Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Postgraduate - Unit

0 points, SCA Band 1, 0.000 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
OfferedClayton First semester 2011 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Professor Paul Martin


This unit provides an advanced level introduction to the growing field of health psychology. The major systems of the body that underlie health and illness will be reviewed, including the nervous system, endocrine system, immune system and cardiovascular system. The prevalence of major chronic diseases will be discussed and factors related to prevalence. Behaviour and lifestyle as they relate to health and illness will be reviewed. Health promotion and the prevention of disease will be discussed.


By the completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:

  1. Understand the scope of the related fields of health psychology and behavioural medicine, and their history.
  2. Understand the systems of the body that underlie health and disease.
  3. Comprehend the prevalence of different chronic diseases and factors that affect prevalence rates.
  4. Understand how behaviour and lifestyle relates to health.
  5. Understand the main models of health behaviour and behaviour change.
  6. Understand the goals and methods of health promotion and the prevention of disease.
  7. Understand how to develop conceptual models of patient problems, and how to plan and implement interventions based on the model and the relevant empirical literature.
  8. Understand the major chronic diseases that affect morbidity and mortality, that is, cancer and cardiovascular disease, from a behavioural perspective.
  9. Understand how to assess and manage, or contribute to the management, of a number of exemplar disorders/problems namely chronic headache, smoking tobacco, overweight and obesity, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
  10. Understand how to increase patient adherence with advice from health professionals.
  11. Understand models of stress and the stress-moderating variables of coping and social support; how to measure these constructs; and methods of stress management.
  12. Understanding how patients feel when asked by psychologists to complete 'homework assignments' and self-monitoring.


Satisfactory attendance (80%) and participation in each seminar are required to pass the unit. The students will be required to submit a literature review of 4,000 to 5,000 words on a topic related to one or more of the seminar topics. They will be encouraged to seek support in writing the review from the presenter(s) of the seminar topic(s). The literature review cannot overlap significantly with any other assignment submitted for the course. The review must be submitted in the form of a manuscript prepared for a specified journal.

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Michale Daffern