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Health Psychology

Course Code: PSYC 3304
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Psychology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

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

Methods of Instruction

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.

course prerequisites

PSYC 1100 AND PSYC 1200

curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.