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Health and Medical Psychology


Entry requirements

All 60 ec of the first-year in Psychology obtained.


The course Health and Medical Psychology focuses on health promotion and on disease prevention as well as living and coping with chronic somatic diseases. How to keep people as healthy as possible under their given circumstances is the main focus of this course. The first part of the course focuses on understanding and changing health behaviours in a specific target group. The second part focuses on patient populations who laready have to deal with somatic symptoms.

In the lectures, theoretical models illustrated with practical examples will introduce the topics of health promotion, symptom perception, and psychosocial consequences of chronic somatic diseases.

In the workgroup sessions, there is a strong focus on interactive hands-on experiences. Students will create their own health intervention on a self-chosen topic to increase healthy behaviour in a particular target group. In addition, students will practice screening, diagnosing and treating psychosocial problems based on a case description of a patient suffering from a chronic somatic disease. In this way, the theoretical knowledge formed by the lectures and reading materials can be directly applied during the workgroup meetings.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, the student can:
1. apply theories in health psychology to develop an intervention to increase healthy behaviour in a particular target group.
2. illustrate the role of symptom perception and stress in developing chronic somatic diseases.
3. describe the psychosocial influences on and consequences of chronic somatic diseases.
4. practice psychological intervention techniques frequently used in patients with chronic somatic diseases.

These course objectives will be covered by using different working methods: lectures, work groups, additional assignments and reading (book, reader, additional reading posted on Brightspace). The course objectives will be assessed by a written exam (course objectives 1, 2 and 3) and by assignments in and between work group sessions (course objectives 1 and 4).


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable

This course is offered twice a year. Students follow the course in one block (Block 2 or 4)



Students must register themselves for all course components (lectures, tutorials and practicals) they wish to follow. You can register up to 5 days prior to the start of the course.


You must register for each exam in My Studymap at least 10 days before the exam date. Don’t forget! For more information, see the enrolment procedure.
You cannot take an exam without a valid registration in My Studymap.

Carefully read all information about the procedures and deadlines for registering for courses and exams.

Students who take this course as part of a LDE minor or a premaster programme, exchange students and external guest students will be informed by the education administration about the current registration procedure.

Mode of instruction

7 2-hour lectures
7 2-hour work group sessions (maximum of 15 students per work group)

Attendance at the work group sessions is mandatory. See Brightspace for more information.

Assessment method

The final grade is based on a written exam grade (60%) and a work group grade (40%).

All lectures and study materials will be in English. Workgroups will be held in Dutch of English (IBP) For the written exam, all multiple-choice and open questions are in English: students can answer open questions in Dutch or in English.

You will be informed via Brightspace about the procedure for the post exam consultation.

Study materials for the written exam are:

  • Morrison V. & Bennet P. (2022). An Introduction to Health Psychology. Pearson / Prentice Hall, Harlow.

  • The lectures,

  • The lecture slides posted on Brightspace and

  • Additional literature posted on Brightspace with the lectures.

Study materials for the work groups are:

  • The workgroup reader,

  • Additional literature and digital information (e.g., video’s) posted on Brightspace with the work groups.

The Institute of Psychology uses fixed rules for grade calculation. It also follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. All students are required to take and pass the Scientific Integrity Test with a score of 100% in order to learn about the practice of integrity in scientific writing. Students are given access to the quiz via a module on Brightspace. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of these two policies.

Reading list

Morrison V. & Bennet P. (2022). An Introduction to Health Psychology. Pearson / Prentice Hall, Harlow.
Additional literature posted on Brightspace with the lectures.

Reader Health and Medical Psychology available on Brightspace.
Additional literature posted on Brightspace with the work groups.

Contact information

Dr. Liesbeth van Vliet

Dr. Laurens van Gestel