; De Visser, Richard. (2018) Psychology for medicine & healthcare, London: Sage.
  • Ogden, Jane. (c2012) Health psychology: [a textbook], Maidenhead: Open University Press.
  • Ronald Melzack. (2011) 'The McGill Pain Questionnaire', in Handbook of pain assessment, New York: Guilford Press., pp.41-47
  • Ayers, Susan; De Visser, Richard. (2011) Psychology for medicine, London: SAGE.
  • George L. Engel. (1977) 'The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biomedicine', in Science: American Association for the Advancement of Science. vol. 196 (4286) , pp.129-136
  • (2012) 'Remembering the Father of Cognitive Psychology', in APS Observer. vol. 25 (5)
  • (no date) Journal of Health Psychology.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   3,000 word essay  15/04/2021  100% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mrs Jennie Todd, email: jtodd@essex.ac.uk.
Jennie Todd
Kathryn Hills Senior Student Administrator E: cpd@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Miss Anna Pruszynska
University of Manchester
Available via Moodle
Of 717 hours, 20 (2.8%) hours available to students:
697 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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