PSYC582-16C (BLK)

Community Health Psychology

15 Points

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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Te Kura Kete Aronui
School of Psychology


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Student Representatives


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Paper Description

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Welcome to Community Health Psychology. This paper is a core component for graduate students in Community Psychology. Through lectures, discussions and student-led sessions, this course provides an outline of the origins of community health psychology, an introduction to some important theoretical models, and a critical examination of a range of applications. The interdisciplinary nature of community health psychology is reflected in the required readings for the course. The overall purpose of the paper is to explore the application of community and social psychology to concepts, systems and problems of health and illness in their social context.

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Paper Structure

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This is a block course paper. There are two main blocks - one in the week before the B semester starts and one during the B semester break.

Students are expected to attend all of the block classes. Outside of the block course dates students need to do reading, complete 2 online quizzes and work on their presentation and essay. Student who take responsibility for their own learning tend to do better in this course. This can include active participation in class, completing readings before each class, supporting other students in the class, and actively seeking additional information about topics of interest. Staff will be available during the semester to assist you should you need help with planning, developing your topics and the overall logic of your presentation and essay.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Identify and understand key concepts, approaches and issues in community health psychology
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  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the social determinants of health
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  • Recognise the important influence of culture, history, power and inequalities in relation to people’s health and wellbeing
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  • Explore the connections between social, community and health psychologies and critical public health literature.
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  • Develop the capacity for ‘macro-vision’, or the understanding of the world as a set of related systems, and to acknowledge one’s own place and responsibilities within these systems
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  • Develop critical reading and thinking skills by engaging actively in reading and in group discussions
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  • Develop communication skills by communicating clearly, logically and accurately in writing and in discussion
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  • Display a thorough understanding of the field of community health psychology, and the theoretical and practical dilemmas faced by professionals working in this area.
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This paper has four forms of assessment - quizzes; oral presentation; essay outline, and an essay.

1. Online Quizzes – Due: 25 July & 2 September (10%)

There will be a short online quiz after each Block based on the readings and lecture content. Each quiz will be worth 5%. The first quiz will be due Monday 25 July. The second quiz will be due Friday 2 September. Each online quiz will have 10 multiple choice questions. You will have at least a week following the block course days to answer the quiz. Please note that there is a 20 minute time limit with answering the quiz.

2. Oral presentations- Due: Block 2 - 22-23 August (20%)

This is an individual assignment. Time allocated is up to 15 minutes per presentation followed by 5 minutes of class feedback and discussion. Time management is essential! Please ensure you practice so that you know that you will all keep to the time limit.

Making an oral presentation and facilitating discussion is an important skill for community psychologists and many other professions. These sessions are an opportunity to gain experience in these skills, integrate your learning from the year, and apply what you know about community health psychology issues. During Block 1 (Session 4) there will be a discussion about possible presentation topics to help you choose a topic and think about how you might narrow it down.

Ideally, your presentation should work at two levels - it should encourage your audience to explore the topic on a personal and professional level, as well as help them understand the topic in the context of its broad organising theme. For example, under the theme of community health psychology, you might present a seminar on sexual health that could look at how assumptions about heterosexuality affect access to health information for gay and lesbian people. Or, you could look at the role the Kohanga Reo movement has had in relation to fostering whanau and community health and wellbeing.

Please bring a USB with your presentation ppt on it to the class so it can be uploaded to the class computer.

Planning and presenting your class session

The following guidelines will be helpful in preparing your seminar. These guidelines are not definitive, but merely mention some key points of presentation which are sometimes overlooked. The principles discussed here apply equally to the presentation of lectures, tutorials, or to less formal modes of presenting information to others.

Most people feel a bit nervous when they are about to present information or ideas before an audience and this can intensify if the audience consists of one’s peers. Even very accomplished and acclaimed public speakers frequently report that they are always nervous before making a presentation, so there is nothing silly about feeling this way. The suggestions which are made below are designed to reduce that nervousness as well as to enhance the presentation.


  1. Make sure that you have thoroughly prepared the material you intend to cover in the session, to ensure you understand the concepts, ideas, theories and/or data that you intend to talk about. Do a practice run through of your presentation, preferably in front of another person. If this is not possible practice in front of a mirror or record your presentation and then listen to yourself (yes, this can be hard to do!) You can start by reading the material you have prepared, but aim towards speaking the presentation without reading.

  2. At the start of your presentation, it is useful to have a simple discussion plan consisting of 3-5 headings which you intend to follow and could include the main concepts, ideas and arguments.

  3. Arrange the material that you intend to cover in an order that will make sense to the audience. That is, you should begin with material which will help orientate your audience, and organise the discussion that it will move smoothly from the beginning - through the main body of the material on to a conclusion. For example, you might move from some general point to more specific material - from theories or concepts to specific illustrations and examples. On the other hand, you may wish to adopt an inductive approach and start with specific examples, using these to develop a theoretical framework. Either way, it is important that you still begin with a clear overview of what you plan to cover and have a clear structure to your presentation.


  4. Rather than trying to present all of the ideas and information you may have explored in your research into the topic, it is better within a session to focus on just 1 or 2 key ideas or concepts, and explore these in some depth. This avoids the possibility that the audience will become confused with a flood of new information. If avoid overloading the audience then it is more likely that they will make some active contribution to the discussion.

  5. Choose core concepts and ideas that are relatively simple, and which are most likely to elicit interest and reaction. Present them as issues and ideas, rather than as facts and findings - this approach is most likely to encourage people to venture their own interpretations.

  6. Ensure you have a clear structure. Include the following:

    1. Introduction: Welcome the audience. Then have a brief statement of what your presentation will be about and perhaps a statement that will grab the audience’s interest.

    2. Body: The main part needs to outline your argument, make conceptual links and develop the narrative of your presentation. In 10 minutes you will only be able to cover 4-6 points. Work through these points in a logical way. Have some way of tying the various points together into an overall argument or framework.

    3. Conclusion: Briefly summarise what has been covered. Try to end with something strong or positive. Invite questions from the audience.

      Manner of presentation

  7. It is essential that you present your ideas in a clear way. Remember your audience probably does not know as much as you about the topic, and will need time to become familiar with the concepts and ideas before they can evaluate what you are talking about. It is useful to put yourself in the shoes of a naïve listener as you plan what you are going to say, and try to imagine whether you would be able to understand it. Avoid using long sentences and jargon.

  8. If complex terms are essential make sure that you take time to clarify them. Do not assume that people will understand something when it is presented to them.

  9. Do not read out information unless it is essential - and then use only very short passages (e.g. quotations, definitions). If you are going to do this, it is useful to have the passage written as well, so people can see it (e.g. on a handout or an slide). Try to keep your voice intonation varied - monotonous or very low soft voices tend to lull people to sleep!

  10. Break up your presentation of information by asking your audience for their reactions, ideas and opinions about what you are presenting. The purpose of the seminar is to share ideas - this can only happen if you limit the amount of information you cover and actively solicit people’s ideas. The audience in turn will only be able to contribute if they understand what you are talking about. Audience feedback can be a wonderful source of new ideas if your seminar is focused and you are open to input.

  11. Try not to be too nervous or worry too much about making a mistake. Other people are often a lot less bothered by our mistakes than we are ourselves. If you make a mistake during the presentation simply acknowledge it and move on.

    Engaging the audience

  12. Maintain eye contact with the audience where ever possible. Try to look around the room. Try not to read your talk, you can however, have some notes with the key points which you can glance at.

  13. Be selective with the material you include. The most boring seminars are those where the speaker tries to present a large amount of information in a very short time. Try to include examples and illustrations of the topic which will have relevance to the particular audience, so they are able to relate to your argument.

  14. If you are intending to use visual aids make sure that:

  • they are clear, simple and easy to read;

  • you avoid having too much text. List main points. You can also use relevant pictures, charts, cartoons and diagrams to emphasise points;

  • the images and text are sufficiently large and clear enough to be seen from the back of the room (think about how your ppt will look on a bigger screen);

  • there are not too many slides;

  • you are clear about the information the slides contain and can explain it.

  1. If possible practise your presentation in front of another person using your visual aids, so you know whether your presentation has any gaps, is interesting, and makes sense. Practicing will allow you to judge your timing, and will also allow you to modify slides and the content or order of the presentation. It will also help you to feel more prepared and less nervous.

  2. You may decide to use handouts as a supplement to highlight the main ideas/points of your presentation. Avoid putting too much information in the handouts as people may end up reading rather than listening to you. Stick to a list of headings for the topics or ideas that you intend to cover and perhaps list your sources. The handouts can be used to make notes on by the audience.

    Please ensure you keep to the time limit. The block course is on a tight schedule, and you will not be popular if you take up other speakers’ time slots.

3. Essay Outline - due 22 August (10%)

Students are expected to bring a 1-2 page outline of their essay to the second block of the course. This outline is worth 10%. The marker will be looking to see whether you have made a clear plan for your essay, have given your topic sufficient thought and have searched literature for your topic. Bullet points and mind-mapping can be used to present your ideas.

4. Essay - full essay is due Tuesday 25 October (60%)


The aim of this assignment is to give you experience in researching a community health issue and communicating a particular set of arguments about the issue. The assignment requires you to review literature on the type of work undertaken by social scientists working in community health psychology and related areas such as public health, social policy, Maori studies, education and sociology. Consideration should be given to contextual influences, such as norms, values and ideologies on the formation and focus of community research and interventions.


  1. The essay should be 4000 words (excluding references).

  2. Prepare your Essay following either one of the scenarios below, or one which you have devised yourself. Alternative scenarios must be of the form of those below (a clearly defined issue and context and an identified audience) and need to be approved by the course convenor (Check this out in plenty of time.)

  • Select a specific community health issue [e.g., crime; lack of access to appropriate health services; Maori health issues; housing; high levels of unemployment and underemployment; street prostitution; disabilities and social inclusion; participative community health initiatives] and discuss what community health psychology has [or might] contribute to our understandings of this issue.

  • How might the application of community and social psychological theory and research enhance community health in Aotearoa/New Zealand?

  • Critically review the potential benefits of participative health promotion in community settings.

  • The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has asked you to recommend the position it should take in respect of work-based health promotion [or] the management of organisations as communities.

  • The Minister of Internal Affairs has asked you to prepare a critical review of the literature on disparities in health. The review may suggest possible policy interventions to address health inequalities.

  1. Write in a form that allows your intended audience to scan your paper quickly and pick up the main arguments. Simple language and sentence construction are important.

  2. Make sure that your conclusions/main points are clearly justified.

  3. It will be helpful to start with a statement of the issue you are considering.

Additional considerations are as follows:

  • Presentation: The General Guide for Psychology Students sets out School policies regarding the general style and format of assignments. You should get a copy (obtainable from Psyc Café on Moodle under Forms and Guides or from the School of Psychology office) and follow its general guidelines, except where these conflict with more specific information contained in this course outline. Assignments should be typed, 1.5 spaced, and in a clear font (at least 11pt).

  • References: You must include a list of references at the end of your essay, and citations within the body of the work, including page numbers if direct quotes are used. You should use the APA or Harvard referencing system; please see the School’s ‘General Guide for Psychology Students’. The library has resources and tutorials for referencing with regard to using Endnote software.

  • Revision: After you have revised your document, have someone else go through it in detail to note any points which are not clear and any errors which need correction. (Proof-reading your own work can be limited by a tendency to “read” what you intended to write, not what you have actually written). Do a final check on a hard copy yourself.

  • Student Learning Services: In this course there is a strong emphasis on essay writing. Investing some time to work with a Student Learning tutor is advisable if you find essay writing a challenge or have trouble starting to write. Even if you think you can write well, Student Learning can help you to improve your writing – which can be a vital skill in the job market and in graduate study. You can access the Student Learning service in person ITS.G.11, by phone (838 4657), email or view their website

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Internally Assessed Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 1:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 1:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of internal markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Quiz 1
25 Jul 2016
12:00 AM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Quiz 2
2 Sep 2016
12:00 AM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Student presentations
23 Aug 2016
5:00 PM
  • Presentation: In Class
4. Essay outline
23 Aug 2016
5:00 PM
  • Hand-in: In Lecture
5. Essay
25 Oct 2016
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
  • Hand-in: Assignment Box (FASS)
Internal Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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Block 1

Campbell, C. & Murray, M. (2004) Community health psychology: Promoting analysis and action for social change. Journal of Health Psychology, 9, 187-195.

Murray, M. et al., (2004) Assumptions and values of Community Health Psychology. Journal of Health Psychology, 9, pp. 323-333.

Navarro, V. (2011) The importance of politics in policy. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 35(4), 313.

Hodgetts, D. & Stolte, O. (2017). Chapter 1: Introduction to urban poverty and health inequalities. Urban Poverty, Penal Welfare & Health Inequalities. London/New York: Routledge.

Reid, P. & Robson, B. (2007). Understanding Health Inequities. In B. Robson & R. Harris (Eds.), Hauora: Màori Standards of Health IV. A study of the years 2000-2005 (pp. 3-10). Wellington: Te Ròpù Rangahau Hauora a Eru Pòmare.

Boulton, A., Tamehana, J. & Brannelly, T. (2013). Whanau-centred health and social service delivery in New Zealand. MAI Journal, 2(1), 18-32.Frumkin, H. (2003) Healthy places: Exploring the evidence. American Journal of Public Health, 93(9), 1451-1456.

Block 2

Hodgetts, D., Stolte, O. & Rua, M. (2016-in press). Health is structural, but psychologists still have a role. In Rucklidge, J., Waitoki, W., Feather, J. & Robertson, N. (eds.), Professional Practice of Psychology in Aotearoa New Zealand. New Zealand Psychological Society.

Douglas, M. (2016). Beyond ‘health’: Why don’t we tackle the cause of health inequalities? In Smith, K.E., Hill, S. & Bambra, C. (eds). Health Inequalities: Critical Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Standing, G. (2012). The precariat: From denizen to citizens? Polity, 44(4), 587-608.

Frumkin, H. (2003) Healthy places: Exploring the evidence. American Journal of Public Health, 93(9), 1451-1456.

Stolte, O. & Hodgetts, D. (2015). Being healthy in unhealthy places: Health tactics in a homeless lifeworld. Journal of Health Psychology, 20(2), 144-153.
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Recommended Readings

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Relevant Books:

  • Smith, K.E., Hill, S. & Bambra, C. (2016). Health Inequalities: Critical Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Schrecker, T. & Bambra, C. (2015). How Politics Makes Us Sick. London/New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

  • Cromby, J., Harper, D. & Reavey, P. (2013) Psychology, Mental Health and Distress.Basingstoke: Palgrave/MacMillian.

  • Guttmacher, S., Kelly, P.J. & Ruiz-Janecko, Y. (2010) Community-based Health Interventions: Principles and Applications. San Francisco : Jossey-Bass

  • Schrecker, T. & Bambra, C. (2015). How Politics Makes Us Sick: Neoliberal Epidemics. Basingstoke: Palgrave McMillan.

  • Navarro, V. & Muntaner, C. (2014). The Financial and Economic Crises and Their Impact on Health and Social Well-being. New York: Baywood.

  • Stiglitz, J. (2013). The Price of Inequality. New York: Penguin.

  • Rashbrooke, M. (ed.). (2013). Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis. Wellington: Bridget Williams.

  • Nelson, G. & Prilleltensky, I. (eds.) (2010) Community Psychology: In Pursuit of Liberation and Well-being. New York, Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Douglas, J. (2010) A Reader in Promoting Public Health: Challenge & Controversy. London: Sage.

  • Hodgetts, D., Drew, N., Sonn, C., Stolte, O., Nikora, N. & Curtis, C. (2010) Social Psychology and Everyday Life. Basingstoke: Palgrave/MacMillian.

  • Ruger, J.P. (2010) Health and Social Justice. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Wilkinson, R. & Pickett, K. (2009) The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better. London: Allen Lane.

  • Lloyd, C.E., Jones, L.C., Douglas, J., Earle, S., Spurr, S. & Handsley, S. (eds.) (2009) A Reader in Promoting Public Health: Challenge and Controversy. London: Sage.

  • Radley, A. (2009) Works of Illness: Narrative, Picturing and the Social Response to Serious Disease. London: Inkermen Press.

  • Cockerham, W.C. (2007) Social Causes of Health and Disease. Cambridge: Polity.

  • Lyons, A. & Chamberlain, K. (2006) Health Psychology: A Critical Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University.

  • Marmot, M. & Wilkinson, R. (eds.) (2006) Social Determinants of Health. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Marmot, M. (2004) The Status Syndrome: How Social Standing Affects our Health and Longevity. Times Books/Henry Holt.

  • Campbell, C. (2003) ‘Letting Them Die’: Why HIV/AIDS Prevention Programmes Fail. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

  • Easterling, D., Gallagher, K., & Lodwick, D. (eds.) (2003) Promoting Health at a Community Level. London: Sage.

  • Hofrichter, R. (ed.) (2003) Health & Social Justice. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

  • Scambler, G. (2002) Health and Social Change: A Critical Reader. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Relevant Journals:

  • Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
  • Critical Public Health
  • Health
  • Health and Place
  • Health and Psychology
  • Journal of Health Psychology
  • Journal of Community Psychology
  • Journal of Occupational Health Psychology
  • Sociology of Health and Illness
  • Social Science and Medicine
  • Qualitative Health Research
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Online Support

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This paper has a moodle page with course readings, resources, links to youtube clips, a news forum and a discussion forum for students enrolled in the paper.
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For a typical student in a 15 point graduate paper (offered over one semester) is approximately 10 hours per week, including class contact time. These figures are only approximations, as papers vary in their requirements and students vary in both the amount of effort required and the level of grades they wish to achieve.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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PSYC582 is linked to other graduate psychology papers in the community, cultural and clinical areas, and in particular PSYC511, PSYC518, PSYC575, and PSYC583. This paper is also closely linked to papers in related disciplines including Human Development and Counselling, Maori Development, Sociology, Social Work, Human Geography, Demography, Pacific Studies, Anthropology and Social Policy.

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