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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PSYC3543 Biopsychosocial Issues in Ageing

15 creditsClass Size: 70

Module manager: Dr Rachel Coats

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Pre-requisite qualifications

Successful completion of all pass for progression modules in Level 2 of: BSc Psychology or MPsyc, BSc Advanced Psychology or BA Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Thought (and its International and Industrial variants)

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module examines a number of key issues facing people as they grow older, taking a biopsychosocial approach. We will discuss changing physical and sensory capabilities, health and functioning and what this means for longevity, and how all these impact cognitive performance (e.g. memory and attention). Mental health, social care (including the environment in which you grow old) and coping with death and bereavement will provide a more psychosocial perspective. Finally we will discuss working with older people and some of the challenges and rewards this offers. Students will be exposed to a broad understanding of the Psychology of Aging and the wide variety of challenges we might face growing old.


Students will develop a detailed understanding of the issues and challenges faced by older adults from a biopsychosocial perspective. Aging will be examined not just from a cognitive perspective (as is often the case), but from a wider viewpoint, encompassing numerous different areas of life. Physical and mental health will be examined in detail, along with the interplay between changes in different areas of life, and how we might promote successful aging.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of the challenges faced by older adults and how these interact to effect quality of life
2. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the biological, psychological and social challenges that occur with age, and the ramifications of these for behaviour.
3. Critically evaluate a case study of an individual to determine key challenges and the current social/political context in which they face them
4. Discuss evidenced-based potential solutions for issues relating to aging
5. Critically and independently evaluate journal articles

Skills outcomes
- Students will have the opportunity to develop skills in the selection, evaluation and application of published research relating to aging
- Students will gain an appreciation for the ways in which wider policy and health service initiatives impact upon the delivery of interventions for older adults


Across the lectures the following topics will be covered:
1. Introduction to aging and the issues faced by older adults
2. Physical and Sensory changes
3. Longevity, health and functioning
4. Memory and Attention
5. Health and Social Care
6. Mental Health
7. Death and Dying
8. Working with Older Adults and Revision

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Drop-in Session11.001.00
Independent online learning hours132.00
Private study hours0.00
Total Contact hours18.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Private Study and Independent Learning - Detail private study and independent learning outside formal classes as a guide to students about what is expected from them for the module
Students will have 132 private study hours. It is envisaged that this time will be spent as follows:
Reading for each lecture: 8 x 5 hours 40 hours
Preparation for the tutorial: 17 hours
Revision and practice exam questions 17 hours
Independent literature searches and reading 58 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

In week 7, students will be offered the opportunity to complete an in-course MCQ test. This will provide students with questions pertaining to the material covered in lectures, enabling them to assess their own knowledge of the information taught in the lectures and recommended reading. This will be graded and feedback on performance will be provided to students. Completion of this will be optional.
Students will also receive feedback from peers during the tutorials.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course MCQMCQ0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)0.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment2 hr 00 mins100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

Students will be given a case study of an individual and asked to answer 3 questions relating to it. These will involve students outlining and categorising the issues faced by the older adult, discussing the avenues they might pursue to alleviate them using evidence from research, and evaluating how the current social and political context could affect possible solutions. At least 4 of the 6 lecture topics will be alluded to in the case study meaning that students will be required to bring in most of the material they have been exposed to over the course of the module to achieve a high mark.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/06/2021 15:21:45


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