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PSYC3072 Psychology of Stress, Trauma and Resilience

Bachelor Course Unit


One Trimester


3rd Year

Credit points:

6 (out of 144)



Mode(s) of Delivery:

On-Campus and Online Delivery




This unit is an elective subject in the 3rd year of the Bachelor of Psychological Sciences degree. The main objective of PSYC3072 is to introduce students to the psychological theory and practice around stress, trauma and resilience.  This unit examines stress, psychological trauma, and psychological resilience. Definitions and models of stress, trauma, and resilience will be explored. Research evidence of the neurological bases of these concepts will be outlined as well as the role of genetic, cognitive, emotional, and social factors. Variations in stress, trauma and resilience across cultures, between individuals, and throughout the lifespan will be discussed. Various types of trauma will be described as well as the types of potentially traumatic events and contributing factors which can lead to trauma. Responses to trauma will be explored including physiological, cognitive, emotional, behavioural, and interpersonal sequelae. Psychological assessment of a variety of types of stress and trauma will be explained. Finally, psychological treatments for these conditions will be detailed, including factors that lead to increased resilience.

Unit Description

The main content of the unit will be delivered in ten lectures delivered on the Melbourne campus and recorded for online viewing. Smaller, group discussions will take place in the weekly one hour tutorials, allowing for further exploration of key readings on current topics relating to stress, trauma and resilience. Especially important will be the development of critical thinking around methodological issues in stress, trauma and resilience research and students’ own concept of self in relation to stress and resilience.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to:

a)               Identify the signs and symptoms of a variety of types of stress and trauma, and their potential health implications 

b)               Articulate the neurological, genetic, cognitive, emotional, social and developmental factors associated with stress, trauma and resilience 

c)               Demonstrate an understanding of variations in stress, trauma and resilience across cultures, between individuals and throughout the lifespan. 

d)               Demonstrate an understanding of a variety of tools and procedures for assessing stress, trauma and resilience 

e)               Critically evaluate the appropriateness of a number of psychological treatments for those conditions based upon theoretical models and research evidence


Unit Content

  • Introduction to Stress, Trauma and Resilience

  • Stress: Definitions, Models and Contributors

  • Trauma: Definitions, Contributors and Consequences

  • Resilience: Definitions, Models and Contributors

  • Psychological Assessment of Stress, Trauma and Resilience

  • Psychological Management of Stress, Trauma and Promoting Resilience

  • Health Impacts of Stress and Trauma across the Lifespan

  • Experiences of Trauma and Resilience in School and the Workplace

  • Seeking Help: Navigating Barriers to Dealing with Stress and Trauma

  • Indigenous and Cultural Considerations in Trauma

Learning and Teaching Process

This unit comprises ten weekly 2.5 hour lectures and nine weekly 1 hour tutorials.  Lectures commence in Week 1 of the trimester and will be captured electronically at the time of delivery and will automatically be made available online within the following 24 hours.

Attendance at tutorials is compulsory: students should attend from week 2, the tutorial class into which they are enrolled.

Assessment Summary

Assessment information provided at the commencement of the unit in the online class space.

Recommended Text(s)

For more information regarding recommended texts for specific units, please see the Psychological Sciences Textbook List.

Academic Misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. Please refer to the Academic Misconduct Policy for more information.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of semester and ensure that you log on to the class site for this unit on a regular basis.