COM-30306 Health Promotion and Behavioural Change


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Literature study
Problem-based learning12
Lecturer(s)education coordinator
Examiner(s)dr. RJ Renes

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Introduction to Communication and Innovation Studies (English or Dutch version)


Health promotion aims to enable individuals and communities to increase control over, and to improve their health. Communication is an important strategy in achieving this aim. This course focuses on the most important definitions and principles derived from social psychology underlying effective health communication. The students will be introduced to relevant challenges and problems related to the aim of achieving efficient and effective communication in the area of health promotion. Key issues in the course will be the existing gap between intention and behavior, the role of 'willingness' and ; 'ability' in changing health behavior, how to tailor the (health) message, effectiveness of narrative health communication, and how to successfully integrate health behavior theories to create effective (mass-media) lifestyle campaigns.

Learning outcomes:

At the end of this course students will have:
- developed cumulative knowledge regarding health behavior theories;
- knowledge of the basic principles underlying effective health communication;
- knowledge of state of the art social psychological theories related to health communication;
- insight in possibilities and barriers to change health behaviour by means of communicative interventions;
- ability to evaluate and critically reflect on existing national lifestyle campaigns.


The course consists of literature study, lectures, discussiongroups, and home group assignments. For each lecture specific literature has to be studied. During the lectures the important concepts are explained and illustrated with practical exampels. Lectures and literature study encompass 80 hours. In addition to the lectures, students will work in group sessions on assignments in which they have to apply the theoretical notions in the analysis of a national lifestyle campaign, resulting in a critical reflection paper about the quality of a national lifestyle campaign. Groupwork encompasses an additional 88 hours.


- the group critical reflection paper on existing lifestyle campaign;
- written examination at the end of the course.


Participants study the literature provided in the reader. The reader is available at the secratariat of COM. For the groupwork participants have to search additional literature.

Compulsory for: BGMHealth and SocietyBSc5AF
Restricted Optional for: MNHNutrition and HealthMScA: Epidemiology and Public Health5AF