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Personality, Clinical Health Psychology



This course provides an introduction to personality, clinical and health psychology. Clinical psychology includes the characteristics, the causes and treatments of psychopathology. Health psychology focuses on the prevention of disease, health promotion and on influencing the course of a disease. The different perspectives for studying the concept of ‘personality’, ranging from biological to social-psychological approaches, are included in the course; the relevance of these approaches to clinical and health psychology will also be addressed.

Course objectives

  • Introduction to abnormal psychology: diagnostics, aetiology and treatment of the main types of psychopathology.

  • Introduction to personality theories and their relationship with psychopathology.

  • Introduction to health psychology: psychosocial aspects of physical diseases and health and illness behaviours.

  • Knowledge of and experience with behaviour change programmes.


Personality, Clinical and Health Psychology (2013-2014):



First-year students will automatically be registered for the course.


Students will not be automatically enrolled for an examination — they can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the date. Students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination.

Mode of instruction

The course will consist of 8 lectures and a series of 8 work group sessions. Lecture attendance is not obligatory; however absence in the work group sessions is taken into account in the grade (see matrix on BB).

The 8 lectures will be used to support the study of the required examination reading, and to introduce and illustrate the main concepts, theories and syndromes. The work group sessions in week 1, 5 and 7 will elaborate on topics presented in the readings for the exam.
Besides the lectures there will be a series of work group meetings (in week 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8) on the topic of behaviour change and self-regulation. Students will learn how to design a behaviour change programme and apply it to themselves. The work groups will conclude with a paper assignment, on which students will be graded.


The course will be assessed by an examination consisting of approximately 90 two choice questions (70% of the final grade). The work group sessions will be concluded with a paper assignment (30% of the final grade). A fail on the exam can be compensated by the grade of the work group sessions, and the other way around (when none of the grades is less than 5.0). A matrix is used to determine the grade of the work group sessions (see Blackboard).

Since 1 January 2006 the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has implemented the Ephorus system, for use by instructors for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. Please see the information concerning fraud.


Latest information; assignments and instructions.


Reading for lectures
The reading for this course is offered in the form of a Custom Published Book – a selection of chapters from two textbooks, printed specially by the publisher for this course – a considerably cheaper option.

  • Introduction to Personality, Clinical & Health Psychology. Leiden University Custom Edition, 2011. McGrawHill. ISBN: 9781121268883. Available through the Labyrint study book service or at local bookshops.
    Of course you can buy the two books separately, which will give you additional chapters not included in the custom publication.

  • Larsen, RJ & DM Buss. (2010). Personality Psychology, 4th edition, McGraw-Hill

  • Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2010). Abnormal Psychology, 5th edition McGraw-Hill.

Reading for working groups

  • K. Pryor. Don’t shoot the dog: The New Art of Teaching and Training [Paperback] Ringpress Books; 3rd edition (2006). ISBN-13: 978-1860542381

  • Articles on Blackboard

  • Syllabus (Blackboard).

If you are a member of the study association Labyrint you may purchase books at a reduced price via their study book service. Alternatively there are the academic book shops.



  • Prof. dr Willem van der Does.

For appointments

Work groups