Health Psychology


Health psychology has become the most rapidly growing field of psychology over the past 15 years. The field is concerned with understanding human behaviour in the context of health and illness. There is increased recognition of the need for health services to pay more attention to the psychological aspects of medical problems and to improve health care interactions. Increasingly, health professionals are dealing with chronic illness, aging and the problems of living with disability. All these areas have major health psychology components.

Areas of study

Courses in Health Psychology

You can study Health Psychology in the following programmes:

What you will learn

You will have the opportunity to gain an understanding of areas such as:

  • How individuals cope with illness and chronic disease.
  • Psychological influences on the development of disease states.
  • Understanding and improving adjustment in healthcare settings.
  • Patient-practitioner communication.
  • Adherence to treatment.
  • Determinants of health-related behaviours (diet, exercise, etc.).
  • How individuals make sense of and react to health screening, symptoms and illness.

The impetus for the development of health psychology has stemmed from the fact that many of these areas of research and practice have not been directly addressed by Medicine. The field has been bolstered by the usefulness of psychological models in explaining patient behaviour and developing effective interventions in areas that have been problematic in the health field.

Career opportunities

Health Psychology students can apply for admission to the Postgraduate Diploma in Health Psychology. This programme aims to train students in the skills that are necessary for them to be able to function as clinical health psychologists working directly with patient populations and the public. Graduates will have a sound knowledge of the social and psychological aspects of health problems and the application of suitable psychological interventions in health settings.

More information

Health Psychology postgraduate programmes

2018 Health Psychology Handbook