Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: 202200076
Coping with Disease in a Digital Era
Course infoSchedule
Course module202200076
Credits (ECTS)5
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Contact persondr. C.H.C. Drossaert
dr. C. Bode
dr. C.H.C. Drossaert
Contactperson for the course
dr. C.H.C. Drossaert
G. Schaap
Academic year2022
Starting block
Application procedureYou apply via OSIRIS Student
Registration using OSIRISYes
After successful completion of this course, the student:
  •  is able to describe and explain and apply the role of psychological theories and processes in:  [1] the experience of and adaptation to (chronic) illness (e.g. stress, coping, illness cognitions, stigma, social support),  [2] disease-related behaviours (e.g. help-seeking, adherence to treatment, self-management).
  • is able to describe how technological/ digital innovations may impact the care process and the patients’ illness journey
  • has some knowledge about the organization of care (structure, financing, relevant stakeholders, etc)  in the Netherlands or in his/her own country of origin. 
  • is able to describe the main psychological processes related to caring for people with (chronic) health problems, including patient-provider interaction and informal caregiving.
  • is able to describe normal development and developmental tasks for all life phases and understands how a person’s phase in the life span may influence adaptation to disease and the effectiveness of interventions.
  • is able to find existing psychological interventions, including technical innovations,  for patients with chronic or life-threatening conditions, describe these in an understandable and inspiring way, and to relate them to the different phases of the “patient journey” and to the different phases in the lifespan.
  • has basic knowledge (about prevalence, cause, symptoms, course and consequences for quality of life) of a number of different life threatening and chronic diseases.
  • is able to critically evaluate an existing intervention and an evaluation study of a psychological intervention.
  • is able to prepare and lead a discussion with fellow students, and to critically reflect upon his/her own professional skills in this respect.

In what way does this master’s course prepare students for the Psychology work field?
In this course students learn about the structure of the health care system in the Netherlands. They get acquainted with the organization, financing and legislation of health care, and about recent developments, including technological innovations and a switch to more value based care, that have changed the work field. One or two guest speakers are invited to tell students about their work as a psychologist in a health care organization and the projects they are working on. Students learn to describe the prevalence, risk factors, symptoms, course and impact on quality of life of some of the most common somatic diseases and are challenged to retrieve and discuss some of the psychological interventions that currently exist for patients with these diseases. Students become aware of the impact of the life phase for living with chronic illness from the perspective of patients and also professionals. These differentiated perspectives help in the work field to adapt to various target groups. In the professional skills component students learn how to prepare, lead and wrap up a discussion with fellow students about a theme related to coping with disease.  For health psychologists who often have to organize support for health activities in very different settings, these professional leadership skills reflect very important qualities. Reflection on the course of the discussion, students own role in this and identifying the next steps in their professional development are part of the professional skills component
In this course you will gain in-depth knowledge about the interaction between mental and physical processes in people with somatic disorders. Topics are related to the patient’s “lllness journey” and include: symptom interpretation and help-seeking behaviour, coping with the stress of becoming ill, patient-provider communication, adherence to treatment and self-management, informal caregiving and terminal (or palliative) care. You will learn to identify potential (digital or mobile) psychological interventions in the care process for a particular disease, and you will study several current interventions that have been the subject of scientific study.

In addition, you will learn about developmental stages from a life span perspective and will discover the impact of illness for patients in different phases of their life. You will learn to become sensitized for age appropriate approaches and interventions.

In a small group you will prepare a presentation about the psychological aspects of one particular chronic disease (e.g. diabetes, stroke, HIV, dementia, cancer) and review a recent article about a psychological intervention (e.g., self-management training or tools, computerized decision aid, motivational interviewing, mindfulness, music therapy).

In the professional skills part in this course you will learn how to prepare and lead a discussion with your fellow students about a topic related to the topic odf ‘coping with disease in a digital era’ and how to reflect on your behaviour related to this task.

The course contents are illustrated by ongoing research from the Centre for eHealth & Wellbeing Research at the Department of PHT on adaptation to chronic somatic diseases, patient empowerment and patient-provider interaction.
Assumed previous knowledge
Bachelor or pre-master Psychology UT
Participating study
Master Psychology
Required materials
Morrison, V. & Bennett, P. (2016). An introduction to health psychology (4th ed.). Harlow, UK: Pearson Education Limited. ISBN: 978-1292003139
online available articles
Recommended materials
Instructional modes
Presence dutyYes

Presence dutyYes

Exam and presentations

Kies de Nederlandse taal