Research Themes

Delivery of New Approaches informed by Psychological Theory

aftercCancer patients can develop recurrence fears resulting in lowered quality of life, concentration, and mood. A psychological intervention known as AFTER (Adjustment to the Fear, Threat or Expectation of Recurrent cancer) designed from the theoretical principles of Howard Leventhal (Rutgers University) has been designed by Humphris and Ozakinci (SUPAC NCRI).

Developing partnerships with local, national and international agencies and services

logoThe ORION project designed and implemented of a new web-based tool for clinical addiction services. The project was led from Health Psychology in the Medical School with local partner NHS Fife with Italian, Danish and German collaborators. The project has produced a freely available software package in 5 languages (downloadable from the ORION website).

Healthcare Communication

screenOur group is exploring the detailed components of clinician – patient consultations. We use The Observer XT software and other devices (e.g. eye-tracker) to investigate the attentional focus of clinicians during key moments of patient interaction. We use the VR-CoDES system to unlock the patterns of interaction that assist clinical communication.

Systematic reviewing

graphAn important component of intervention development starts with evidence synthesis. Our group conducts and publishes high quality systematic reviews and meta-analyses in various domains. Two examples:

  1. Review of the fears of cancer recurrence literature.
  2. Systematic review and meta-analysis of obesity and dental caries in children.

Complex intervention creation

Using psychological theory, we develop interventions for health behaviour change and emotional regulation. Collaboration with Prof David Perrett from School of Psychology and Neuroscience and Dr Ross Whitehead has resulted in the design and evaluate a novel, appearance-based intervention to increase fruit and vegetable consumption (

Person/technology interface

2014-02-12-coding-and-simulation-room-(6)The SMI Eye tracker has opened a new avenue of research possibilities for our group. Exploratory studies are being run to demonstrate the investigative power of this sophisticated tool and associated software which is teamed up with the flexible behavioural observation software from Noldus, namely The Observer XT.

Individual differences and moderation

scales-and-diet-tapeDr Jo Cecil investigates the bio-psychological controls of appetite, eating behaviour and obesity. She investigates the relationship between genotype and behavioural phenotype including the influence of obesity and reward related gene polymorphisms on the hedonic response to food and overconsumption in adults; and the individual differences in taste perception and behavioural phenotype.

Design of Training, & implementation models

comms-skills3The design of interventions requires a rigorous process matching theoretical perspectives with feasible models of implementation within the target population. The piloting of specific intervention designs are part of this process. The Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine group (notably Laidlaw) has included the design of training interventions targeting health professionals and trainee health professionals.