Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


PSYC630 Psychological Assessment

Teaching organisation

2 hours per week for twelve weeks or equivalent.

Unit rationale, description and aim

In line with the scientistic-practitioner model of evidence-based practice, this unit is designed to provide a detailed study of health psychology, behavioural medicine and rehabilitation principles and procedures, and their evidence-based applications in clinical health settings. It will cover psychosocial processes associated with health, illness and health promoting behaviours and the application of evidence based psychological interventions targeting health and illness. There will be a particular focus on psychological interventions of major health problems (e.g., drug and alcohol, obesity problems). Motivational intervention and relapse prevention will also be covered. Issues related to working within a multidisciplinary team will also be addressed. The aim is to provide students with essential knowledge, analytic and practical skills to support the practice of clinical psychology in health settings.

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 - Evaluate the complexities of the interrelationships between genetic, physiological, cognitive, behavioural and environmental factors in health and illness (GA4,GA5,GA6);

LO2 - Evaluate quantitative and qualitative research in the area of health and illness and critically evaluate models of health behaviour change (GA5, GA6,GA8, GA9); 

LO3 - Develop programs aimed at health promotion and illness prevention in multiple settings with an understanding of issues related to working within multidisciplinary teams.  (GA1,GA3,GA4, GA9); 

LO4 - Develop an understanding of the role of psychological assessment and interventions in physical illness and health, with an understanding of cultural issues that might impact on practice and research in clinical health psychology (GA1, GA3, GA4,GA5). 

Graduate attributes

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

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

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 models of health psychology and behavioural medicine and rehabilitation principles and procedures 
  • Biopsychosocial contributions to health and illness; implications for both prevention and treatment 
  • The nature of emotional responses as part of a complex set of interactions of genetic, physiological, behavioural and environmental factors influencing physical health 
  • The body’s physical systems 
  • Models of stress and coping and associated prevention and intervention models 
  • The role of beliefs and behaviours in health, illness and chronicity 
  • Pain and pain management 
  • Diet, exercise and obesity 
  • Sleep 
  • Research on health impairing and health protecting behaviours 
  • Sexual health and reproduction 
  • Dying and bereavement 
  • Patients’ engagement with the healthcare system 
  • Professional and organisational implications of working in multi-disciplinary teams. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Teaching and learning strategies may include lectures, workshops, and web-based learning.. Teaching and learning 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 class activities. Learning and teaching strategies used in lectures and workshops include active learning, case-based learning, group activities, and reflective/critical thinking activities. This range of strategies will provide students with appropriate access to required knowledge and understanding of unit content, and opportunities for development of competency in clinical health psychology. Web-based learning allows for further self-directed learning of additional content. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

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 (1) a presentation and written summary to enhance students’ knowledge with reference to the specific role of Health Psychology in the management of various chronic diseases and physical health related issues, and (2) a written assignment aimed at enhancing students’ critical analyses and syntheses of information relevant to the practice of clinical health psychology. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Presentation and Written Summary: To develop knowledge with reference to the specific role of Health Psychology in the management of various chronic diseases and physical health related issues 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9 

Written Assignment:  To develop critical analysis and synthesis of information skills relevant to the practice of clinical health psychology. 


LO1,LO3, LO4 

GA1, GA3,GA4, GA5, GA6 

Representative texts and references

American Psychological Association (2009). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.  

Boll, T.J., Johnson, S.B., Perry, N., & Rozensky, R.H. (Eds). (2002). Handbook of clinical health psychology: Volume 1. Medical disorders and behavioral applications. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 

Bowling, A. (2009). Research methods in health: Investigating health and health services (3rd ed). Buckingham, UK: Open University Press. 

Caltabiano, M.L., & Ricciardelli, L.A. (2013). Applied topics in health psychology. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, UK.  

Camic, P.M. & Knight,S. (Eds). (2004). Clinical handbook of health psychology: A practical guide to effective interventions (2nd revised and expanded ed,). Seattle, WA: Hogrefe and Huber Publications. 

Frank, R.G., Baum, A. & Wallander, J.L. (Eds). (2004). Handbook of clinical health psychology, Volume 3: Models and perspectives in health psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 

Huff, R.M., Kline, M.V. & Peterson, D.V. (Eds). (2015). Health promotion in multicultural populations: A handbook for practitioners and students (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.  

Raczynksi, J.M., & Leviton, L.C. (Eds). (2004). Handbook of clinical health psychology, Volume 2: Disorders of behavior and health. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 

Sarafino, E.P., Caltabiano, M.L., & Byrne, D.G. (2008) Health psychology: Biopsychosocial interactions. An Australian perspective. (2nd ed.). Milton, Australia: John Wiley & Sons. 

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