The goal of this course is to get students acquainted with this intriguing field. It covers topical issues such as the interaction between psychological factors and the immune system, psychosomatic disease, psychological determinants of a range of behaviors that are related to health (such as eating, smoking, exercise and sleep). The course will address both physiological and behavioral pathways through which psychology and health mutually affect each other, and topics range from everyday health challenges (e.g., overweight) to clinical conditions (e.g., chronic diseases).In addition, the course will also address issues related to the use of the health care system such as symptom recognition, patient-provider interaction, and adherence as well as discuss new opportunities for intervention such as e-health.|
After this course, students should be able to:
- Understand important theories, approaches, topical issues, and management options in the current field of health psychology
- Critically analyze the scientific, empirical foundation for popular health claims
- Explain relevant scientific insights from health psychology to a general audience
The first goal will be assessed in a written exam at the end of the course testing students’ knowledge and understanding of the literature and lectures. The last two goals will be assessed with assignments during the course.
Many people need to deal with challenges to their health such as chronic diseases, pain and other symptoms, stress, addictions, or sleep disturbances. Considering the high priority assigned to health by individuals as well as societies, it is important to understand the interplay between psychological, physiological, and social processes in this context. Health psychology offers the knowledge and tools to gain insight in and support people with problems in the area of health and disease. In particular, it is concerned with understanding psychological influences on how people stay healthy, why they become ill, and how they cope with illness.