Health Psychology & Technology

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Study the relationship between health, body, mind, and behaviour in order to promote healthier lifestyles and support people coping with diseases.

How can you encourage people to quit smoking? Or to sunbathe responsibly? What are the opportunities of (new) technologies like Fitbit and health apps in stimulating people to exercise more? But also: how can you support patients – and their caregivers – dealing with the psychological challenges of chronic diseases (e.g. cancer or dementia), such as fatigue, pain, depression, or anxiety? In the specialisation in Health Psychology & Technology, you will use an in-depth understanding of (social) psychology and explore the opportunities provided by technological innovations to promote healthier lifestyles or to help people cope with diseases.

In today’s society, in which citizens are increasingly expected to take responsibility for their own lives and well-being, it is important to help people take control of their health. That is what this specialisation is all about.,

Dr. Stans Drossaert, Associate Professor and coordinator of the specialisation in Health Psychology & Technology.

What to expect?

Within this specialisation, you will study the relationship between health and human emotions, cognitions, and behaviour. How does an illness influence psychological processing and well-being? And how do people make (un)healthy decisions? You will explore several behaviour change techniques, including theories about motivation and self-regulation, but also implicit techniques that deal with unconscious awareness. Moreover, you will research determinants of health and (socio-economic) health differences between various population groups. What makes certain people more susceptible to unhealthy behaviour? And how can you turn this around?

Examples of courses you (can) follow during this specialisation:
  • How can you tackle health issues such as obesity, addictions, sexually transmitted diseases, or smoking? During the course Health Promotion, you will plan and design an academically substantiated (eHealth) intervention for a specific target group in our society, aiming to stimulate healthy behaviour.
  • The course Coping with Disease in a Digital Era teaches you about the psychological processes involved in experiencing and adapting to (chronic) illnesses and disease-related behaviours, such as help seeking or self-management. You will research what it takes to cope with diseases in every phase of the ‘patient journey’, from the first diagnosis to palliative care.
  • In the course Design of Persuasive Health Technology, you will gain insights into possibilities of the newest technologies to promote health and wellbeing, such as virtual reality or serious games. You will work together with students of the Master’s in Creative Technology in creating a persuasive health technology intervention.

This specialisation pays special attention to the role of technology within health psychology. You will study how technological interventions can be applied for improving health or adaptation to disease. For example, you might research how Virtual Reality can help distract patients from the pain when undergoing a certain treatment. Or you could evaluate the effectiveness of eHealth apps, such as mindfulness apps or calorie counters. You will gain the knowledge and skills needed to be a health psychology professional in today’s digitalised world.

What will you learn?

As a graduate of this Master's and this specialisation, you have acquired specific, scientific knowledge, skills and values, which you can put to good use in your future job.

  • Knowledge

    After completing this Master’s specialisation, you:

    • have solid knowledge and understanding of contemporary theories about determinants of health, behaviour change techniques and about how illness may affect psychological, social and spiritual well-being;
    • have a broad knowledge of existing, relevant (eHealth) technologies, including their opportunities and challenges, and are able to describe how eHealth has changed healthcare;
    • know advanced, contemporary research methods to either develop or evaluate health-promoting interventions or to conduct scientific research to better understand health, behaviour and well-being (such as Ecological Momentary Assessment, log data analysis, mixed-method studies and data mining).
  • Skills

    After successfully finishing this Master’s specialisation, you:

    • can design and realise health-promoting interventions, based on theoretical insights, empirical evidence and users’ wishes;
    • can evaluate existing interventions and conduct scientifically sound studies to understand or to test assumptions about health, behaviour and well-being;
    • are able to work in an interdisciplinary context, communicate with different stakeholders, take a leadership role and reflect on your own professional development.
  • Values

    After completing this Master’s specialisation, you:

    • have the aim to understand health-related behaviour and well-being, and to promote health, autonomy, and well-being of all citizens;
    • have a positive, though critical attitude towards technological innovations (eHealth) and their added value to society;
    • have developed your own unique identity as a Health Psychologist.

Other master’s and specialisations

Is this specialisation not exactly what you are looking for? Maybe one of the other specialisations suits you better. Or find out more about these other master's:

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