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Health Psychology

University of Warwick

Department of Psychology 2019/20

Module Code:


Module Name:

Health Psychology

Module Credits (CATS):


Module Convener

Sakari Lemola

Module Teachers


Module Aims

This module aims to develop students’ understanding of fundamental concepts and theoretical perspectives pertinent to the study and application of health psychology. It provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to apply models of health psychology to improve health behaviours. The module also discusses important health behaviours including diet, smoking, physical activity, and sleep and how they are related to mental health

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Discuss the ways in which psychology can contribute to improve health;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of models and evidence how health behaviours contribute to physical and mental health
  • Demonstrate knowledge of mechanisms how physical and mental health are connected;
  • Compare and critically discuss methodologies used in health psychology research;
  • Discuss the topics covered in relation to theories and debates in health psychology;
  • Identify and consider critical aspects in health communication.

Assessed by:

Group work (presentation of a health recommendation)

(individual) Assessed work


Module Work Load

Module Length

12 weeks


One 2 hour lecture per week


One 1 hour seminar per week

In seminars, students will be required to discuss case studies and issues related to lecture topics, having previously read relevant research papers.


Lectures and seminars are compulsory

Module Assessment


Assessed work: Development of a Health Recommendation Group work



Assessed work: Development of a Health Recommendation Individual work Essay




Module Reading List

French, D., Vedhara, K., Kaptein, A. A., & Weinman, J. (Eds.). (2010). Health psychology. John Wiley & Sons

Ogden, J. (2012). Health Psychology, McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

In addition to these books there are the following papers that we will read (essential for the seminar):

Casazza, K., Fontaine, K. R., Astrup, A., Birch, L. L., Brown, A. W., Bohan Brown, M. M., ... & McIver, K. (2013). Myths, presumptions, and facts about obesity. N Engl j Med, 2013(368), 446-454.

Freeman, D., Sheaves, B., Goodwin, G. M., Yu, L. M., Nickless, A., Harrison, P. J., ... & Hinds, C. (2017). The effects of improving sleep on mental health (OASIS): a randomised controlled trial with mediation analysis. The Lancet Psychiatry.

Gigerenzer, G., Gaissmaier, W., Kurz-Milcke, E., Schwartz, L. M., & Woloshin, S. (2007). Helping doctors and patients make sense of health statistics. Psychological science in the public interest, 8(2), 53-96.

Milne, S., Orbell, S., & Sheeran, P. (2002). Combining motivational and volitional interventions to promote exercise participation: Protection motivation theory and implementation intentions. British journal of health psychology, 7(2), 163-184.

Moffitt, T. E., Arseneault, L., Belsky, D., Dickson, N., Hancox, R. J., Harrington, H., ... & Sears, M. R. (2011). A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(7), 2693-2698.

Peters, G. J. Y., Ruiter, R. A., & Kok, G. (2013). Threatening communication: a critical re-analysis and a revised meta-analytic test of fear appeal theory. Health psychology review, 7(sup1), S8-S31.

Vartiainen, E., Laatikainen, T., Peltonen, M., Juolevi, A., Männistö, S., Sundvall, J., ... & Puska, P. (2009). Thirty-five-year trends in cardiovascular risk factors in Finland. International journal of epidemiology, 39(2), 504-518.