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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Psychology, Illness and Disability
Module Code PSYC307
School 37
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Aoife McNicholl
Semester 2: Aoife McNicholl
Autumn: Aoife McNicholl
Module TeachersPamela Gallagher
Aoife McNicholl
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

To enable students to discuss the ways in which psychology can contribute to their understanding of disability and illness.

Learning Outcomes

1. Critique differing explanations and models of illness and disability
2. Examine the role of personal and social issues on the impact and experience of illness and disability
3. Discuss the role of the body in illness and disability
4. Appraise the insider perspective on illness and disability as discussed in first person narratives and autobiographies
5. Critically evaluate the role of interventions in improving well being in relation to illness and disability
6. Identify real life examples and applications of psychological principles in illness and disability

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture12Indicative Syllabus
Seminars8Student led seminars of first person narrative
Assignment Completion60Preparation of first person narrative presentation and essay.
Independent Study20Self-directed reading
Assignment Completion25Creation of wiki page on chosen topic, contribution to wiki discussions, participation/engagement with class activities each week and guest lecture
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Definitions, models and frameworks of disability (e.g. biomedical model, social model of disability, International Classification of Functioning and Health)

Psychological adjustment to and coping with illness and disability

Quality of life and the personal impact of Illness and disability

Embodiment and disability

Sexuality, illness and disability

The emotional effects of living in a disabling world

Family Issues in Illness and Disability (family functioning, parental illness, child illness)

Interventions (peer counselling, psychotherapeutic approaches, technology)

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
EssayApplying psychological principles to first person narratives60%n/a
PresentationPresentation of first person narrative20%n/a
AssignmentCreation of wiki page Participation in class activities each week, contribution to wiki discussion and engagement with guest lecture20%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Martz, E. & Livneh, H. (Eds.): 2007, Coping with Chronic Illness and Disability, Springer, New York, 978-0387486680
  • Byrne, J.: 2006, If It Were Just Cancer: A Battle for Dignity and Life, Veritas, Dublin, 978-1853909795
  • Cole, J.: 2004, Still Lives: Narratives of Spinal Cord Injury, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachussetts, 978-0262532846
  • Dell Orto, A. E. & Power, P. W. (Eds): 2007, The Psychological and Social Impact of Illness and Disability, Springer, New York, 978-0826102447
  • Fitzmaurice, R: 2017, I Found My Tribe, Vintage, Ireland,
  • Fitzmaurice, S.: 2014, It's not yet dark, Hodder Headline, Dublin, Ireland,
  • Goodley, D. & Lawthom, R. (Eds): 2006, Disability and Psychology: Critical Introductions and Reflections, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, Hampshire, 978-1403936011
  • Higashida, N.: 2013, The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism., Random House, New York,
  • Hoge, R.: 2013, Ugly, Random House, New York,
  • MacLachlan, M.: 2004, Embodiment: Clinical, Critical and Cultural Perspectives, Open University Press, Milton Keynes, 978-0335209590
  • MacLachlan, M. & Gallagher, P. (Eds.): 2004, Enabling Technologies: Body Image and Body Function, Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh, 978-0443072475
  • Phelan, V: 2019, Overcoming, Hachette Books, Ireland,
  • Swain, J., French S., Barnes, C., & Thomas, C. (Eds.): 2013, Disabling Barriers, Enabling Environments, Sage, London,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
BPYBSc (Honours) in Psychology

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