Psychology of Health Problems

Subject PSYC90027 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 6.25
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2014:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1.5 hours of lectures/seminars per week for 12 weeks
Total Time Commitment:

54 hours


Enrolment in one of the following Psychology professional training programs, 527CL, 527CN, 080CL, 080CN or MC-PSYCHCS

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Completion of APAC approved psychology studies to fourth-year (Honours) level.

Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements, Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Litza Kiropoulos


Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences

12th floor Redmond Barry Building (Building 115 Map)

Telephone: + 61 3 8344 6377



Subject Overview:

This subject aims to foster a sense of professional competence in health settings through the exploration of relevant assessment issues and advanced treatment approaches and complex clinical practice issues. The subject is concerned with the examination of aspects of clinical health psychology practice and theory with an emphasis on students developing a critical approach to various clinical, professional practice and evaluation issues within the context of medical referrals and health and illness. In addition, the subject will also focus on the management of psychological problems associated with specific medical conditions seen in acute and sub-acute health settings.

Learning Outcomes:

Students will have an opportunity to develop expertise in the following areas:

  • Recognition, understanding and assessment of psychological responses to illness, hospitalisation, medical treatment and disability;
  • Understanding of psychological factors contributing to illness;
  • Planning psychological management/treatment of psychological issues found in medical patients (taking into account common issues such as patient adherence to treatment);
  • Understanding of common presenting difficulties in medical and acute health settings such as pain, depression, anxiety, medical phobias, fatigue, post traumatic stress, fear of death and dying;
  • Gain knowledge of psychological interventions relevant to major medical disorders such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, eating disorders, and neurological conditions;
  • Gain an understanding of the nature of the hospital and health care settings; and
  • Preparation of patients for surgery.

A mid-semester case formulation of 500 words (20% of assessment)

A 1500 word essay due at the end of semester (80% of assessment).

Prescribed Texts:

Caltabiano, M., & Sarafino, E.P. (2008). Health Psychology: Biopsychosocial interactions. Melbourne: John Wiley & Sons

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Written, oral and communication skills

Analytical, information integration and synthesizing skills

Related Course(s): Master of Psychology (Clinical Child Psychology)/Doctor of Philosophy
Master of Psychology (Clinical Child)
Master of Psychology (Clinical Psychology)
Master of Psychology (Clinical Psychology)/Doctor of Philosophy

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