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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Psychology

Postgraduate Course: Social Psychological Approaches to Health (MSc) (PSYL11095)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course will focus on applying social psychology to study health. We will explore the variety of ways in which our health is determined by our own behaviour, as well as the behaviour of others such as medical professionals, significant others or even characters on TV. We will also look at changing behaviour: why it is necessary, how it could be done, and how social psychology can help. Throughout the course, there will be a strong focus on methodology and critical evaluation of research.
Course description It is generally agreed that the medical model of health and illness is not sufficient to understand human health. The main contribution of health psychology has been to highlight the role of behaviour as a determinant of good or ill physical health. Behavioural factors, such as smoking, unhealthy diet or lack of exercise, contribute to the most debilitating illnesses of the 21st century. Behaviour change techniques are at the core of illness prevention, and psychology, as the science of behavior, is key to preventing illness and improving health.

Each week will focus on a different aspect of how psychology can improve our understanding of health, drawing predominantly from health psychology (how does behavior influence health?) and social psychology (how do social factors influence health-related behavior and health?). The classes will consist of a mixture of lectures, large and small group discussions, and presentations.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  5
Course Start Block 2 (Sem 1)
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 5, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 83 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 2000 word essay (70%), short written exercises (20%), weekly quizzes (10%)
Feedback Due to the seminar-style nature of this course, formative feedback will be integral to all sessions.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. explain how social psychology can be applied to issues related to health and illness
  2. analyse existing health campaigns in terms of social psychological theory
  3. analyse critically existing research in the areas of health psychology and behavioural medicine
  4. understand major theories and new directions in health psychology
  5. contribute to discussions about the role of psychology in changing health behaviour, presenting critical analyses orally and in writing
Reading List
Indicative papers:

de Bruin, M., Hospers, H. J., van Breukelen, G. J., Kok, G., Koevoets, W. M., & Prins, J. M. (2010). Electronic monitoring-based counseling to enhance adherence among HIV-infected patients: A randomized controlled trial. Health Psychology, 29(4), 421-428.

Gibbons, F. X., & Gerrard, M. (1995). Predicting young adults' health risk behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69(3), 505-517.

Gray, C. M., Hunt, K., Mutrie, N., Anderson, A. S., Leishman, J., Dalgarno, L., & Wyke, S. (2013). Football Fans in Training: The development and optimization of an intervention delivered through professional sports clubs to help men lose weight, become more active and adopt healthier eating habits. BMC Public Health, 13(1), 232.

Hofmann, W., Friese, M., & Wiers, R. W. (2008). Impulsive versus reflective influences on health behavior: A theoretical framework and empirical review. Health Psychology Review, 2(2), 111-137.

Jepson, R. G., Harris, F. M., Platt, S., & Tannahill, C. (2010). The effectiveness of interventions to change six health behaviours: A review of reviews. BMC Public Health, 10(1), 538.

Jetten, J., Haslam, C., & Haslam, S.A. (Eds.). (2011). The social cure: Identity, health and well-being. Hove, England: Psychology Press.

Oyserman, D., Fryberg, S. A., & Yoder, N. (2007). Identity-Based Motivation and health. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93(6), 1011-1027.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Research and enquiry skills - e.g., analytical and critical thinking; knowledge integration across academic disciplines; understanding of interplay between research and real-world settings; understanding of interplay between theoretical and methodological approaches.

Personal and intellectual autonomy - e.g., independent thinking; developing higher-order thinking and sound reasoning; self-awareness and reflection.

Personal effectiveness - e.g., acquiring skills for leading a group discussion; giving and receiving feedback in a way that maintains and builds relationships within a team.

Communication skills - e.g., engaging effectively in discussions; oral and written presentation skills, including the ability to convey the key points concisely.
Keywordssocial psychology,health psychology
Course organiserDr Stephen Loughnan
Tel: (0131 6)50 9861
Course secretaryMiss Toni Noble
Tel: (0131 6)51 3188
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