PSY 303

Health Psychology Online



PSY 303 introduces students to the field of health psychology and various issues that relate to this sub-discipline within the broader field of psychology. The goal is to examine the effects of people’s thoughts, emotions, motivations, and actions on the maintenance of good health and in the prevention of, support of, and recovery from illness.

The course focuses on achievement and maintenance of health, on the experience of illness, and people’s attempts to cope with the challenges of disease and the acquisition of medical care. Throughout the course, we review extensive scientific findings regarding the deep intertwining of psychological factors with issues of health and healing. An important goal of the course is to help students understand, predict, explain, and ultimately change health-related behavior.

The course includes a wide range of psychological factors in the maintenance of good health and in the prevention of, and recovery from illness including: Behavioral contributions to illness, lifestyle risk factors, stress and the immune system, psychological response to symptoms and caregivers, health habits and self-care, management of pain and chronic illness, and disability and terminal illness.

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Learning Outcomes

  • Develop an awareness of the ways in which social, political, and cultural trends affect the individual

  • Develop an awareness of cultural differences and similarities in healthcare attitudes, beliefs, and practices

  • Develop an awareness of responsible personal behavior in important issues such as drug use, sexual behavior, and parenting

  • Develop knowledge of the impact of psychological factors on health and disease

  • Develop knowledge of the history of conventional biomedicine and that of healing traditions in other cultures

  • Develop knowledge of biopsychosocial model as an organizing template for understanding the domains of health and illness

  • Develop knowledge of biological, psychological, and social factors in chronic illnesses that are the leading causes of death in developed countries today

  • Develop knowledge of the role of psychology in preventing illness, promoting wellness, and shaping healthcare policy and reform

  • Develop skill in the use of observation to examine behavior more objectively

  • Develop skill in the use of careful reading, clear written expression, and concise oral communication

  • Develop skill in the use of critical thinking to analyze health-related controversies

  • Develop skill in the use of research findings to understand and evaluate health issues

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Required Course Pack:

  • Online Materials and Library Resources (OMLR)

Required Textbooks: 

View the required textbooks for this class, including ISBN, edition, and retail price, by visiting our Required Textbooks page

Total Course Price:

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Last updated 7/14/19

Current Instructors:

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Admissions Requirements:

Minimum of a high school diploma or equivalency and recommendation for admission by the ACHS Admissions Committee.

Total Course Price:

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