PSYCH582-21X (BLK)

Community Health Psychology

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Psychology


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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. The workshops, discussions, lectures, student-led sessions and site visits, will cover 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 trimester starts and one during the B trmester recess.

Students are are advised to attend the block classes. If they cannot attend, then there will be online materials for them to work through by themselves. Outside of the block course dates students need to do reading, complete 2 online quizzes and work on their presentation and essay. Students who take responsibility for their own learning tend to do better in this course. This can include active participation, completing readings, supporting other students in the class, and actively seeking additional information about topics of interest. The assessments, especially the presentation and essay, require a much greater level of engagement and thus cannot be rushed. Students are advised to start on the assessments early on in the semester, and to seek assistance from the subject Librarian and from Student Learning.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper 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 understanding 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 (5% for each quiz = 10% total)

There will be a short online quiz after each Block based on the readings and content covered in sessions. Each quiz has 10 questions and will be worth 5%. Students 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 (20%)

This is an individual assignment. Time allocated is up to 10 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 that 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 well-being.

Please bring a USB with your PowerPoint presentation 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 report that they are nervous before making a presentation, so it is normal to feel 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 you 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 you can explain succinctly, 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. 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 practice 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 at Block 2 (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. You do not need to provide a full reference list, but do try to demonstrate that you have started researching the topic and give the marker a sense of the academic literature you might draw on.

4. Essay - full essay is due Monday 18 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 from a community health psychology (CHP) perspective. The assignment requires you to review literature (relevant to your chosen topic) on the type of work undertaken by social scientists working in community health psychology, and related areas such as public health, social policy, Maori and indigenous studies, education and sociology. Consideration should be given to the contexts, norms, values and ideologies that surround the health issue, and how these impact on the formation and focus of community research and interventions. Remember that your essay needs to have an argument that ties the different parts together and that this argument must relate to issues, concepts and ideas that are relevant to PSYCH582. In this essay you do want to demonstrate how a CHP perspective can extend our analyses of issues in psychology.


  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 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 health psychology theories 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.

Points to remember as you write:

Write in a form that is accessible for your intended audience. Simple language and sentence construction are important. It will be helpful to start with a statement of the issue you are considering. Your essay needs to draw on academic scholarship, but make sure that your essay is not a list of studies. You cannot cover everything written on a topic, so will need to summarise and make decisions on what to put in and leave out. Your essay also needs a clear structure and a narrative flow to guide your reader.

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 paper 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 be consistent in the use the APA or another referencing system; please see the School’s ‘General Guide for Psychology Students’. The library has resources and tutorials for referencing and for 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.

  • 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 for most students. Even if you think you can write well, Student Learning can help you plan your essay and help you to improve your writing – this can be a vital skill in the job market and in graduate study. You can access the Student Learning service in person, by email or view their website

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. 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 100:0 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 overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Quiz 1
25 Jul 2021
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Quiz 2
12 Sep 2021
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Student presentations
23 Aug 2021
No set time
  • Presentation: In Class
4. Essay outline
23 Aug 2021
5:00 PM
  • Email: Convenor
5. Essay
18 Oct 2021
5:00 PM
  • Email: Convenor
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
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, 323-333.

Howarth, C., Campbell, C., Cornish, F., Franks, B., Garcia-Lorenzo, L., Gillespie, A.,…. Tennant, C. (2013). Insights from societal psychology: A contextual politics of societal change. Journal of Social & Political Psychology, 1(1), 364-384.

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 (pp.109-123). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wilkinson, R. & Pickett, K.E. (2017). The enemy between us: The psychological and social costs of inequality. European Journal of Social Psychology, 47, 11-24.

Hodgetts, D. & Stolte, O. (2017). Preface & Chapter 1: Introduction. In D. Hodgetts & O. Stolte, Urban poverty & health inequalities: A relational approach (pp. xii-xvi & 1-20). London/New York: Routledge.

Hodgetts, D., Stolte, O., & Rua, M. (2016). Psychological practice, social determinants of health and the promotion of human flourishing. In W. Waitoki, J.S. Feather, N.R. Robertson, & J.J. Rucklidge (Eds.), Professional practice of psychology (3rd ed., pp.425-436). Wellington, New Zealand: The New Zealand Psychological Society.

Block 2

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

Labonte, R. & Stuckler, D. (2016). The rise of neoliberalism: How bad economics imperils health and what to do about it. Journal of Epidemiological Community Health, 70, 312-318.

Baum, F. & Fisher, M. (2014). Why behavioural health promotion endures despite its failure to reduce health inequalities. Sociology of Health & Illness, 36(2), 213-225.

Schor, J. & Thompson, C. (2014). Introduction: Practicing plenitude. In J. Schor & C. Thompson (Eds.), Sustainable lifestyles and the quest for plenitude (pp.1-25). New Haven/London: Yale University Press.

TBC - possibly two more readings

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Recommended Readings

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Birn, A, Pillay, Y. & Holtz, T. (2017). Textbook of global health (4th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.

Campbell, C. (2003).‘Letting them die’: Why HIV/AIDS prevention programmes fail. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Campbell, C. (2015). Health psychology and community action. In M. Murray (Ed.), Critical Health Psychology (pp.254-274). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Cockerham, W.C. (2007). Social causes of health and disease. Cambridge: Polity.

Cromby, J., Harper, D. & Reavey, P. (2013). Psychology, mental health and distress. Basingstoke: Palgrave/MacMillian.

Douglas, J. & Lloyd, C.E. (2009). A reader in promoting public health: Challenge and controversy. London: Sage.

Easterling, D., Gallagher, K., & Lodwick, D. (Eds.) (2003). Promoting health at a community level. London: Sage.

Groot, S., Van Ommen. C., Masters Awatere, B. & Tassell-Matamua, N. (Eds.). Precarity: Uncertain, insecure and unequal lives in Aotearoa New Zealand. Palmerston North: Massey University Press.

Guttmacher, S., Kelly, P.J. & Ruiz-Janecko, Y. (2010). Community-based health interventions: Principles and applications. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Hammack P.L. (Ed.) (2018). The Oxford Handbook of Social Psychology and Social Justice (pp. 3-39). Oxford: Oxford.

Hodgetts, D. & Stolte, O. (2017). Urban poverty and health inequalities: A relational approach. Critical Health Psychology Series. London/New York: Routledge.

Hodgetts, D., Drew, N., Sonn, C., Stolte, O., Nikora, N. & Curtis, C. (2010). Social psychology and everyday life. Basingstoke: Palgrave/MacMillian.

Hofrichter, R. (Ed.) (2003). Health & social justice. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Li, W., Hodgetts, D. & Foo, K.H. (Eds.) (2019). Asia-Pacific perspectives on intercultural psychology. London: Routledge.

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. (2007). The status syndrome: How social standing affects our health and longevity. New York: Henry Holt.

McGrath, L. & Reavy, P. (Eds.) (2019). Mental health & space: Clinical and community applications. London/New York: Routledge.

Navarro, V. & Muntaner, C. (2014). The financial and economic crises and their impact on health and social well-being. New York: Baywood.

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

Rashbrooke, M. (Ed.). (2013). Inequality: A New Zealand crisis. Wellington: Bridget Williams.

Ratcliff, K.S. (2017). The social determinants of health: Looking upstream. Cambridge: Polity.

Ruger, J.P. (2010). Health and social justice. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.

Scambler, G. (2002). Health and social change: A critical reader. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Schrecker, T. & Bambra, C. (2015). How politics makes us sick. London/New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Smith, K.E., Hill, S. & Bambra, C. (2016). Health inequalities: Critical perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Stiglitz, J. (2013). The price of inequality. New York: Penguin.

Wilkinson, R. & Pickett, K. (2009). The spirit level: Why more equal societies almost always do better. London: Allen Lane.

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Online Support

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This paper has a moodle page with course readings, online resources, links to youtube clips, workshop notes, 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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PSYCH582 is linked to other graduate psychology papers in the community, indigenous, kaupapa Māori, and clinical areas, and in particular PSYCH511, PSYHC513, PSYCH518, PSYCH575, and PSYCH583. This paper is also linked to papers in related disciplines including Human Development and Counselling, Health, Community Health, Māori and Indigenous Studies, Social Policy, Sociology, Social Work, Demography, Human Geography and Anthropology.

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Restricted papers: PSYC514, PSYC582

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