Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


PSYC100 Foundations of Psychology and PSYC101 Applications of Psychology 

Teaching organisation

3 hours contact per week over 12 weeks or equivalent

Unit rationale, description and aim

Health psychology is important because it allows us to understand the effects of psychological factors on health and illness. Some of the questions this unit will consider include; Why do some students catch a cold every exam period and others do not? How does what we eat affect the way we think and feel? Why might mindfulness be helpful for a cancer survivor? Health psychology recognises the importance of biological, behavioural (e.g., lifestyle choices), psychological (e.g., beliefs, attitudes), and social conditions (e.g., culture, relationships) in health and illness. This unit will focus on the promotion and maintenance of health, the prevention and treatment of illness, the identification of causes of illness, and the health care system. Major theoretical perspectives and current research findings will be covered in this unit, with a focus on the application of theory and research to improve health and well-being. The aim of this unit is to provide students with an in depth understanding of theoretical models, approaches, and practical applications in the area of health psychology.

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 - Describe historical perspectives and current key theories and findings related to the biological, behavioural, psychological, and social factors (including culture) involved in health and illness (GA5)

LO2 - Discuss the organisation of the Australian healthcare system, issues working in multidisciplinary teams, and how people access and use health services (GA1, GA5, GA6, GA9)

LO3 - Compare different approaches to understanding health behaviours (GA4, GA6, GA8, GA9)

LO4 - Synthesise and apply health psychology research and theories to promote health and/or adjustment (GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

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


Topics will include: 

  • Current and historical perspectives on health and illness 
  • Psychological aspects of health and illness: Biopsychosocial factors related to health-enhancing and health-compromising behaviours 
  • Becoming ill and getting treatment: The Australian healthcare system, Patient-practitioner interactions; Following treatment plans; Adjusting to and impact of chronic and terminal health problems
  • Stress and coping: types and sources of stress; impact of stress on health; modifiers of stress and coping with stress 
  • Pain and pain management 
  • Quality of life, health behaviours and health promotion: Theories of behaviour change, developing, implementing, and evaluating health promotion programs 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit has the equivalent of three contact hours per week over twelve weeks which involves lectures and tutorials. This mode of delivery is designed to enhance discussion and engagement in the content covered in the unit. The lectures are designed to aid the acquisition and understanding of knowledge while the tutorials are designed to enhance application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation of that knowledge. To assist in self-directed learning, other learning resources are utilised including: online readings and activities; online forums; and lecture recordings.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to successfully complete this unit, students need to complete and submit all of the assessment tasks listed in the table below. In addition to this, students must obtain an aggregate mark of at least 50% to pass the unit. In order to best enable students to demonstrate 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 case study presentation and report which will allow you the opportunity to apply knowledge gained from the content of the course to a real-world case study, and communicate through both written and oral language; An essay where students will critically review psychology topic with real world applications; and an exam where students will demonstrate their understanding, consolidation and application of the content covered in the unit.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Case Study Presentation and Report  

This assessment will allow students the opportunity to apply knowledge gained from the content of the course to a real-world case study, and communicate through both written and oral language. 


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9

Assessment Task 2


This assessment will allow students the opportunity to  critically review a real-world topic relevant to the field of health psychology.


LO1, LO2, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9

Assessment Task 3


An exam will provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding, consolidation and application of the content covered in the unit.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Brannon, L., Feist, J., & Updegraff, J. A. (2021). Health psychology: An introduction to behavior and health (10th ed). Cengage Learning.

Compton, W. C., & Hoffman, C. (2019). Chapter 6; Positive Health. In Positive Psychology, (3rd ed), Wadsworth.  

Dorrian, J., Thorsteinsson, E., Di Benedetto, M., Lane-Krebs, K., Day, M., Hutchinson, A., & Sherman, K. (2017). Health psychology in Australia. Cambridge University Press.

Morrison, V., Bennett, P., Butow, P., Mullan, B., Sharpe, L. (2018). Introduction to Health Psychology in Australia (3rd ed). Pearson.

Ricciardelli, L., Mellor, D., McCabe, M. P., Mussap, A. J., & Kolar, C. A. (2013). Culture and health: An Australian perspective. In M. L. Caltabiano & L. Ricciardelli (Eds.), Handbook of applied topics in health psychology (pp. 84-100). Chichester: Blackwell-Wiley. 

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