Skip to Content


Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

This course aims to explore the psychological side of illness and disability and learn how Health outcomes (e.g. quality of life, death, disease) depend to a large extent on people’s beliefs, perceptions, decisions and actions.  Over the course, students will learn how these factors can change how symptoms are interpreted and reported, how risk is perceived, how illness and disability are experienced, whether help is sought from medical professionals, and whether recommended treatments are adhered to over time.  Students will also study contemporary models of disability and explore how disability behaviour influences health outcomes.

Course Details

Study Type Postgraduate Level 5
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Clare Cooper

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • MSc Health Psychology (Studied)
  • Any Postgraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

At the end of the course students will be able to:

• Assess  how beliefs influence illness and disability

• Use theoretical models to understand how individuals cope with long term health conditions and terminal illness.

• Identify the key factors influencing health related quality of life, and debate their changing relevance over the lifespan

• Design strategies to monitor and modify adherence in illness and disability

• Evaluate measures of quality of life, impairment, activity limitations and social participation in order to select the most appropriate instrument in a range of contexts

•  Develop and justify recommendations for the management of illness and disability related factors (e.g. pain, pre-hospitalisation anxiety) based on psychological evidence /theory

•  Interpret and code patient descriptions of symptoms and illness beliefs using psychological theory.

Topics covered by the course include:

• Illness and symptom perceptions

• Health related quality of life

• Risk perception

• Self efficacy, control beliefs and individual attributions.

• Patient decision making

• Hospitalisation and preparation for medical procedures

• Coping with long term health conditions and disability

• Theories of pain and pain management

• Adherence and compliance

• The role of family in health and illness

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Lecture during University week s 26, 28, 30 - 31, 33
  • 2 Tutorials during University week s 25, 27, 29, 32, 34
  • 1 Tutorial during University week s 26, 28, 30 - 31, 33

More Information about Week Numbers

Summative Assessments

1x two hour written exam (60%) + continous assessment (40%)

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.



Course Learning Outcomes


Compatibility Mode

We have detected that you are have compatibility mode enabled or are using an old version of Internet Explorer. You either need to switch off compatibility mode for this site or upgrade your browser.