Health Psychology

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
PSYC 3304
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course provides a critical survey of the basic research findings and theory on the relation between psychological factors (including behaviour, emotion, cognition, personality and interpersonal relationships) and health. Topics include health-related behaviours such as smoking and drug use, the effect of stressful events on health and performance, methods for coping with stress, exercise psychology, the impact of chronic illness on the family, and social support systems.
Course Content
  1. Introduction
  2. Stress Physiology
  3. Stress: Meaning, Impact and Sources
  4. Stress: Biopsychosocial Factors and Illness
  5. Stress and Coping
  6. Health-Related Behaviour and Health Promotion
  7. Reducing Substance Use and Abuse
  8. Nutrition and Weight Control
  9. Physical Exercise and Safety
  10. Behavioural Factors in Illness: Hospitalization: Setting and Impact
  11. Pain and Pain Management
  12. Chronic and Terminal Health Problems
  13. Health Psychology: Future directions
Learning Activities

This course will involve a number of instructional methods, such as the following:

  • lectures
  • laser video presentations
  • audio visual materials
  • small group discussions
  • class discussions
  • classroom exercises
  • computer simulation exercises
Means of Assessment

The course evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy and Psychology Department Policy.  Evaluations will be based on course objectives. Specific evaluation criteria will be provided by the instructor at the beginning of the semester. 

An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:

Three midterm exams (worth 15% each)                         45%

Literature review paper/personal health project                30%

Final exam                                                                    25%


Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  1. Define Health Psychology.
  2. Explain the biopsychosocial model.
  3. Describe historical viewpoints on disease processes and the mind.
  4. Distinguish between mind-body dualism and a systems approach.
  5. Explain the research methods used in health psychology.
  6. Evaluate research ethics and responsibilities.
  7. Describe the structure and function of the human nervous system, endocrine system, digestive system, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, immune system and reproductive system.
  8. Define human stress.
  9. Explain the transactional model of stress.
  10. Distinguish between physical stressors and cognitive stressors.
  11. Evaluate methods of measuring stress.
  12. Describe psychosocial modulators of stress.
  13. Explain coronary prone behaviour.
  14. Evaluate the relationship between behaviour and illness.
  15. Describe the psychopathology of stress-related diseases.
  16. Identify stress-related diseases and psychophysiological disorders.
  17. Define coping.
  18. Identify methods of coping.
  19. Evaluate self-regulation strategies, cognitive strategies and ergonomics, as applied to stress reduction.
  20. Describe the research focus on health and lifestyle.
  21. Evaluate health-related behaviour and health promotion methods.
  22. Identify the types of health services in medical treatment.
  23. Describe compliance strategies related to adhering to medical advice.
  24. Identify the nature and symptoms of pain.
  25. Describe the theories of pain.
  26. Evaluate behavioural and cognitive methods for treating pain.
Textbook Materials

Textbook(s) such as the following, the list to be updated periodically:

Poole, G., Matheson, D.H., & Cox, D.N., (2012) The Psychology of Health and Health Care: A Canadian Perspective (4th Cdn

Ed.). Toronto, Canada: Pearson Publishing.




No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for PSYC 3304
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU PSYC 2XX (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU PSYC 3600 (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG PSYC 2323 (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU PSYC 365 (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU PSYC 2XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU PSYC 2XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO PSYO 2nd (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV PSYC 2nd (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC PSYC 309 (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV PSYC 343 (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC PSYC 2XX (1.5)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023