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Health Promotion and Disease Prevention


Important Note

  • All Semester II bachelor and master psychology courses and examinations (2020-2021) will be offered in an on-line format.

  • If it is safe and possible to do so, supplementary course meetings may be planned on-campus. However, attendance at these meetings will not be required to successfully complete Semester II courses.

  • All obligatory work groups and examinations will be offered on-line during Central European Time, which is local time in the Netherlands.

  • Information on the mode of instruction and the assessment method per course will be offered in Brightspace, considering the possibilities that are available at that moment. The information in Brightspace is leading during the Corona crisis, even if this does not match the information in the Prospectus.

Entry requirements

Only open to master’s students in Psychology with specialisation Health and Medical Psychology (mandatory) or Occupational Health Psychology (elective).


Students will learn how to develop an intervention program to promote health behavior, based on a systematic evidence-based approach. During the lectures, theories on the determinants of health behaviour (change) will be presented including recent insights in health promotion research, and vivid examples from practice. During the practical sessions, students will work in subgroups to design an intervention aimed at preventing the onset and/or continuation of health-compromising behaviours (e.g., snacking, stress-related behaviours) or by encouraging health-enhancing behaviours (e.g., exercise, fruit and vegetable consumption, sleep hygienic behaviour). Students will perform a literature search to establish a state-of-the-art summary of the relationship between this behaviour and relevant health outcomes. They will then design an intervention model including determinants of the behavior and methods of change, based on theoretical and empirical considerations. Following this, they will develop an intervention program and implement and evaluate part of the intervention among employees of the University during the Healthy University days.

Course objectives

On completion of the course students:

  • Have an understanding of planned intervention development (lectures and workgroups/assignments);

  • Have experience with the application of theory and evidence with respect to understanding and changing health behaviour (workgroups/assignments); and

  • Are able to recognize the promises and pitfalls of intervention development, including ethical concerns, such as potential adverse effects of interventions for specific (sub)populations (lectures and workgroups/assignments including practical component/workshops during Healthy University Days).

Designing interventions in a systematic evidence-based way prepares students for future work situations in which they may need to develop intervention programs or trainings for clients and patients or other groups in the general population. Students will also gain some real life experience with implementing such interventions, as they facilitate workshops for employees.


For the timetables of your lectures, work groups and exams, please select your study programme in: Psychology timetables

Lectures Work group sessions



Students need to enroll for lectures and work group sessions. Master’s course registration

Mode of instruction

During the course the whole process of intervention planning will be introduced and illustrated. Students will learn how to systematically design and implement an intervention. The course consists of 4 2-hour lectures, 8 work group sessions (3 hours each), and a workshop for University employees (one whole day). During the lectures the theoretical background of intervention development is presented and discussed, including several illustrative practical examples. Themes of the lectures are amongst others: Which steps need to be followed when systematically designing and planning evidence-based interventions? How perform a Needs Assessment? What are known determinants of behavior (change), and which theories and methods of behavior change are helpful for specifying effective intervention elements? Attention will also be paid to ethical considerations, such as potential adverse effects of interventions, including hardening or stigmatisation. Students collaborate in subgroups and work in their weekly assignments on one specific topic/behavior, e.g. sleeping behavior or sedentary behavior. During the workgroups they present their progress, and discuss difficulties they encounter. The practical component of the course consists of facilitating a workshop during the Healthy University Week.

Assessment method

Final grade is based on:
Attendance during lectures and work group sessions (full attendance is mandatory)

  • Group assignments (75%)

  • Individual assignment (25%)

In case the final grade is below 5.5, students may write an alternative individual assignment.

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

  • Bartholomew Eldredge, L.K., Markham, C.M., Ruiter, R.A.C., Fernández, M.E., Kok, G. & Parcel, G.S. (2016). Planning Health Promotion Programs. An Intervention Mapping Approach. 4th edition. Wiley: Jossey-Bass

  • Course reader (which will be made available in Blackboard)

Contact information

Dr. Winnie Gebhardt