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Psychological Assessment and Interventions in Chronic Disease


Entry requirements

The course Psychological Assessment and Interventions in Patients with Chronic Diseases is only open to master’s students in Psychology of the specialisation Health and Medical Psychology.


This course consists of a theoretical and a practical part. The theoretical part consists of lectures on the epidemiology of, and specific psychosocial problems associated with a variety of chronic diseases and physical problems (e.g. coronary heart disease, pain conditions, cancer, diabetes). Commonly used psychological assessment instruments measuring these psychosocial problems and related concepts are discussed such as illness cognitions, pain, coping, social support, self-management, stress, and health-related quality of life. Finally, disease-specific psychological intervention strategies for the enhancement of quality of life and/or self-management in patients with chronic disease are addressed.

The practical part of the course consists of workgroups focusing on the use of different psychological assessment instruments and the development, implementation, and evaluation of specific intervention strategies in patients with chronic diseases. These interventions are essentially based on cognitive behavioural principles and self-regulation skills.

Course objectives

Students will:
1. Acquire in-depth knowledge regarding various chronic diseases, including clinical characteristics, epidemiology, psychosocial consequences and interventions.
2. Acquire a thorough understanding of the development, implementation and effectiveness of psychological interventions for patients with chronic somatic diseases.
3. Acquire practical skills allowing them to apply evidence-based psychological intervention strategies in a medical setting as a preparation to the professional setting.

The course objectives will be pursued through the use of different working methods: lectures, workgroups, reading assignments and preparatory homework assignments. The course objectives will be assessed by a written exam (objectives 1 and 2) and a presentation and paper (two students working together) on (the assessment of) the psychological consequences and interventions in a chronic disease or condition selected by the students (objectives 1, 2 and 3). 3).


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable


NOTE As of the academic year 2021-2022, you must register for all courses in uSis.
You do this twice a year: once for the courses you want to take in semester 1 and once for the courses you want to take in semester 2.
Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from early August. Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from December. The exact date on which the registration starts will be published on the website of the Student Service Center (SSC)

By registering for a course you are also automatically registered for the Brightspace module. Anyone who is not registered for a course therefore does not have access to the Brightspace module and cannot participate in the first sit of the exam of that course.
Also read the complete registration procedure

Mode of instruction

  • 7 2-hour lectures

  • 7 3-hour work groups. Attendance is mandatory for the work groups.

Assessment method

The final grade is based on a grade for the written exam (50 %) and a work group grade (50 %).

The written exam consists of 4 open questions. The exam will be in English. Also, the exam questions have to be answered in English.

The work group grade will be determined on the basis of the paper (80%) and the presentation (20%) The paper needs to be written in English and the presentation needs to be given in English.

Students need to have a sufficient exam grade and a sufficient work group grade to pass the course.

You will be informed via Brightspace about the method of, and how to sign up for, the post- exam consultation In order to be able to attend this post-exam consultation, an appointment needs to be made by contacting the course coordinators. Post-exam consultation will be possible only on the designated date and at the designated time and only if you were registered for the course and took the exam.

Study material for the written exam:

  • Boyer, B.A. & Paharia, M.I. (Eds.) (2008). Comprehensive Handbook of Clinical Health Psychology. Hoboken, J. Wiley & Sons. (Chapters 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15)

  • The lecture slides and weblectures posted on Brightspace.

The Institute of Psychology follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of this fraud policy.

Reading list

  • Boyer, B.A. & Paharia, M.I. (Eds.) (2008). Comprehensive Handbook of Clinical Health Psychology. Hoboken, J. Wiley & Sons.

Contact information

Dr. Véronique De Gucht and Dr. Antoinette van Laarhoven (coordinators of the course) and