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    The interplay between psychological processes and physical health.

    Health psychology is an increasingly popular and important sub-field in psychology that examines the interplay between psychological processes and physical health. This paper provides an introduction to health psychology, covering both social and biologically oriented topics, such as stress and coping, the role of emotions and personality in susceptibility to illness, health and wellness interventions, and the role of psychology in behavioural change. By bridging the social with the biological, this paper will appeal to a wide range of students - from those who are mainly interested the social side of psychology, to those interested in the biological side of psychology.

    About this paper

    Paper title Health Psychology
    Subject Psychology
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Not offered in 2024 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,173.30
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    PSYC 210, PSYC 211 and PSYC 212
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music, Science

    With departmental approval, a student who has achieved a grade of at least B+ in each of PSYC 210 and 212 may take no more than one of PSYC 313-328 concurrently with PSYC 211.

    With departmental approval, a student who has achieved a grade of at least B+ in PSYC 211 may take no more than one of PSYC 313-328 concurrently with PSYC 210 and 212.


    Associate Professor Tamlin Conner

    Teaching staff

    Associate Professor Tamlin Conner

    Paper Structure

    Paper topics will include:

    • Biopsychosocial models of health
    • Stress and coping
    • Links between personality, emotions, and health
    • Social and contextual factors in health
    • The connection between mental health and physical health
    • Psychological processes in chronic health conditions
    • The psychology of placebos
    • Psychological influences on pain
    • Introduction to psychoneuroimmunology
    • Promotion of wellness and prevention of disease/interventions
    • Research methods in health psychology, focusing on quantitative methods
    • Career options in health psychology (postgraduate pathways to practice)


    • Reading critiques (20%). You will be required to submit two reading critiques (10% each) during the semester. Each critique is two pages and will require you to reflect on the main ideas in that week's reading and to develop constructive criticism of the research.
    • Test (30%). There will be a mid-term test based on the material from the first half of the semester. This will likely have a multiple choice and/or short answer format, depending on whether the test is administered online or in person.
    • Final exam (50%). There will be a final exam that will likely consist of multiple-choice and short-essay style questions. The final exam will include some questions about the material from the first half of the semester, but will prioritise material from the second half of the semester.

    There are no terms for the paper.

    Teaching Arrangements

    One 3-hour lecture per week.

    Lectures will be podcasted (audio and slides) through Otago Capture.

    The lecturer will offer additional office hours through in-person and/or Zoom sessions depending on alert-level.

    Teaching method On campus.


    Anisman, H. (2016). Health psychology (First Edition). London, UK: Sage.

    Sapolsky, R.M. (2004). Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers (3rd ed.) New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company.

    Additional articles will be made available on eReserve.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete this paper will:

    1. Understand the scope of health psychology as a sub-field in psychology
    2. Understand the evidence, main ideas, and cross-cutting themes in health psychology
    3. Produce well-written, scientific summaries of research in health psychology
    4. Read and critically evaluate research in health psychology


    Not offered in 2024

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system
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