Search for contacts, projects,
courses and publications

Interpersonal Communication and Health


Hannawa A. F.

Course director

Corengia M.



Course Descripton

For a more holistic understanding of interpersonal interactions in our everyday lives and the effects they can have on our health and well-being, we need to attend to both the “bright” and “dark” sides of communication. Surely, each of us has experienced the enabling and disabling effects of interpersonal interactions, the latter of which might include lying, gossip, loneliness, harassment, irresolvable conflicts, and rejection. Furthermore, we inevitably make mistakes that, at times, can inadvertently harm others and even ourselves. This course illuminates

this “dark side” of interpersonal communication across various contexts, to complement the far more common “bright side” notions of interpersonal interactions. By doing so, it provides a wellrounded orientation for students to fully comprehend the complexity of human relations and their effects on our health and well-being. Exemplary case studies and guest speakers will make this class an unforgettable experience for students, as it will empower them to take charge of enabling the “bright side” and confronting the “dark side” potential of their own interpersonal interactions in their personal lives with the insights they will have gained from this course.

Course Objectives
In this course, students will

  • develop an understanding of how interpersonal communication influences people's health and well-being
  • learn how communication is central to health, illness, injury, and disability
  • recognize how health experiences shape interpersonal communication and relationship dynamics
  • understand the “bright side” and “dark side” metaphors of interpersonal communication in the context of their own life stories and experiences
  • learn and apply the concept of “interpersonal communication competence” in the context of dark side interactions • comprehend the opportunities and dangers of communication (in)competence for relationships, personal resilience, health, etc. • expand their repertoire for enabling “bright side” and confronting “dark side” communication patterns for improved health outcomes in their own lives
  • demonstrate their understanding of health-promoting interpersonal communication by skillfully analyzing communication events in class discussions and in their own written work.

Evaluation procedures and Grading criteria

Final project (45%), Final presentation (25%), Final exam (30%)
Language: English
The concrete grading criteria for each assessment will be communicated in class at least one week in advance.

Required materials

Students will receive a customized reading package for this course.