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Psychological Assessment and Interventions in Chronic Disease


Entry requirements

The course Psychological Assessment and Interventions in Patients with Chronic Diseases is only open to master’s students in Psychology of the specialisation Health and Medical Psychology


This course consists of a theoretical and practical part. The theoretical part consists of lectures on 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). 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 psychological intervention strategies for the enhancement of quality of life and/or self-management in patients with chronic disease are addressed.

The practical part of the course consists of workgroups focusing on the use of different psychological assessment instruments and the development, omplementation, and evaluation of specific intervention strategies in patients with chronic diseases. These interventions are essentially based on cognitive behavioural principles and self-regulation cognition and skills.

Course objectives

Students will:

  • Acquire in-depth knowledge about different chronic somatic diseases and their psychological consequences.

  • Acquire a thorough understanding of the effectiveness of psychological interventions for patients with chronic somatic diseases.

  • Learn to reflect on and evaluate the appropriateness and effects of psychological interventions in chronic patients.

  • Acquire and practice skills allowing them to apply evidence-based psychological intervention strategies in a medical setting.

The course objectives will be pursued through the use of different working methods: lectures, workgroups, reading assignments and preparatory homework assignments. The course objectives will be assessed by a written exam (objective 1 and 2) and a presentation and paper (two students working together) on (the assessment of) the psychological consequences and interventions in a chronic disease or condition selected by the students (objective 3 and 4).


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 work groups. Attendance is mandatory for the work groups.

Assessment method

The final grade is based on a grade for the written exam (50 %) and a work group grade (50 %).

The written exam consists of 4 open questions. The questions have to be answered in English.

The work group grade will be determined on the basis of the presentation and the paper.

Students need to have a sufficient exam grade and a sufficient work group grade to pass the course.

Post-exam consultation will be on an individual basis. 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. Post-exam consultation will be possible only on the designated date and at the designated time.

Study material for the written 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.

  • The lecture slides posted on Blackboard

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 (coordinator of the course)