Division of Applied Undergraduate Studies
Health psychologists seek to understand how health and illness are affected by biological, psychosocial, cultural, and socioeconomic factors, and how chronic illness and pain can affect psychological well-being. Course readings examine the influences of genetic predispositions and risk factors such as stress, depression, hostility, and abuse of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. Equally important are factors that play a role in maintaining health and well-being, such as positive attitudes, exercise, supportive family relationships, and social support. The course familiarizes students with the diverse settings in which health psychologists work and with the scientific methods used in this field, including behavioral research and research in neuropsychology and psychoneuroimmunology on the effects of stress on the brain and immune system. Approaches to treating stress and stress-related health problems and implications for community and public health are also addressed.