Module code: PSYM004

Module Overview

This module builds on the modules covered in Semester 1 (Contemporary Health Psychology and professional practice and Maintaining health throughout the lifespan).  A range of chronic conditions are covered, some which are a global challenge and others which are less well known.  Students will learn about these conditions and how the different health psychology theories are used to understand the various beliefs and behaviours associated with these conditions and how they may be targeted in interventions for change.  This module provides students with advanced knowledge and understanding of the application of theory to practice relating to chronic conditions.  


This module has been designed in accordance with requirements (Stage 1) of the British Psychological Society's Division of Health Psychology accreditation criteria. This module addresses the following curriculum areas for a British Psychological Society accredited Health Psychology Master's degree: contexts and perspectives in health psychology, physiological and psychosomatic disease processes, client groups and other stakeholders, measurement issues, health-related behavior and cognitions, interventions and healthcare and professional settings.  


This module builds employability skills by broadening knowledge of chronic conditions and interventions, and will help students to understand how to apply health psychology theory and practice to different chronic conditions and patient populations. 

Module provider


Module Leader

DIBB Bridget (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 110

Lecture Hours: 10

Seminar Hours: 10

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 10

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

A range of conditions are covered, examples may include (these may vary each year):  

HIV, Diabetes, COPD, Spinal Cord Injury, Asthma, and Cancer. 

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ESSAY (2000 WORDS) 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate they have acquired a sound understanding of the psychological aspects related to living with chronic diseases and how theory can be applied to chronically ill populations.  


Thus the Summative assessment consists of:

  • Coursework - Designing A Patient Information Leaflet –1000 Words plus rationale (1000 words)  

  • Coursework – Essay 2000 words  

An authentic assessment is used for the first assessment where students are required to design a patient information leaflet for a person recently diagnosed with a chronic condition.  This requires knowledge of the condition, knowledge of theories that can be applied to the aims of the leaflet, and a knowledge of how to communicate to a lay audience.   

The second assessment requires the student to show their ability to critically evaluate a theory-based intervention used within a chronically ill population, which are important skills for Health Psychologists. 

Students can practice critiquing the focus of both assignments (critiquing patient information leaflets and critiquing interventions) in class. 


Formative assessment:

Both assessments are prepared for in class where patient-information leaflets and published interventions are discussed and critiqued in class.



Feedback is provided: 

 - Verbally, in class through discussion, throughout the semester in general  

- In writing, on the feedback form used for both assignments   





Module aims

  • As part of Stage 1 Health Psychology training for registration as a Health Psychologist, this module provides key knowledge of chronic conditions and theory-based interventions for people with chronic conditions. This module broadens understanding of the application of health psychology theory to this context. This module also provides students with an in-depth understanding of the causes, risk factors, and consequences of a variety of chronic medical conditions. To this end, the role of psychological factors in understanding the emotional, behavioural, clinical, and social consequences of chronic medical conditions are considered for interventions to improve health outcomes. The module will facilitate students' critical understanding of the research evidence-base and the role of psychologists and psychological interventions in managing chronic conditions.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 An ability to describe the causes and risk factors of chronic conditions KPT
002 An ability to describe the emotional, behavioural, clinical, and social consequences of chronic conditions KPT
003 An ability to critically evaluate the role of psychological factors and theories in explaining variation in the impact of chronic conditions KCPT
004 An ability to critically evaluate psychological interventions aimed at managing chronic conditions KCPT
005 An understanding of the challenges of communicating effectively about chronic conditions KCPT
006 An ability to design effective written communication aimed at patients with chronic conditions CPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy includes interaction between students as learning interactively is associated with better learning.  To that end, the module is designed to provide students with opportunities to discuss and work together in small groups.  While there is variation between the lectures, the typical strategy requires participation of the student in the discussion and debates.  Chatham House rules (where respect for others is shown by keeping what is said during a session confidential) are followed in order to encourage participation.  Methods of teaching include lectures to cover knowledge and application of theory.  A critical approach is encouraged through questioning during the class.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures

  • Group discussions

  • Independent learning

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PSYM004

Other information

In line with Surrey’s Curriculum Framework, we are committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module contributes to the five pillars in the following ways:


Employability (E)

This module supports the students’ employability skills as it will provide information about key global challenges with regard to health and illness which will be highly relevant to employers. These include the impact of chronic illness, psychosocial factors, factors influencing behaviour, and where relevant, the role of the health care system, all of which are important for robust employment opportunities. Students will learn about a number of different chronic conditions and learn how to apply health psychology theory to understand behaviour/beliefs to change behaviour/beliefs in various conditions.  These are important skills for trainee Health Psychologists.  In addition, one of the assessments requires the student to design a patient information leaflet.  This covers quite a few employability skills as the student not only needs to be knowledgeable about the condition and the theory but is also required to communicate this information to a lay audience.   


Digital capabilities (D)

Students will need to engage with several elements of digital skill during the course; they will utilize the university of Surrey Virtual Learning Environment (SurreyLearn) to access the course materials and key content. Students will also need to use on-line search engines to research academic journal articles for their assignments. The coursework also provides further digital learning opportunities using Microsoft word and PowerPoint. Students also learn how to organise information in a readable and interesting way for a lay audience with their first assessment which requires them to design a patient information leaflet. 


Global and cultural capabilities (G)

This module covers various conditions that people the world over and within many different cultures experience and need to manage.  This means that the students are covering many global challenges. Students will learn about a range of different theoretical and practical approaches designed to address many of the issues currently facing global citizens. Students will have the opportunity to learn from a range of diverse topics all invested in strategies to improve the ‘global partnership’, committed to improve health and reduce illness.


Sustainability (S)

In this module, students will cover a wide range of chronic conditions and understand factors that contribute to health and wellbeing within these groups.  Students will be aware of the challenges these groups face in achieving a sustainable future in terms of health care. 


Resourcefulness and resilience (R)

This module will provide several opportunities to develop resourcefulness and resilience and the assessments will play an important role in this pillar. Students will need to be resourceful as they will be asked to research, critically evaluate and design a leaflet of a lay audience. Critical analysis is encouraged within class time through questioning.  Understanding the important aspects of writing lay information is covered in a session where sample leaflets are critiqued, and this task will bring increased confidence and will enable the student to reflect on a positive outcome which will build resilience.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Health Psychology MSc 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Social Psychology MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.