Health psychology

Gain an insight into the behaviours and attitudes that put health at risk and how to change these behaviours to promote better health.

The mind and the body are intricately linked. Health Psychology aims to understand how we think and behave and how these factors interact with the physical systems of our body.

It explores human behaviour and the underlying attitudes that put health at risk, and then considers how people might change these behaviours to prevent illness and promote better health.

Health Psychology can be applied in many contexts and areas such as pain management, rehabilitation and smoking cessation. This results in better outcomes not just for the person but for healthcare systems and the community as well.

Where Health Psychology graduates work

  • District health boards (DHBs)
  • Public health organisations (PHOs)
  • Government agencies
  • Community services
  • Universities

Skills Health Psychology students develop

  • Critical thinking and conceptual skills
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Multi-disciplinary approach
  • Research
  • Self-motivation
  • Problem solving
  • Analytical and technical skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Planning and organisation


The following is a sample of job titles relevant to undergraduates:

  • Case leader—residential services
  • Youth worker
  • Health researcher
  • Health promotor
  • Case manager
  • Behavioural specialist
  • Wellbeing adviser/counsellor
  • Health psychologist (requires postgraduate study)