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Research Topics in Health Promotion


Entry requirements

MSc Psychology (research) students with specialisation Clinical and Health Psychology.


In this course, 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?’ and ‘why are good intentions not enough to change behaviour? Students will reflect on one main theoretical construct of their interest, how it is embedded in theory, the proposed underlying working mechanisms, and the empirical findings from previous research on the construct. Based on these analyses students will determine what the next step should be to increase knowledge on the construct, and formulate a new research question and study design. They will then design and pilot-test a questionnaire as a measurement instrument.

Course objectives

After the course students:

  • Have a basic understanding of some of the theories and key constructs within the field of health behaviour (change);

  • Have basic knowledge and experience with regard to the operationalization and assessment of theoretical concepts in the field of health promotion.

  • Understand some of the promises and pitfalls of questionnaire design.


For the timetables of your lectures, work groups and exams, please select your study programme in:
Psychology timetables



Students need to enroll for lectures and work group sessions.
Master’s course registration


Students are not automatically enrolled for an examination. They can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the date. Students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination.
Registering for exams

Mode of instruction

The course will consist of 3 seminars (theories of behavioural change, reading scientific literature, and designing questionnaires), and 8 workgroups (7 × 2hours, 1 × 4 hours)

Assessment method

  • Attendance during sessions (full attendance is mandatory)

  • Active participation

  • Peer reviews

  • Presentations

  • 7 assignments

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has instituted that instructors use a software programme for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. In case of fraud disciplinary actions will be taken. Please see the information concerning fraud.

Reading list

  • Michie, S. F., West, R., Campbell, R., Brown, J., & Gainforth, H. (2014). ABC of Behaviour Change Theories. To be obtained via:

  • Additional mandatory reading will be posted on Blackboard. It may include amongst others:

  • Gebhardt WA & Maes S (2001). Integrating social-psychological frameworks for health behaviour research. American Journal of Health Behavior, 25, 528-536.

  • Boynton, P.M. (2004). Hands-on guide to questionnaire research: Administering, analyzing, and reporting your questionnaire. British Medical Journal, 328, 1372-1375.

  • Boynton, P.M & Greenhaigh, T. (2004). Selecting, designing, and developing your questionnaire. British Medical Journal, 2004, 328, 1312-1315.

  • Bowling, A. (2005). Mode of questionnaire administration can have serious effects on data quality. Journal of Public Health, 27(2), 281-291.

  • Francis, J.J. et al. (2004). Constructing questionnaires based on the theory of planned behaivor: A manual for health services researchers. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Centre for Health Services Research.

  • Stehr-Green, P.A., Stehr-Green, J.K. & Nelson, A. (2005). Focus on field epidemiology: Developing a questionnaire, 2(2), 1-

Contact information

Dr. Winnie Gebhardt