This course will provide an introduction to the field of health psychology, which is concerned with the roles of behavioral/lifestyle, psychological, and social/cultural factors on health/wellness, illness and chronic disease. The course will address four general subject areas: 1) attitudes, behavior, and lifestyle factors affecting disease prevention and development; 2) stress and the related psychological and social processes associated with disease development and progression; 3) social and psychological factors involved in the illness experience; and 4) long-term social and psychological implications of chronic illness (e.g., heart disease, cancer).
- Acquire an understanding of the components of the field of health psychology.
- Be able to assess the credibility of health information dissemination within the media.
- Become more aware of cultural differences and similarities in health care attitudes, beliefs, and practices.
- Develop an understanding of the scientific methods employed by health psychologists and acquire some basic conceptual skills for interpreting and critically analyzing research.
- Gain an appreciation for the importance of cultural context in health and disease.
- Learn about evidence for the roles of central psychosocial constructs, such as stress, coping, personality, and social support, in health risks and outcomes.
- Learn about the mechanisms through which psychological and social factors (e.g. poverty, culture, racism, sexism, etc.) might influence physical health.
- Understand and critically analyze the roles of oppression, culture, and social identities in health behavior and health care access.
- Employ the methods and data that historians and social and behavioral scientists use to investigate the human condition.
- Examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods and cultures.
- Use and critique alternative explanatory systems or theories.
- Develop and communicate alternative explanations or solutions for contemporary social issues.