Module code: PSY3073

Module Overview

This module introduces students to the key theories and methods of health psychology and focuses on a number of research areas including health behaviour and behaviour change, help seeking and access to health care and chronic conditions and their management. It draws upon all aspects of psychology covered so far on the degree programme including theories from social, biological, cognitive and developmental psychology and illustrates how they can be applied to aspects of health.  It also utilises qualitative and quantitative research methods covered in all other modules as the basis for understanding health issues, changing health behaviours and managing health conditions.  

Module provider


Module Leader

OGDEN Jane (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 120

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The course will be based around such topics as: theories and models in health psychology, the role of health beliefs in understanding health behaviour, eating behaviour, changing health behaviour, help seeking, stress and the role of psychology in understanding and managing chronic conditions such as cancer, coronary heart disease, obesity, HIV, and pain. 
The lecture plan will probably be as follows: 
1.Introduction to health psychology 
2.Eating behaviour 
3. Obesity 
4. Behaviour change 
5. Help seeking 
6. Stress and coping 
7. Women’s health 
8. Pain 
9. CHD 
10. Sexual health, HIV and AIDs 
11. Course overview 

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination Online ONLINE (OPEN BOOK) SEEN EXAM (1000 WORDS DESIGN PATIENT LEAFLET) (2000 WORDS COMMENTARY) (within 4hr window) 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The summative assessment for this module consists of: 
Seen examination (100%)  

Leaflet (1000 words, 50%) and commentary (2000 words, 50%) 

For the leaflet (50%):  

Design a leaflet drawing upon theory(s) of behaviour, behaviour change and / or a health condition to change a behaviour and / or promote self management of a chronic condition of your choice 

This will help develop a key employability skill as translating psychological theory and research into materials appropriate for a lay audience is used in a number of workplaces such as public health, marketing, politics, retail and communications. 

For the commentary (50%) 

Add 2000 word commentary linking the leaflet to theory and evidence. 

The leaflet will help to illustrate your knowledge and understanding of a breadth of psychological theories and research and will demonstrate the extent to which you can make these applicable to a lay audience with a focus on a behaviour and / or health condition.  In addition, this will enable you to be creative and draw upon design, language and layout issues to make your product relevant to a non expert audience. 

The commentary will demonstrate you reading around your chosen area and your understanding of theory and research methods.   

Justification for assessment methods 
The assessment will address all learning outcomes.


Formative assessment

Throughout the module weeks 3-11 weekly online zoom sessions will be held for 30 mins when we will go through the assessment, explore ‘what makes a good leaflet’ and look at how research and theory can underpin a patient orientated intervention. In addition, students are encourage to send me their leaflet ideas so I can give them feedback.

Module aims

  • To develop a critical understanding of the theories, methods, and applications underpinning health psychology.
  • To demonstrate how a scientific understanding of behaviour can be applied to understanding and changing health behaviours.
  • To illustrate how psychological factors influence the experience of health and illness and can impact upon health outcomes.
  • To illustrate how psychological theory and evidence can be used to underpin an intervention for a lay audience.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Critically utilise the theories and methods underpinning health psychology KCPT
002 Critical understanding of the predictors of health behaviours, how health behaviours contribute to physical health, and how health behaviours can be changed effectively KCPT
003 Critical understanding of the role of psychology in promoting physical health outcomes and how psychological interventions can help improve health outcomes in chronic disease KCPT
004 Demonstrating how psychological theory and research can be used to underpin an intervention designed for a lay audience KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The¿learning and teaching¿methods include: 
11 x 2 hour lectures, 9 x 30 minute online sessions and 128 hours of independent study, which involve: 
Weeks 1-10 –¿Lectures and class discussions covering theories and research in health psychology relating to topics such as eating behaviour, behaviour change, obesity, stress, pain, help seeking, HIV, cancer. Examples include discussing how we eat and the factors that influence our eating behaviour; evaluating public health behaviour change interventions and the extent to which they are grounded in psychological theory and research; experiencing the role of psychological effects on pain perception in an in class experiment; discussing the complexity of chronic conditions and using key models to explore their onset and management. 

Week 11 – course overview and preparation for the seen exam. 

Weekly online sessions will involve looking at existing leaflets and thinking through how theories and research in health psychology can underpin a user friendly intervention for a lay audience. This will help students to visualise a user friendly leaflet for their assignment and critically evaluate exemplar leaflets for issues such as design, layout, colour, lay language, use of theory and whether they are grounded in evidence.  

Formative feedback will be given each week. 

Dedicated SurreyLearn page including space to discuss readings and the week’s critical questions. 


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: PSY3073

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 teach the student how to take psychological theory and research and use this to develop an intervention to either change behaviour or promote health outcomes for a lay audience.  Such skills would be useful across a multitude of careers which may involve changing behaviour in the context of health, sustainability, hospitality, politics or retail. 


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. They will also have to become competent in a design package to produce the user friendly leaflet.  Students will also need to use on-line search engines to research academic journal articles for their assignment.  


Global and cultural capabilities (G) 

One of the key global challenges is an ageing population and how to manage the increase in comorbidities such as obesity, diabetes, dementia and cancer that come with living longer.  This module will teach students about the role of psychology in longevity and chronic conditions and how people can be encouraged to live longer and healthier lives.  Further, it will teach students how to change behaviour which is key to promoting sustainable behaviours and address climate change.  


Sustainability (S) 

Sustainability involves behaviour change is people are to practice behaviours such as recycling, using less energy, using renewable energy and buying less stuff.  This module will teach students about the theories and evidence behind behaviour changes and show them how to take these theories and evidence and use them to develop a behaviour change intervention.  

Resourcefulness and resilience (R) 

This module will provide several opportunities to develop resourcefulness and resilience and the assessment will play an important role in this pillar. Whilst the lectures will teach students about the theories and evidence in health psychology they will be expected to identify their own area for the assessment which will involve independent working in terms of searching for theories and evidence specific to this area, searching for effective persuasive strategies to incorporate into the intervention and searching for design ideas that could maximise the effectiveness of the intervention.   


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Psychology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% 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 2025/6 academic year.