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Psychological Assessment and Interventions in Chronic Disease


Entry requirements

Only open to master’s students in Psychology with specialisation Health and Medical Psychology


In this course the epidemiology of, and specific psychosocial problems associated with a variety of chronic diseases and physical problems (e.g. coronary heart disease, pain syndromes, cancer, diabetes) are introduced. 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 psychosocial intervention strategies for the enhancement of quality of life and/or self-management in patients with chronic disease are addressed.

In the seminars the use of different assessment instruments and the development and use of specific intervention strategies in patients with chronic disease are addressed. These interventions are based on cognitive behaviour therapy and self-regulation/behaviour change principles.

Course objectives

  • Students acquire in-depth knowledge about different chronic somatic diseases.

  • Students acquire knowledge and skills with respect to the diagnosis of psychological consequences in patients with chronic diseases.

  • Students learn to reflect and comment on the use and relevance of psychological interventions in chronic patients.

  • Students acquire skills allowing them to apply evidence-based intervention strategies in a medical setting.


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


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/work group sessions. Attendance is mandatory for the seminars.

Assessment method

The final grade is based on a written exam, consisting of four essay questions, (50 %) and a paper (50 %). Students have to pass both the exam and the paper. The essay questions are in English and have to be answered in English.

The date and location of the post exam consultation will be posted on blackboard (BB). In order to be able to attend this post exam consultation, an appointment needs to be made by contacting the coordinator.

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.

Paper: Students are requested to write, together with another student, a paper on the psychosocial consequences, assessment and the effectiveness of psychological interventions related to a specific chronic disease.

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