Stress and Health from a Life Course Perspective

Course content

This elective course in oriented towards students who would like to expand their knowledge regarding the role of psychosocial factors in health. The course brings together the disciplines of psychology, neurophysiology and epidemiology to familiarized students with the latest work on stress in childhood, adulthood and older age. The goal of the course is to introduce basic theoretical concepts underlying stress and health research and review empirical evidence regarding the role of stress in health across the life span. The course will cover such topics as poverty, traumatic life events in childhood and adult life, work and family stress and their effects on morbidity and mortality. In addition, factors that may protect individuals from negative effects of stress will be discussed.

Education

MSc in Public Health Science

Learning outcome

 

After completing the course, the students are expected to be able to:

Knowledge

  • Understand major theories underlying stress and health research.
  • Reflect upon various measures and types of stress throughout the life course.
  • Understand the basics of neurophysiological stress response (e.g. the role of the central and autonomic nervous system and the neuroendocrine system).
  • Understand empirical findings regarding the role of stress in health and ageing.
  • Name and discuss some of the protective factors that make individuals less vulnerable to stress.
  • Reflect upon the significance of stress for public health.

 

Skills

  • Find relevant research articles on health consequences of stress.
  • Critically evaluate existing research on health consequences of stress.
  • Assess to what extent the existing evidence confirms theories regarding stress and health.

 

Competence

  • identify gaps in current knowledge regarding consequences of stress and identify possible future directions.
  • Propose a study design that will adress one or more limitations of existing research on stress and health.

The course combines lectures and seminars in which students will have an opportunity to discuss and criticize research articles.

Experience reading and understanding scientific articles in public health, epidemiology, psychology or related field.

BA in public health, epidemiology, psychology or related discipline.

ECTS
5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Course paper to work on throughout the course.
Aid
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
one internal examiner
Criteria for exam assessment

Evaluation will be based on a course paper. Students will be required to identify a research article within the area of stress and health and write a paper about it. In their papers the students will be asked to:
- discuss how the article relates to major theories of stress and health,
- describe and critically assess the methods used in the article,
- identify the limitations of research described in the article,
- propose ways to address those limitations, and
- discuss the relevance of research described in the article for public health.

To pass the exam, the students are expected to be able to:

Knowledge

  • Demonstrate the understanding of major theories underlying stress and health research.
  • Reflect upon various measures and types of stress throughout the life course.
  • Reflect upon the significance of stress for public health.

 

Skills

  • Find relevant research articles on health consequences of stress.
  • Crtitically evaluate existing research on health consequences of stress.
  • Assess to what extent the existing evidence confirms theories regarding stress and health.

 

Competence

  • Propose a study design that will address one or more limitations of existing research on stress and health.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 20
  • Exam
  • 20
  • Preparation
  • 98
  • English
  • 138