This page is designed to serve two broad purposes:
1. To facilitate instructors' efforts to introduce courses in health psychology at their colleges.
2. To help instructors enrich students' educational experiences in courses that focus on biopsychosocial connections.

 Sample Syllabi

Spinning logo
Class Demonstrations
Course Projects
Course Enrichment Resources

Resources (Books, etc.)


 Contributions Welcome

Web Resources Maintained by Regan A. R. Gurung, Ph. D.
Chair, Committee on Education and Training;  American Psychological Association-Division 38- Health Psychology






Courses in health psychology are interdisciplinary in their content and their audience. Although the students in these courses are mainly psychology majors, substantial numbers of enrollees come from other disciplines, such as nursing, sociology, physical education, and allied health fields.

Theoretical Perspectives

The great majority of instructors incorporate a variety of theoretical perspectives in their health psychology courses (Sarafino, 1988). Instructors tend to give the greatest emphasis to the behavioral perspective, followed by (in rank order): biological/physiological, cognitive, social, developmental, and psychodynamic perspectives.

Course Objectives


Many of the respondents to our original survey who have taught the health psychology course at least twice volunteered to have their names listed as mentors who could be contacted to give advice to new instructors in the field. These mentors are (listed alphabetically):
Karen Anderson         (Dept. of Psychology, Santa Clara U., Santa Clara, CA 95053)
George Bigelow         (Dept. of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins U., Key Medical Center, Baltimore, MD 21224)
Linda Brannon            (Dept. of Psychology and Special Education, McNeese State U., Lake Charles, LA 70609)
Robert Brubaker         (Dept. of Psychology, Eastern Kentucky U., Richmond, KY 40475)
Christine Dunkel-Schetter     (Dept. of Psychology, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90024)
George Everly                       (Dept. of Psychology, Loyola College, 4501 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21210)
Howard Friedman                 (Dept. of Psychology, U. of California at Reverside, Riverside, CA 92521)

Howard Fine, FCE Psychology Department, Birkbeck College, University of London, 26 Russell Square, LONDON. WC1B 5DQ
UK.   howard.fine@bartsandthelondon.nhs.uk

Peter Galvani                        (Dept. of Psychology, SUNY College at Brockport, Brockport, NY 14420)
Sergio Guglielmi                   (Dept. of Psychology, Gilmer Hall, U. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903)
Regan A. R. Gurung              (Human Development and Psychololgy, UW-GB), gurungr@uwgb.edu
Carl Johnson                (Dept. of Psychology, Central Michigan U., Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859)
Charles Kaiser             (Dept. of Psychology, College of Charleston, 66 George St., Charleston, SC 29424)
Antonio Puente             (Dept. of Psychology, U. of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wilmington, NC 28406)
Tracey A. Revenson     (Psychology CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10016-4039) TRevenson@gc.cuny.edu
Edward Sarafino           (Dept. of Psychology, The College of New Jersey, P.O. Box 7718, 2000 Pennington Road, Ewing, NJ08  628-0718)
Larry Stevens, Ph.D.    (Department of Psychology, NAU Box 15106, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona 86011)  (928) 523-6530  [Larry.Stevens@NAU.EDU]
Mervyn Wagner             (Dept. of Psychology, U. of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208)
Edward Whitson            (Dept. of Psychology, SUNY College at Geneseo, Geneseo, NY 14454)
Josephine Wilson           (Dept. of Psychology, Wittenberg U., Springfield, OH 45501)
Thomas Wrobel             (Dept. of Psychology, U. of Michigan at Flint, Flint, MI 48502)

If you would like to be added or removed from this list, please email Regan A. R. Gurung, Ph.D. at  gurungr@uwgb.edu

Course Enrichment Resources

PowerPoint Lecture Aids

Self-efficacy and on health behavior change  Ralf Schwarzer's website  http://www.ralfschwarzer.de/

Reading Lists

Christine Dunkel-Schetter
Regan A. R. Gurung

General Resources

(1) Pamphlets--The U.S. Government Printing Office and organizations concerned with specific health problems, such as the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association, publish and distribute health-related pamphlets.
 (2) Journals specializing in psychology and health--e.g., Annals of Behavioral Medicine and Journal of Behavioral Medicine, Health Psychology, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Psychology and Health, and Psychosomatic Medicine.
 (3) Edited volumes published periodically--e.g., Annual Review of Psychology, Annual Review of Public Health, Handbook of Psychology and Health (Erlbaum), and Progress in Behavior Modification (Sage).
 (4) Other major reference books can be readily selected by reviewing the catalogs of publishers with extensive lists in health psychology. These publishers include Erlbaum, Guilford, Jossey-Bass, Pergamon, Plenum, and Wiley.

Field Trips and Field Work

Field experiences provide valuable avenues for enriching health psychology courses. Visits can be arranged to local hospitals or nursing homes, and to pain clinics where students can observe techniques of biofeedback and psychophysiological assessment. Students can also do volunteer field work in hospitals and other health care settings as an option or requirement of the course.

Guest Speakers

Enrichment possibilities through the use of guest speakers are quite wide ranging in the field of health psychology. Speakers might include: (1) practitioners or researchers who are experts on specific illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, or kidney disease; (2) health care or rehabilitation specialists, such as nurses, physical and occupational therapists, and medical social workers; (3) clinical health psychologists who help patients cope with chronic or terminal illnesses; (4) hospice workers; (5) public health workers involved in community health-promotion programs; (6) individuals who work in AIDS prevention and treatment programs; (7) representatives of a local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving; and (8) individuals with knowledge of health care systems and needs in other societies.

Web Sites

Classroom Exercises and Demonstrations

The material in health psychology lends itself to a wide variety of educational classroom activities. (Note: Instructors' names in parentheses acknowledge those who provided each enrichment description. See the Acknowledgments section for full names and affiliations. In some cases, the description was brief enough to be quoted either in part or in its entirety.)

Course Projects

Our survey respondents provided many descriptions of projects they have their students do as part of the course requirements. These projects were quite varied and included papers, book reports, and self-modification activities. (Note: Instructors' names in parentheses acknowledge the respondents who provided the enrichment description. In some cases, the description was brief enough to be quoted either in part or in its entirety.)



Contributions Welcome

Do you have a resource, classroom demonstration, course syllabus, textbook suggestion, or any other information that you would like to share with other teachers of psychology?  Your contributions, suggestions for the development of this page, and comments are welcome.  Please email Regan A. R. Gurung, Ph.D. at  gurungr@uwgb.edu

Thank you.


A variety of sources were used to create this site.  Primary sources included a survey conducted by Div. 38's Committee on Education and Training and two articles that reported data from large-scale surveys:

The Committee on Education and Training extend our thanks to all instructors who took their time to submit the materials we used. All of the materials we received were used in some way. We commend in particular the creativity and care these instructors employed in designing the classroom exercises and demonstrations and the projects they use in their courses. The descriptions of these features will surely be of great help in enriching the health psychology courses of other instructors.

The following instructors sent materials in response to our survey: Karen Anderson (Santa Clara U.), Lewis Barker (Baylor U.), George Bigelow (Johns Hopkins U.), Linda Brannon (McNeese State U.), Robert Brubaker (Eastern Kentucky U.), Christine Dunkel-Schetter (UCLA), George Everly (Loyola College & Johns Hopkins U.), Howard Friedman (U. of California at Riverside), Peter Galvani (SUNY at Brockport), Sergio Guglielmi (U. of Virginia), David Hanson (James Madison U.), Carl Johnson (Central Michigan U.), Charles Kaiser (College of Charleston), Hattye Liston (North Carolina A & T State University), Nancy Norvell (U. of South Florida), Mary Ellen Olbrisch (Medical College of Virginia), Ann O'Leary (Rutgers U.), Antonio Puente (U. of North Carolina at Wilmington), Edward Sarafino (Trenton State College), Diane Tucker (U. of Alabama at Birmingham), Mervyn Wagner (U. of South Carolina), Edward Whitson (SUNY at Geneseo), Josephine Wilson (Wittenberg U.), Thomas Wrobel (U. of Michigan at Flint).