Health Psychology (PSYC 383) – Spring, 2010
Time and Place: Tues/Thurs, 11:00am-12:15pm in Bio E. 100
David Sbarra, Ph.D.
Office: Psychology 408
Office Hours (OH): Tues. & Thurs.,
12:30-1:30pm, or by appointment
OH: Tues & Thurs, 10-11am, Psych 410
OH: Mon (3-4pm) & Tues (4-5pm), Psych
This is an introductory survey course in health psychology. The main aim of
the course is to introduce you to the broad theories, terminology, and substantive research
findings of the field through consideration of the psychological influences on illness and
wellness, as well as the effects of physical health on psychosocial functioning. Throughout the
term, we will examine how these processes operate across varied levels of analysis, including,
for example, consideration of the different biological systems of the body, how people make
health behavior changes, the effects of interpersonal contexts on physical health, the
development, maintenance, and psychosocial correlates of specific diseases, cultural variation in
disease and health behaviors, and the role of larger systems in promoting wellness and the
management of chronic illness.
The emphasis of this course is on reviewing scientific evidence (rather than discussing anecdotal
or personal experience) with the overall goal of helping you learn to think critically about current
theories and research findings.
Course Readings and Materials:
One text is required for this class and may be purchased at the
University Bookstore. Weekly readings will be assigned from this book. Primary source journal
articles will be assigned on a periodic basis; these will be posted to the course website.
Taylor, S. E. (2008).
Edition). McGraw Hill.
This course will use a D2L website, and all materials can be found
online, include lecture materials, which will be posted before each lecture. All registered
students will find this course among their online courses within the D2L system:
The Scientific Attitude
: The application of science to psychosocial influences of health and
illness carries with it the implicit assumption that these problems can be studied objectively.
Health psychologists adopt an open-minded attitude that allows them to ask empirical questions
so that research data can inform their decision-making, rather than allowing personal biases to
guide them. We are going to discuss several controversial topics in this course. In order to get the
most out of these discussions, you are asked to have a tolerant and open mind, and to keep in
mind that intellectual (not personal) debate will be encouraged in class. Therefore, you are
encouraged to ask questions and raise points of debate in class, provided you do so in a
In addition, because we will touch on issues of psychological health, it is