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Evaluating Interventions in Patients with Chronic Disease


Entry requirements

Only open to MSc Psychology (research) students with specialisation Clinical or Health Psychology


In this course the clinical characteristics and epidemiology of a variety of chronic diseases (e.g. coronary heart disease, pain syndromes, cancer, diabetes) will be addressed. The assessment of psychosocial problems associated with these diseases as well as frequently used psychological assessment instruments measuring these psychosocial problems will be discussed, both from a conceptual and methodological perspective. In addition, the theoretical concepts related to determinants/predictors of psychosocial problems (e.g. illness perceptions, stress, coping) will be addressed. Finally, the evaluation of generic as well as disease-specific psychosocial interventions that focus on improving health-related quality of life and/or self-management in patients with chronic disease will be discussed.

In the interactive seminars the psychometric aspects of different assessment instruments and the methodology and effectiveness of specific intervention techniques and strategies in patients with chronic disease will be discussed. The principles underlying cognitive-behaviour therapy and self-regulation theory will serve as a theoretical framework.

Course objectives

  • Students acquire knowledge about a variety of chronic diseases, including clinical characteristics, epidemiology, psychosocial consequences and interventions.

  • Students learn to reflect on the assessment of the psychosocial consequences of chronic diseases, including psychometric issues, and on the relevance and effectiveness of psychological interventions in chronic patients.

  • Students discuss a meta-analysis on the effect of psychological interventions in chronic disease.


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




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


Students are not 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.
Registering for exams

Mode of instruction

  • 7 2-hour review-type lectures

  • 7 3-hour seminars/workgroups (Attendance is mandatory)

Assessment method

The final grade is based on a written exam, consisting of essay questions (40%) and a paper (60%). Students have to pass both the exam and the paper.

Study material for the 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), and the powerpoint presentations of the lectures posted on Blackboard.


Students are requested to select a meta-analysis on the effects of psychological interventions in a specific chronic disease, and write an individual paper discussing the meta-analysis. The optional book, mentioned in the reading list (Fink, 2014) can be useful in this respect.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has instituted that instructors use a software programme for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. In case of fraud disciplinary actions will be taken. Please see the information concerning fraud.

Reading list

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

Fink, A. (2014). Conducting research literature reviews. From the internet to paper. (Fourth Edition). Thousand Oaks, California (USA): Sage.

Contact information

Dr. Véronique De Gucht