PS418      Half Unit
Health Communication

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Catherine Campbell QUE.3.08


This course is available on the MSc in Gender, Development and Globalisation, MSc in Gender, Policy and Inequalities, MSc in Health, Community and Development, MSc in Media, Communication and Development, MSc in Organisational and Social Psychology, MSc in Population and Development, MSc in Social Research Methods, MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology and MSc in Social and Public Communication. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The application of social psychology to the challenges of health communication in its social context. Communicating about health and well-being (physical, mental and social), viewing the individual (i) as a bio-psycho-social system, (ii) located within workplaces/communities/local and global cultures/unequal power hierarchies, (iii) often in rapidly changing social settings. Theoretical debates about determinants of health-related behaviours, the nature of health communication, and the processes through which communication impacts on health. Contributions of sociology, anthropology and media studies to social psychological understandings of health and communication. Implications of these debates for health promotion campaigns and policies (information-based campaigns, social development approaches, public health policy). Doctor-patient relations. Patient care in hospital settings. Mental ill-health and psychotherapy. Patient movements. Mediated health communication (edutainment, citizen journalism, blogging). The internet and health. Communication for social development. Community participation, dialogue and alliances. Communication via visual images. Gender, empowerment and social change. Local and global health advocacy. International social movements and networks.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 piece of coursework in the LT.

Indicative reading

.Beckett, C (2008) Supermedia: saving journalism so it can save the world. Oxford: Blackwell.

Berry, Dianne (2007) Health Communication: theory and practice. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Crossley M (2000) Rethinking health psychology. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Harcourt, W (2009) Body politics in Development. Zed.

Hofrichter, R (Ed.) (2003) Health and Social Justice: Politics, Ideology, and Inequality in the Distribution of Disease. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco.

Keck, M & Sikkink, K (1998) Activists beyond borders. London: Cornell University Press.Littlejohn S and Foss K (2005) Theories of Communication. Eighth Edition. Belmont CA: Wadsworth.

Moser, S, Dilling, L (Eds) Creating a climate for change: communicating climate change and facilitating social change. Cambridge University Press.Nettleton, S (1995) The sociology of health and illness. Oxford: Blackwell.

Petchesky, R (2003) Global prescriptions: gendering health and human rights. Zed.

Peterson, A & Lupton, D (1996) The New Public Health - Health and Self in the Age of Risk, Sage.

Radley, A (2009) Works of illness. Narrative, picturing and the social response to serious disease. InkerMen Press.

Seale, C, The Media and Health. Sage, 2002.

Servais, J (Ed) (2008) Communication for development and social change. Los Angeles: Sage.

Turshen, M (2007) Women’s health movements: a global force for change. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.

Tones K and Green J (2006) Health promotion: planning and strategies. London: Sage.



Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the LT.

Key facts

Department: Social Psychology

Total students 2014/15: 36

Average class size 2014/15: 18

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Lecture capture used 2014/15: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills