nl en

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention


Admission requirements

Master’s students in Psychology specialisation Health Psychology


In this course, students will be taught how to design and implement an intervention program to promote health behaviour. Cases will be presented on prevention in various contexts, such as the work site, community settings, schools and hospitals. During the four lectures, students will be presented with the most recent insights into theory- and evidence-based health promotion. A systematic approach to the design and implementation of effective interventions will be introduced. Theories on the determinants of health behaviour and on the processes of behavioural change will be addressed, including issues such as why do people endanger their health? or why are good intentions not enough to change behaviour?

During the practical sessions, students will work in groups to design an intervention aimed at improving health by preventing the onset and/or continuation of health-compromising behaviours (e.g., smoking, alcohol abuse, snacking) or by encouraging health-enhancing behaviours (e.g., exercise, fruit and vegetable consumption). Students will perform a literature search to establish a state-of-the-art summary of the relationship between (changes in) this behaviour and relevant health outcomes. They will then design an intervention model including the determinants of the behavior, based on theoretical and empirical considerations. Following this, they will work on the design of an intervention program, which is directed at a specific target group. In a final step, they will implement and evaluate part of the intervention in a real-life situation.

Course objectives

  • Have an understanding of planned intervention development

  • Have experience with the application of theory and evidence with respect to understanding and changing health behaviour

  • Have experience with the practical aspects of conducting an intervention

  • Are able to recognize the promises and pitfalls of intervention development


Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (2013-2014):

Mode of instruction

During the seven weeks of the course the whole process of intervention planning will be introduced and illustrated. Students will learn how to systematically design and implement an intervention.

  • Week 1: Problem-analysis

  • Week 2: Determinants of behaviour

  • Week 3: Methods of change

  • Week 4: Intervention program

  • Week 5+6: Developing a program component

  • Week 7: Conducting a program component

  • Week 9: Evaluation

  • Week 10: Individual assignment

Assessment method

  • Attendance during sessions (full attendance is mandatory)

  • Group assignments

  • Active participation

  • Individual assignment

From January 1, 2006 the Faculty of Social Sciences has instituted the Ephorus system to be used by instructors for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. Please see the information concerning fraud .


Information on

Reading list

  • Course Reader

  • Bartholomew, L.K., Parcel, G.S., Kok, G., Gottlieb, N. & M.E. Fernandez (2011). Planning Health Promotion Programs. An Intervention Mapping Approach. 3rd revised edition. Jossey-Bass


Course enrolment

Students need to enrol for the course via uSis on the master’s introduction and course enrolment day that takes place at the start of each semester. Please, consult the master’s agenda Psychology.

Contact information

Dr. Winnie Gebhardt
room 2B29a 071-5274084