Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
OfferedClayton First semester 2012 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Nikos Thomacos


This unit examines psychological factors affecting health and health care treatment throughout the various stages of life. Nutrition knowledge gained in other units of the course will be supplemented by introducing the broader context of how people's psychological needs may influence eating behaviour and responses to health related dietary change. A developmental framework will be used to consider establishment of normal feeding and eating behaviours and development of feeding problems and eating disorders. A major emphasis in the unit will be on psychological aspects of acute and chronic illnesses and psychological processes within the family that may affect interventions.


At the completion of the unit students will have an understanding of the psychological factors and cultural issues associated with:

  1. feeding in infancy and development of the infant-parent relationship;

  1. normal child development and presentation of eating problems in children under 5;

  1. eating problems in prepubescent children;

  1. adolescent eating problems;

  1. eating problems in adulthood and the relationship of early eating problems to more serious eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia and obesity;

  1. chronic illness and trauma;

  1. renal, gastrointestinal disease, diabetes and cardiovascular disease;

  1. students will learn to apply the knowledge they have gained in direct interactions with patients from differing ages across the life span; and

  1. to reinforce links between theory and practice through practical exercises and discussions of observations made at clinical settings.


Examination (2 hours): 50%
Essay (1,500 words): 30%
Practical Behaviour Change Reports(2): 20%

Chief examiner(s)


Contact hours

3 hours per week (lectures and tutorials)


Completion of Year 1 Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics


Must be enrolled in the Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics