HLTHPSYC 122 : Behaviour, Health and Development

Medical and Health Sciences

2024 Semester Two (1245) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Introduction to the relationship between behaviour and the major biological, cognitive and social-emotional processes, applying them to health and development across the life span. Focuses on aspects of behaviour and development particularly relevant for the healthcare professional.

Course Overview

Integrating biological, psychological and social-emotional perspectives on human behaviour, health and development, this is the core psychology course for students undertaking a Bachelor of Health Science, Nursing or Medical Imaging and those preparing for clinical pathways into medicine and pharmacy (via BHSc).
The objective is to enable students to apply psychological principles and theory using the biopsychosocial lifespan model to health care practice, their understanding of the health, behaviour and development of patients and the wider population and to their own health and lifestyle (e.g. eating a balanced diet, sleeping well, improving memory/learning).
This course provides an introduction to:
•    Psychology and psychological research methods
•    The brain and nervous system as a basis for the biological understanding of human behaviour and development
•    Mental processes (cognition), such as perceiving the world, memory, thinking, decision‐making, and problem‐solving, and how they develop across the lifespan
•    The way in which people learn and how principles of learning can be used to modify behaviour.
•    Social and emotional influences on development and health behaviour (e.g. adherence to medication)
•    Key areas of health psychology, mental health, and psychopathology

Course Requirements

Restriction: POPLHLTH 122

Course Contacts

Contact your tutor for all course content queries in the first instance.
Course Coordinators: Dr Suzanne Stevens: s.stevens@auckland.ac.nz and Dr Karolina Stasiak: k.stasiak@auckland.ac.nz
Head Tutor: Dr Anna Perera: anna.perera@auckland.ac.nz (assignment extensions, tutorial queries)
Administrator: Nicola Grant: hlthpsyc122admin@auckland.ac.nz (admin queries)

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Explain how key psychological and developmental theories can contribute to: a) An understanding of the causes of disease, illness and psychopathology; b) Informing our health care practice; c) Promoting positive or reducing negative health behaviours. (Capability 3.1 and 3.2)
  2. Describe social, emotional, cognitive and developmental factors that are likely to affect physical and mental health across the life course. (Capability 3.1, 3.2, 4.1 and 6.1)
  3. Describe and apply behavioural principles and theories of learning to design, implement and evaluate an individual behaviour modification programme. (Capability 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 8.1 and 8.3)
  4. Describe key factors that support or hinder adherence to treatment and health promotions (Capability 2.1, 3.1 and 3.2)
  5. Explain the role of stress and coping on health and illness across the lifespan (Capability 2.1, 3.1 and 3.2)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Quizzes 10% Individual Coursework
Formative project plan 5% Individual Coursework
Assignments 25% Individual Coursework
Test 20% Individual Test
Final Exam 40% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5
Formative project plan
Final Exam

Minimum pass mark for HLTHPSYC122: achievement of an overall pass mark of at least 50% in the entire course, i.e. the combination of the assignments, mid-semester test, weekly quizzes and final examination. No plussage applied in this course.

Workload Expectations

Following University workload guidelines, a standard 15 point course represents approximately 150 hours of study.  During a typical teaching week there will be 2 hours of lectures and 1.5 hours of tutorials. For the 12 teaching weeks, this totals to 39  hours. Since the course as a whole represents approximately 150 hours of study, that leaves a total of 111 hours across the entire semester for independent study, e.g. reading, reflection, preparing for assessments/exams, etc.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including lectures and tutorials, which will be examinable components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities such as tutorials will not be available as recordings to allow for free and open discussion and encourage attendance and active participation in the applied learning part of the course. 
Attendance on campus is required for the mid-semester test and exam unless there is a MoH/MoE/UoA announcement preventing this.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable delivery.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

The majority of the required readings are in the textbook (Australian edition).  Additional readings are linked to the course reading list page on CANVAS. All readings are examinable.

Required text: Lilienfeld, S. O., Lynn, S. J., Namy, L. L., Jamieson, G., Marks, A. & Slaughter, V. (2019). Psychology: From inquiry to understanding (3rd Australian ed.). Melbourne, Victoria: Pearson Australia

Hard copies are available at the University Bookshop UBIQ (ISBN 9781488615740) $163.99
The interactive e-Text can be purchased from Vital Source (ISBN 9781488620355). $56.87 

Short loan copies are available from the Philson library (Grafton campus) and the General library (city campus). There are 3 e-book copies available too through the library catalogue (log in to library first).

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Student feedback via SETs, OLEs and the class reps meetings has been valuable in the ongoing enhancement of HLTHPSYC 122. The feedback indicates that students consistently find the course intellectually stimulating and well organised. In particular, the tutorials are often highlighted as being very helpful for students’ learning.
One concern, often provided by students, is the scope of the content and readings. In response to this we introduced 11 short, open-book online quizzes throughout the semester (worth 10% of the final grade). This is to help students to better manage the amount of information they need to know and provide helpful feedback on learning progress. These have been really well received by students. An issue identified with the coursework was the need to get started on the behaviour modification assignment early and to successfully identify a suitable target behaviour. In 2020 we introduced the project outline as an assessment task to address this and provide formative feedback for the students. This has lead to an overall improvement in assignment marks
We have also reduced the contribution of the exam from 60 to 40% of the final mark and reduced the final exam time from 3 to 2 hours.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

All plagiarism (intentional or naive) is detected, even if wording changes are attempted, and official academic misconduct procedures will be followed. Please complete the Academic Integrity course before submitting the Assessment. Guidelines on the appropriate use of generative artificial intelligence tools and paraphrasing software is provided on Canvas and by teaching staff. 

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.