Health Psychology
Dr. Linda L. Walsh


Fall, 2008
9:30 T Th   Sabin 107

Table of Contents
Textbook Study Aids       Grading Scale    MCKey
Links to other Walsh Pages    Meet My Family    A sample of my garden    My Summer 

Dr. Linda L. Walsh

Office: Baker 441     Office Hours:9-10:30 MWF ; 
Mailbox: Baker 334   other times by appointment; drop-bys welcome.

Phone: 273-2690      Email: 
Course online syllabus at: 
Class Schedule & Reading Assignments
Chapter numbers refer to our text:  Health Psychology: Biopsychosocial Interactions (6th Edition)  by Edward Sarafino
Underlined text refers to World Wide Web documents, easily accessed from our online syllabus at
Lectures draw broadly from many sources so everything we cover will not be found in the text.

Tentative Schedule
Date Day Topic Reading Assignment
08-26  T Introduction to Health Psychology
What Does Good Health Mean to You?
A New Definition of Health

Syllabus; Chapter 1 to p.21
What is Health Psychology?
Careers in Health Psychology
Healthy People 2010
08-28 TH Research Methods in Health Psychology;
The Role of Theories in Research

Effect of Sexual Motivation on Men's Risk Perception of STDs
Effect of Race & Sex on Physician's Recommendations

Pages 21-30
An Essay a Day Keeps Dr. Away
Personality Diffs Predict Health Risk
Nightmares Following Earthquakes

Life Expectancy Calculator
The Longevity Game
09-02 T Finish Research Methods;
Psychosocial Intervention With Breast Cancer Patients
Should We Let Go of the Hope That Psychotherapy Increases Survival?
Peer Led HIV Education in "Intervention" Towns
Health Related Behaviors
Chapter 6 to p.162
Health Behavior Constructs
Behavior Change Theories

09-04 TH Health Promotion        
More on the Theory of Planned Behavior
An Example of the TPB
Understanding How People Change is the 1st Step in Changing Unhealthy Behaviors
Small Steps to Health & Wealth and 25 Behavior Change Strategies

p 162 - 173
Studyguide for Test 1
Review Health Belief Model
Part 2
Part 3
 09-09 T It's Not What You Say, But How You Say It
Health Enhancing Behaviors: Weight Control,Nutrition & Exercise
Health Beliefs Assignment Due     Motivational Interviewing
Chapter 8
Review the Stages of Change Model
09-11 TH Problems With Weight Control: Obesity
Video: Treating Obesity
Body Mass Index Calculator
Maintaining Weight Loss
09-16  T Problems With Weight Control: Eating Disorders
Set Point Theory
Food Pyramid
09-18  TH Test 1!!!  
09-23  T Stress
Complete the Life Events Stress Test
Alternative site for Stress Test
Read about this test
Chapter 3

A "Quickie" Type A/Type B Test
OR a longer test if you're interested
09-25  TH Psychoneuroimmunology Module 6 in Chapter 2 + p. 59-60
09-30  T Social Support, Personal Control, Hardiness & Resilience
Guided Imagery for Relaxation
Chapter 4
Breathing Relaxation Exercise
General Intro to Relaxation Techniques
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Coping With Stress    Tips for Reducing Stress at Work    Reducing Caregiver Stress
Biodot Assignment due
Chapter 5
Guided Visualization or Imagery
10-07  T Health Risking Behaviors: Smoking Chapter 7 to 186
10-09  TH Video: Smoking Cessation The QuitNet - Quit Smoking Resource
Drug therapy to aid in smoking cessation
10-14  T Health Risking Behaviors: Alcohol Abuse
Click on & complete "Alcohol Expectancies"

Alcohol Self-Assessment
Helping patients beat cocaine addiction
Addiction's Path
Studyguide for Test 2
10-16  TH Test 2
10-21  T Illness and Medical Treatment
Click on and complete "Reacting to Health Problems"

Chapter 9

Midterm Grades Due

10-23  TH NPR: Learning to Relate to Patients
NPR: New Emphasis on Doctor-Patient Relationships
Tufts University Lecture on Doctor-Patient Relationship
Click on and complete "Taking Charge of Your Health Care"
What is Integrative Medicine?
Treating the Whole Person
The New Medicine
10-28  T Pain
NPR:A Chronic Pain Sufferer
Chapter 11
Testicular Self-Exams
10-30  TH Pain Management
Health Self-Checks Assignment due.
Chapter 12
Mindfulness Meditation & Pain
Try Body Scan Meditation
11-04  T NPR:Meditation A Hit For Pain Management
Pain and Pain Management Notes
Studyguide for Test 3
11-06  TH Complementary and Alternative Treatments
Video: The Art of Healing
NPR: NIH and Alternative Medicine
NPR: Brain Changes During Meditation or Prayer
Complementary/Alternative Therapies
Complementary Therapies
Clinical Hypnosis   (2)    (3)            

CAM Science Movement
11-11  T Test 3
11-13  TH Chronic Illness: Asthma; Arthritis
Chapter 13 & Module 4 in Chapter 2
11-18  T Chronic Illess: Diabetes
Video: The Silent Epidemic

11-20  TH Chronic Illness: Heart Disease & Hypertension
Click on and complete "Test Your Hostility and Level of Suppressed Anger"
Chapter 14 & Module 5 in Chapter 2

12-02  T Chronic Illness: Cancer
Click on and complete "Measuring Your Risk of Cancer"
NPR: Cancer Support Groups
NPR: Social Support & Breast Cancer
12-04  TH Chronic Illness: Caring for Alzheimer's

12-09 T Chronic Illness: AIDS

12-11 TH The Future of Health Psychology
Chapter 15      Studylist 4
 W Final Exam  8:00 a.m.

Health Psychology Resources
APA Health Psychology Division 38
APA Health Psychology - Resources
Careers in Health Psychology
The Health Psychology Network

Health Psychology Sites (from the Department of Psychology, University of Windsor)
Health Psychology Links by Subtopic (from the Social Psychology Network)
The Health Psychology Library
Health Psychology Articles (from the Department of Psychology, University of Windsor)

Course Requirements

     Realizing that this course draws students from many different majors and with varying commitments outside of the class, I have tried to design a flexible set of assignments that gives you some freedom of choice. A few assignments I consider important learning experiences for all students. These are labeled REQUIRED below. Other assignments may be of interest to students with particular career goals/interests or to students who prefer to have a greater percentage of their grade based on assignments and a smaller percentage of their grade depending on tests. Many students feel like they have more control over how well they do on assignments vs the uncertainty of how well they might do on exams. These assignments are labeled OPTIONAL below. Note that OPTIONAL does not mean extra credit: if you choose to do optional assignments your "points possible" increases, the relative importance of tests decreases. In the end your grade will be based on the percentage of points you earned. Our 4 exams will be worth about 125 each or 500 points total. The remaining will come from the assignments below. Please note that late submissions will lose points.

Class Participation Assignments (15-20 @ 5 pts each)
We will have a number of "before class" and "in-class" assignments related to the material that we are covering. Many of these are short assessments like the "Life Events Stress Test" or "Alcohol Expectancies Test" listed in the syllabus above. Those listed in the syllabus you are to do BEFORE class and bring with you (either the surveys you have printed out and completed or your "results page" from the assessments you actually take online. Sometimes I will pass out surveys to be completed in class (these cannot be made up if you miss class). Each of these activities is worth 5 points. You are required to complete 15 of them and if you do more than that it will count as extra credit.

Health Belief and Behavior Data Assignment (50 pts) Due 9/9
Administer a short health behavior survey to both yourself and your parents. Discuss similarities and differences and why these might exist. (Handout will be provided in class)

Biodot Assignment (log and write-up - 50 points) Due 10/2
During the course of a day (or longer) you will monitor your stress levels using a primitive biofeedback device and record data on your physical, emotional and cognitive state each hour. You will also try to modify your physiological state using relaxation techniques. (Handout provided in class)

Self-Health Check Data Assignment (50 pts) Due 10/30
Interview 10 or more friends about their self-health check behaviors. Tally and discuss your results. (Handout provided in class)

Note: Optional does not mean Extra Credit - it means a greater % of your grade will be based on assignments.

Optional Additional Assignment - Health Psych in the News (25 pts)
This assignment is designed to encourage awareness of health psych related issues covered in the news (newspapers, online news publications, magazines, television news). Find a health psych related news article or news link or tape a news segment and write a brief essay relating it to material in our text or that we cover in class. What does the news item report about health behaviors, health beliefs, health-related thoughts, attitudes or emotions , behavior change techniques, etc.? Where did the data come from? Did the news item provide enough information to allow you to get a sense of the validity of the report? What questions did you have that remained unanswered? Does this data "fit" with what is presented in our text?

Optional Additional Assignment - Why Do People Smoke? (50 pts)
Interview 10 or more smokers about why they smoke and tally ands discuss your results. (Handout provided in class)

Graduate students will, in addition, be asked to prepare a review of 10 current research reports on a narrowly defined health psychology topic (125 pts; handout will be provided). Keep Dr. Walsh up to date by telling me about the methods and findings of new research on a health psychology topic. Please select and submit your preliminary computer search of research articles on a narrow topic by 10/23, show me 6 related primary sources no later than 11/18, and your completed papers by 12/04.

10 pt Extra Credit. Keep a blank videotape handy to record any shows, segments, or news reports  related to health psychology. Turn the tape in to me with a summary of the program , why you think it's relevant to the class, and a critical evaluation of the segment using an evaluation handout.(tape will be returned). May be done once for credit.
  • Grading: For undergrads required assignments make up about 1/3 of the points for the semester, exams about 2/3 of the points. Doing optional assignments changes this balance. Grades will be based on the total number of points accumulated during the semester, but you must have at least a passing average on the 4 exams. (Grad student will have additional readings and a lit review assignment worth 125 points.
  • Your final course grade will be assigned according to this scale:
    80.0 - 82.9%
    67.0 - 69.9% 
    90.0 - 92.9%
    77.0 - 79.9% 
    63.0 - 66.9% 
    87.0 - 89.9%
    73.0 - 76.9% 
    60.0 - 62.9% 
    83.0 - 86.9% 
    70.0 - 72.9%
    0.0 - 59.9%

    About Your Prof
    Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
    Education: B.S. (Psychology) University of Illinois, Chicago;
                      M.A. (Biopsychology) University of Chicago;
                      Ph.D. (Biopsychology) University of Chicago
    Married:  James Walsh (attorney)
    Children:  3 girls (Jennifer, Sara, & Annie)
    Hobbies:  Gardening, gourmet cooking, travel, concert-hopping, reading
    Most unusual experiences: Performing brain surgery on rats, riding an elephant (twice!), climbing the Great Pyramid, wearing a live python around my neck, flying in a blimp, visiting ancient Greek ruins, giving birth
    Goals: Continue to learn for the rest of my life, enjoy my professional and private lives, help others discover psychology (especially the biological side of psychology)

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    This page was prepared by Linda Walsh, Dept. of Psychology,
    University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0505.
    Last updated 8/25/08