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

Undergraduate Course: Social Psychological Approaches to Health (PSYL10155)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
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 behaviour, 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 behaviour influence health?) and social psychology (how do social factors influence health-related behaviour 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 Students MUST have passed: ( Psychology 2A (PSYL08011) AND Psychology 2B (PSYL08012)) AND
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students welcome. Should have degree major in Psychology and passes in psychology courses at least to the equivalent of junior honours level in Edinburgh.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand how social psychology can be applied to issues related to health and illness
  2. Understand major theories in health psychology
  3. Analyse existing health campaigns in light of psychological theory
  4. Understand the psychological factors involved in different health behaviours
  5. Critically evaluate existing research in health psychology, recognizing its impact on practice
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsPsychology,Psychology,Health,Social Psychology,Health Psychology,Differential Psychology
Course organiserDr Stephen Loughnan
Tel: (0131 6)50 9861
Course secretaryMs Alex MacAndrew
Tel: (0131 6)51 3733
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