Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


This course provides second year Occupational Therapy students the core sociology and psychology components required for their degree. It builds on the substantial theoretical and practical experiences of the OT degree with a focus on illustrating the interplay between sociological, psychological and social factors, which are core practice requirements in the discipline of Occupational Therapy.

a) The sociology strand addresses sociological perspectives of mental health and illness, including the social processes that lead to the labeling of people with mental illness and the construction of mental illness in society. The course also considers the processes, systems and structures that govern the provision of mental health services and health professional practice.

b) The psychological component focuses on the role of psychological processes in the maintenance of well being, and the manner in which psychological dysfunction can be a consequence or precipitant of impaired productivity.



  • Semester 1 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Identify sociological theories and perspectives on mental health and illness and their relationship to OT practice.

2. Analyse the social processes related to mental health and illness and understand how these impact on access to treatment.

3. Critically explore the organisation of treatments for mental illness including the roles and relationships of OTs as health professions in a team.

4. Identify the major classifications of abnormal behaviour; their diagnosis, and clinical management as they pertain to OT practice.

5. Identify major psychological theoretical frames of reference that guide the practice of psychology (e.g. Psychoanalytical, behavioural, cognitive) with an aim to determining best practice for care.



  1. Introduction to Abnormal Psychology
  2. Classification Systems
  3. Affective Disorders
  4. Developmental Disabilities
  5. Personality Disorders
  6. Anxiety and Substance use Disorders


7) The Social Construction of Mental Illness

8) Mental Illness in Australian Society

9) Mental Health and Labelling

10) Mental Health World and Professions

11) Medicalisation Models of Care

12) Mental Health for the 21st Century


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) program.

Assumed knowledge


Assessment items

Presentation: Presentation (20%)

In Term Test: MId term test on Blackboard for Psychology component (40%)

In Term Test: Mid term test on Blackboard for Sociology component (40%)

Contact hours



Online 1 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks

Psychology Lecture: for 1 hour(s) per Week for weeks 1-6 Sociology Lecture: for 1 hour(s) per Week for weeks 7-12


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks

Psychology Tutorial: for 1 hour(s) per Week for weeks 1-6 Sociology Tutorial: for 1 hour(s) per Week for weeks 7-12

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.