Psychology 2036A-650 (online)

The Psychology of Physical Health and Illness

If there is a discrepancy between the outline posted below and the outline posted on the OWL course website, the latter shall prevail.


This course will cover the role of psychological factors in the prevention of illness and the maintenance of good health, and treatment of already-existing illness. Topics will include the stress/illness relationship, psychological influences on physical symptom perception and reporting, personality and health, behavioural factors in disease, coping, adherence and compliance.

Antirequisites: Psychology 2330A/B, 3330F/G

Antirequisites are courses that overlap sufficiently in content that only one can be taken for credit. So if you take a course that is an antirequisite to a course previously taken, you will lose credit for the earlier course, regardless of the grade achieved in the most recent course.

0.5 course


Instructor:         Yves Bureau                                        

Office and Phone Number:  St. Joseph's Hospital, 268 Grosvenor Street, London, Ontario, N6A 4V2  Tel.519 646-6100 ext. 65739  

Office Hours: By appointment.                     


Teaching Assistant: TBA                              

Office:                    TBA                              

Office Hours:          TBA                              

Email:                     TBA

If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, there are several resources here at Western to assist you.  Please visit: for more information on these resources and on mental health.

Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also wish to contact Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at 519-661-2111 ext 82147 for any specific question regarding an accommodation.


Title: The Psychology of Health and Health Care: A Canadian Perspective

Edition:  5th

Publisher:  Pearson

Year:  2016

ISBN:  13:978-0-13-309827-3


We will examine biological, psychological, social, and environmental factors involved in health behaviour, susceptibility to illness, reactions to being ill, and the individual’s involvement with the healthcare system. Health and illness issues from all over the globe will be highlighted. The aim is to increase your understanding of health problems, their prevention, and their treatment.




Although the Psychology Department does not require instructors to adjust their course grades to conform to specific targets, the expectation is that course marks will be distributed around the following averages:

70%     1000-level and 2000-level courses
72%     2190-2990 level courses
75%     3000-level courses
80%     4000-level courses
The Psychology Department follows the University of Western Ontario grading guidelines, which are as follows (see ):

A+  90-100      One could scarcely expect better from a student at this level
A    80-89        Superior work that is clearly above average
B    70-79        Good work, meeting all requirements, and eminently satisfactory
C    60-69        Competent work, meeting requirements
D    50-59        Fair work, minimally acceptable
F    below 50    Fail

The course grade is based on participation in online discussions and on three multiple choice tests.

 Participation in online discussions, worth 10% of the course grade

Throughout the term, there will be a total of five online discussion forums on the course OWL site. Each discussion forum is therefore worth 2% of the course grade. A forum will be used to discuss the topics of the lectures.  Not all topics will be covered by the forums but should allow fort the students to become familiar with addressing the major issues.  The opening and closing date for each forum is listed in the Lecture Schedule (see section 7.0 of this course outline). You would need to contact your Academic Counsellor if you miss one or more posting and you are requesting academic accommodation for the missed posting(s) (see Section 9.0 of this course outline). With Academic Counselling approval, the final exam will be reweighed to accommodate the weight of the missing post(s).

Your forum post will be marked according to the following 3-point scale:

0 = no, late, or an inadequate post. Aspects of an inadequate post include: restating the question in your own words but not providing a clear answer to the question; posting information that is off-topic, incorrect, rude, or irrelevant to the discussion; or providing no references or supporting experience.

1 = adequate post with superficial thought and preparation. Shallow contribution to the discussion (e.g., agrees or disagrees). The post does not enrich discussion; that is, it repeats but does not add substantive information to the discussion. There is use of personal experience, but no references to readings or to research.

2 = the post is factually correct but lacks full development of concept or thought. It elaborates on the question or on an existing post with further comment or observation. There is incorporation of some references from literature and from personal experience. The post contributes valuable information to discussion, with minor clarity errors.

3 = the post demonstrates analysis of the question or of others’ posts. Information is factually correct. There is reflective and substantive contribution which advances meaningful discussion with clear and concise comments. References to literature, readings, or personal experience support comments.

Three multiple-choice tests, worth 25%, 30%, and 35% of the course grade

There will be three tests, non-cumulative in content. However, in order to be successful on all tests, it will be necessary to use knowledge acquired from chapters covered earlier in the course.  These tests deal with material covered in the textbook and in the OWL Sakai lesson notes. There will be 100 questions on each test, with each test being two hours long. Approximately 30% of the questions will come from the OWL Sakai lesson notes, and the remainder will be based on the textbook readings. The notes may have information not covered in the textbook but will otherwise follow it closely.  No aids are allowed during the test. Bring your Western student card and a No. 2/HB pencil to the test. Students who wish to change the location of their exam centre will need to give Distance Studies at least 4 weeks advanced notice before the date of the test.

According to university policy, the Academic Counsellor--not the course instructor--processes all cases of missing a test. If you miss a test, you are required to contact your Academic Counsellor in a timely fashion and be prepared to submit to them the necessary supporting documentation (see Section 9.0 of this course outline). Have your Academic Counsellor inform me in writing (e.g., e-mail) about the outcome of his or her discussion with you.

If you miss any of the midterm tests because of legitimate documented reasons, you will get to write a unique 3-hour version of the final exam (multiple-choice) that additionally covers the course material from the missed midterm(s). The additional material (50 questions) will be weighed according to the weight of the midterm that was missed. For example, if you missed the first midterm, the extra questions in your final exam would be worth 25%. If you missed the second midterm, the extra final exam questions would be worth 30%. If you missed both midterms, the extra final exam questions (50 for the first and 50 for the second midterm) would be worth 55%. Getting the unique 3-hour version applies to having missedone or more of the two midterms, and does not apply to missing the final exam. If you miss the final exam, you will need permission (i.e., a Special Exam form) from your Dean’s office to write a makeup 2-hour final exam. Go through Academic Counselling for requesting a Special Exam form.


Midterm Test #1 (worth 25% of course grade): Saturday October 21 at the exam centre you selected. This test is on chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, and corresponding OWL Sakai notes. Time and location to be announced (TBA).

Midterm Test #2 (worth 30% of course grade): Saturday November 18 at the exam centre you selected. This test is on chapters 5, 6, 7 and corresponding OWL Sakai notes. Time and location TBA.

Final Exam (worth 35% of course grade): during the December 10-21 final exam period, at the exam centre you selected. This test is on chapters 8, 9, 10, 11 and corresponding OWL Sakai notes. Date, time, and location TBA. As a reminder, do not make plans for travel during the final exam period until you know when your final exams will be.


WEEK                           REQUIRED READINGS (textbook chapters & OWL Sakai notes)


Sept. 11-17                       Chapter 1: An introduction: “What is health psychology”                                              

                                         1st Discussion Forum opens Sept. 11 and closes Sept 24 at 11:55pm

Sept. 18-24                       Chapter 2: Stress and coping. “The physiology of stress”

Sept. 25-Oct. 1                  Chapter 3: Psychoneuroimmunology “The importance of PNI to Health Psychology”

                                     2nd Discussion Forum opens October 2 and closes Oct. 22 at 11:55 pm

Oct. 2-8                             Chapter 4: Health communication.  “Physician-Patient Interaction”

Oct. 9-15                           Reading Week. (No additional readings)

October 21                        MIDTERM TEST #1 (worth 25%) on Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4

                                          and corresponding OWL Sakai notes         

Oct. 16-22                         Chapter 5: Health and physical activity.  “Physical Activity and the  Five components of health.”

                                               3rd Discussion Forum opens Oct. 23 and closes Nov 5 at 11:55 pm

Oct. 23-29                         Chapter 6: Health-Compromising Behaviours.                                      

Oct. 30-Nov 5                   Chapter 7: Chronic and life threatening illness.

                                          4th Discussion Forum opens Nov. 6 and closes Nov. 19 at 11:55 pm

Nov. 6-12                          Chapter 8: Pain “Perception and theories of pain”

November 14                   MIDTERM TEST #2 (worth 30%) on Chapters 5, 6, 7 and corresponding OWL Sakai notes   

Nov. 13-19                        Chapter 9: The world of Health Care:  Places, Procedures, and People.

                                            5th Discussion Forum opens Dec 3 and closes Dec 10 at 11:55 pm

                                           (this is a short one so please adjust your time accordingly)

Nov. 20-26                        Chapter 10: From one to Many:  Health on a Large Scale.

Nov. 27-Dec. 3                 Chapter 11: Health Promotion

Dec. 4-10                           Addition topics to be determined.

Dec. 11-22                       FINAL EXAM PERIOD    FINAL EXAM (worth 35%) on Chapters

                                         8, 9, 10, 11, potential additional topics and corresponding OWL

                                        Sakai notes. As a reminder, do not make plan for travel during the final

                                        exam period until you know when your final exams will be.


Students are responsible for understanding the nature and avoiding the occurrence of plagiarism and other scholastic offenses. Plagiarism and cheating are considered very serious offenses because they undermine the integrity of research and education. Actions constituting a scholastic offense are described at the following link:

As of Sept. 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology will take the following steps to detect scholastic offenses. All multiple-choice tests and exams will be checked for similarities in the pattern of responses using reliable software, and records will be made of student seating locations in all tests and exams. All written assignments will be submitted to TurnItIn, a service designed to detect and deter plagiarism by comparing written material to over 5 billion pages of content located on the Internet or in TurnItIn’s databases. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between Western and

Possible penalties for a scholastic offense include failure of the assignment, failure of the course, suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University.


Western’s policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness can be found at: 

Students must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be approved for certain accommodation:


Office of the Registrar web site:

Student Development Services web site:

Please see the Psychology Undergraduate web site for information on the following:

- Policy on Cheating and Academic Misconduct
- Procedures for Appealing Academic Evaluations
- Policy on Attendance
- Policy Regarding Makeup Exams and Extensions of Deadlines
- Policy for Assignments
- Short Absences
- Extended Absences
- Documentation
- Academic Concerns
- 2017 Calendar References

No electronic devices, including cell phones and smart watches, will be allowed during exams.