Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


EXSC199 Psychology of Sport or PSYC100 Foundations of Psychology and PSYC101 Applications of Psychology

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

In prescribing and delivering an exercise or health program, the use of best-practice behavioural strategies that align with the unique needs of the client is essential for effective practice. This is consistent with the professional standards of many accreditation bodies, including those for Exercise Science. This unit aims to provide students with concrete, evidence-based skills and strategies for promoting behaviour change in health and exercise. These include theory and research-driven interventions for promoting motivation for change, and for promoting commitment to healthier lifestyles.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Define and explain the key psychological factors and theories relevant to health and exercise psychology (GA4, GA5)  

LO2 - Critically analyse and apply psychological interventions related to behaviour modification and professional practice (GA4, GA5)  

LO3 - Define and demonstrate basic communication skills when working with clients in professional practice (GA7, GA9)  

LO4 - Analyse the basic features of evidence-based research in health and exercise psychology (GA4, GA5) 

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include: 


  • Foundations of health and exercise psychology 
  • Theories and models of human motivation 
  • Theories and models of health and exercise behaviour 
  • Antecedents and consequences of health and exercise 
  • Initiating and maintaining behaviour change 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning and teaching strategies include active learning, case-based learning, individual and group activities, cooperative learning, project work, web-based learning, and reflective/critical thinking activities, delivered over 12 weeks. These strategies will provide students with access to required knowledge and understanding of unit content, and opportunities for application of this learning in health and exercise contexts. These strategies will allow students to meet the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit, as well as professional practice standards. Learning and teaching strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within group activities.  


This unit may also be offered on or off campus in intensive mode or multi-mode for sponsored / special cohorts, with the learning and teaching strategies being equitable with on campus mode offerings as endorsed by the School Curriculum Implementation Committee.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to best enable students to achieve unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. A range of assessment strategies are used including: a written report to assess application of this learning and its communication; an audio visual task to assess the application and delivery of skills; and a final exam to assess student learning of unit content. Intensive and multi-mode assessment of EXSC296 will be transparently equitable with on campus mode offerings as endorsed by the School Implementation Committee. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

1. Case Study Written Report   

Enables students to create a behaviour change program that applies theories and research to the adoption of a healthy behaviour in various disciplines 


LO1, LO2, LO4 

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA9 

2. Video Demonstrating Practical Skills 

Enables students to create and critique videos of health practitioners demonstrating effective interpersonal skills for optimising motivation. 


LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA9 

3. Final Examination 

Develops the ability for students to understand and apply theories and research in health and exercise psychology through a multiple-choice examination  


LO1, LO2, LO4 

GA4, GA5 

Representative texts and references

Armitage, C. J., & Conner, M. (2001). Efficacy of the Theory of Planned Behaviour: A meta-analytic review. British Journal of Social Psychology, 40(Pt 4), 471-499.  


Ashford, S., Edmunds, J., & French, D. P. (2010). What is the best way to change self-efficacy to promote lifestyle and recreational physical activity? A systematic review with meta-analysis. British Journal of Health Psychology, 15(Pt 2), 265-288. doi:10.1348/135910709X461752 


Biddle, S., Wang, C. K. J., Kavussanu, M., & Spray, C. (2003). Correlates of achievement goal orientations in physical activity: A systematic review of research. European Journal of Sport Science, 3(5), 1-20. doi:10.1080/17461390300073504 


Carpenter, C. J. (2010). A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of health belief model variables in predicting behavior. Health Communication, 25(8), 661-669. doi:10.1080/10410236.2010.521906 


Marshall, S. J., & Biddle, S. J. H. (2001). The transtheoretical model of behavior change: A meta-analysis of applications to physical activity and exercise. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 23(4), 229-246. doi:10.1207/S15324796abm2304_2 


Michie, S., Abraham, C., Whittington, C., McAteer, J., & Gupta, S. (2009). Effective techniques in healthy eating and physical activity interventions: a meta-regression. Health Psychology, 28(6), 690-701. doi:10.1037/a0016136 


Netz, Y., Wu, M. J., Becker, B. J., & Tenenbaum, G. (2005). Physical activity and psychological well-being in advanced age: a meta-analysis of intervention studies. Psychology and Aging, 20(2), 272-284. doi:10.1037/0882-7974.20.2.272 


Ng, J. Y., Ntoumanis, N., Thøgersen-Ntoumani, C., Deci, E. L., Ryan, R. M., Duda, J. L., & Williams, G. C. (2012). Self-determination theory applied to health contexts: A meta-analysis. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7(4), 325-340. doi:10.1177/1745691612447309 


Scully, D., Kremer, J., Meade, M. M., Graham, R., & Dudgeon, K. (1998). Physical exercise and psychological wellbeing: A critical review. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 32(2), 111-120.  


Wendel-Vos, W., Droomers, M., Kremers, S., Brug, J., & van Lenthe, F. (2007). Potential environmental determinants of physical activity in adults: a systematic review. Obesity Reviews, 8(5), 425-440. doi:10.1111/j.1467-789X.2007.00370.x 

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