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Stress and Health

Code: 102594 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2502443 Psychology OT 4 1
The proposed teaching and assessment methodology that appear in the guide may be subject to changes as a result of the restrictions to face-to-face class attendance imposed by the health authorities.


Jordi Fernández Castro

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
catalan (cat)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:

Other comments on languages

Course materials and readings are mostly in spanish and/or english / Petitions of evidences 1 and 2 in spanish should be done


Guillermo Parra Lorenzo
Tatiana Rovira Faixa



Objectives and Contextualisation

The objectives of the course are:

Acquiring an expert knowledge on stress and its relationship with health.
Knowing how to identify contextual and individual triggers of the stress process.
Gaining skills for assessing stress and its impact on wellbeing and health.
Knowing how to classify different types of coping strategies, and analyze their efficency on different contexts.
Distinguishing which research method, among the ones used on stress field, suits to the research objective.
To develop skills on stress and emotions managment.
Having the ability to assess positive versus negative attitudes towards stress and health.


  • Apply techniques to collect and produce information about the functioning of individuals, groups and organisations in context.
  • Communicate efficiently, using the appropriate media (oral, written or audio-visual) taking into account diversity and all elements that may ease communication or make it more difficult.
  • Criticise the effects of personal practice on people, taking into account the complexity of human diversity.
  • Identify and recognise the different methods for assessment and diagnosis in the different areas applied to psychology.
  • Recognise the determinants and risk factors for health and also the interaction between people and their physical and social environment.
  • Use adequate tools for communication.
  • Work in a team.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply assessment techniques in health psychology.
  2. Criticise the effects of personal practice on people, taking into account the complexity of human diversity.
  3. Describe the models and contributions of biomedical and bio psychosocial perspectives to an understanding of health.
  4. Identify different assessment instruments and strategies in health psychology.
  5. Identify the main psychological determinants affecting the development of health problems and ways of tackling them.
  6. Recognise the basics of emotional communication.
  7. Use adequate tools for communication.
  8. Work in a team.


1. Stress: the concept.
Historical perspectives. Definition. Explicative models.

2. Stress models: contextual approach.
Prediction, control and conflict. Contextual models of work stress.

3. Stress models: transactional approach.
Primary and secondary appraisal. Coping strategies.

4. Why people react differently to stress?
Personality. Optimsim and personal competence. Social support.

5. Stress' influence on health and disease.
Physiological dynamics. Methodological designs. Stress and cardiovascular system. Stress and immunological system.

6. Stress and cognition.
Anxiety, depression and positive emotions. Attention, perception, memory and thinking.

7. Stress and wellbeing.
Quality of life. Postraumatic growth. Burnout.

8. Stress and emotions managment.
Relaxation techniques, breathing, imagination, and full's consioussness. Stress episodes analysis, commitments and values clarification, active coping and worry control. Personal growth and cognitive reestructuration. Problem solving.


The teaching methodology (group 1/1) will combine conferences and exercises that will help the students to integrate the acquired knowledge. Activities in classroom practical sessions (group 1/2) will be done to improve skills in the analysis and application of knowledge. Before each conference, and each classroom practical session, students will be required to do a previous reading and/or assignment to be worked in class.

In specialized seminar, topic 8 will be developed, simulating a stress management workshop with the students as participants. Between sessions, students will deliver exercises, where the content developed in the corresponding session should be applied to everyday life.

There is also a supervised group work. In this work, students must conduct an interview to someone experiencing a potentially stressful situation, and they will write a report analyzing the case and making specific recommendations. The preparation of the interview (profile of the person interviewed, interview guidelines...) will be guided through classroom indications and follow-up tutorials. Finally, some of the cases will be exposed and discussed in class.

N.B. The proposed teaching and assessment methodologies may experience some modifications as a result of the restrictions on face-to-face learning imposed by the health authorities. The teaching staff will use the Moodle classroom or the usual communication channel to specify whether the different directed and assessment activities are to be carried out on site or online, as instructed by the Faculty.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Activities and exercices (group 1/2) 8 0.32 3, 4, 5, 7
Conferences (group 1/1) 16 0.64 3, 4, 5
Stress managment seminars (group 1/4) 12 0.48 1, 2, 6
Type: Supervised      
Individual tutoring 2 0.08 3, 5
Tutoring group work 4 0.16 5, 7
Type: Autonomous      
Exercises 12 0.48 3, 4, 5
Group work 15 0.6 5, 8
Reading 20 0.8 1, 3, 4, 5
Study 58 2.32 1, 3, 4, 5


The assessment guidelines of the faculty are accessible at: https://www.uab.cat/web/estudiar/graus/graus/avaluacions-1345722525858.html

Ev1 and Ev2: There will be two written synthesis’ tests (one on each week of assessment). The Ev1 has a weight of 35% on the final grade, and assess knowledge on topics 1, 2, 3 and 4. The Ev2 has a weight of 30% on the final grade, and assess knowledge on topics 5, 6 and 7. Tests include open questions of short answer, both theoretical and of application to cases and examples.

Ev3: The exercises done on practical work sessions allow obtaining up to a 10% of the grade.

Ev4: The assessment of the competences acquired through the supervised work represents a 10% of the final grade, as a result of the written group report (delivered in a date between the weeks 12 and 14), the oral session of exposition and / or discussion (week 15 or 16 according to the registration group), and the follow-up (preparation of the interview script, between weeks 9 and 12).

Ev5: The overall assessment of the exercises carried out and delivered between the specialized seminar sessions (workshops) as well as the follow-up of the sessions, will contribute on a 15% to the final grade. This evidence will only be included on final grade if student have attended at least 50% of the sessions.

After the first synthesis test (Ev1), a general return will be done to the class, and tutorials will be scheduled for review, under request. After the second synthesis test (Ev2), a revision session will be programmed, which can also be used to review classroom practice exercises (Ev3), supervised work (Ev4) and evidence from specialized seminars (Ev5). Once each review period closed, the qualification will be deemed final.

NOT ASSESSED: Those students who have done evidence with a weight of less than 40% of the final grade will be "Not assessed."

PASS: When the final weighted sum of all the evidences is equal to or greater than 5.

RESIT: When the weighted sum of the evidences is between 3.5 and 4.9, those who have completed at least evidences 1 and 2 will be eligible for resit. The resit will consist of a test equivalent to those evidences not passed, excluding evidences of supervised work (Ev4), and specialized stress management seminars (Ev5). The grade in the resit test will replace the corresponding evidence, and the final grade will be the result of the new weighted sum.

No unique final synthesis test for students who enrole for the second time or more is anticipated.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Ev1 i Ev2. Synthesis' tests 65% (35% Ev1; 30% Ev2) 3 0.12 3, 4, 5
Ev3. Practical sessions exercises 5% 0 0 4, 5
Ev4. Supervised work (written report, exposition and/or discussion, follow-up) 15% 0 0 4, 6, 8, 7
Ev5. Stress' managment seminars 15% 0 0 1, 2, 6, 8, 7


Book to follow the course:

Jordi Fernández-Castro (2020). Libérate del Estrés. Barcelona: RBA.


Maria Jesús Álava (2003). La inutilidad del sufrimiento. Madrid: La esfera de los libros.

Maria Dolores Avia & Carmelo Vázquez (1998). Optimismo inteligente. Madrid: Alianza editorial.

Enrique G. Fernández-Abascal (Ed.) (2009). Emociones Positivas. Madrid: Pirámide.

Enrique G. Fernández-Abascal & Francisco Palmero (Eds.) (1999). Emociones y Salud. Barcelona: Ariel.

Pedro Gil-Monte & José Maria Peiró (1997). Desgaste psíquico en el trabajo: El síndrome de quemarse.  Madrid: Síntesis.

Fiona Jones & Jim Bright (2001). Stress. Mith, theory and Research. Harlow (UK): Pearson-Prentice Hall.

Margaret E. Kemeny (2003). The Psychobiology of Stress. Current directions in psychological science, 12(4), 124-129.

Richard S. Lazarus & Susan Folkman (1984). Stress, Appraisal and Coping. New York: Springer  (Traducción (1986): Estrés y Procesos Cognitivos. Barcelona: Martínez Roca.)

Richard S. Lazarus (1999). Stress and emotion: A new synthesis. New York, US: Springer Publishing Company.

Michael P. O’Driscoll (2013). Coping with stress: a challenge for theory, research and practice. Stress and Health : Journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress, 29(2), 89–90. doi:10.1002/smi.2489

Helena Robles & María Isabel Peralta (2007). Programa para el control del estrés. Madrid: Pirámide.

Robert M. Sapolsky (2008). ¿Por qué las cebras no tienen úlcera? La guía del estrés. Madrid: Alianza.

Suzanne C. Segerstrom & Daryl B. O’Connor (2012). Stress, health and illness: four challenges for the future. Psychology & Health, 27(2), 128–40. doi:10.1080/08870446.2012.659516

Jonathan Smith (1993). Understandig stress and coping.  New York: MacMillan Publising company.

Carmelo Vázquez & Gonzalo Hervás (2009). La Ciencia del bienestar : fundamentos de una psicología positiva. Madrid: Alianza