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Health and Social Psychology

PGR-RA-97

Expertise of research area
Biological influences on health; Effects of stress on health and behaviour; Mindfulness; Patient safety; Qualitative understanding of health; Stereotyping and performance outcomes; Understanding and changing health behaviours; Understanding the development of wellbeing and resilience.; Use of medical technologies


<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

The Health and Social Psychology research group conducts research which focuses on pain, stress and health, understanding and changing health behaviours, biological influences and examining outcomes of psychotherapy.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>The Health and Social Psychology research group&nbsp;conducts research focusing on a number of interrelated areas including:</p> <ul> <li>Understanding and changing health behaviours</li> <li>Effects of stress on health and behaviour</li> <li>Use of medical technologies</li> <li>Qualitative understanding of health</li> <li>Mindfulness, coping and resilience</li> <li>Biological influences on health</li> <li>Patient safety</li> <li>Understanding&nbsp;the development of wellbeing and resilience.</li> <li>Stereotyping and performance outcomes</li> </ul> <p>Working closely with the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bradfordresearch.nhs.uk/">Bradford Institute for Health Research,</a>&nbsp;the group also conducts research on implicit attitudes, prejudicial attitudes, causal reasoning, social category combination (multiple categorisation), and controlled processing in a range of behaviours.</p> <h2>Ongoing Projects</h2> <p>Below are examples of&nbsp;projects conducted within the Health and Social Psychology Research Group.</p> <h3>Healthcare workforce wellbeing, burnout and patient care delivery</h3> <p>This theme of work represents a group of projects led by&nbsp;<a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/psychology/staff/477/dr-judith-johnson">Dr Judith Johnson</a>&nbsp;and run in collaboration with the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.bradfordresearch.nhs.uk/">Bradford Institute for Health Research</a>. These projects have been funded by the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nihr.ac.uk/">National Institute for Health Research</a>&nbsp;(NIHR),&nbsp;<a href="https://www.sor.org/">the Society and College of Radiographers</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.england.nhs.uk/">NHS England</a>, and collaborators include&nbsp;<a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/psychology/staff/533/professor-rebecca-lawton">Professor Rebecca Lawton</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/staff/2725/professor-daryl-o-connor">Professor Daryl O&rsquo;Connor</a>.</p> <p>The overarching goal of this work is to understand how the healthcare workforce can be better supported to deliver safer, higher quality patient care. Projects have 1) established the presence of a consistent link between higher burnout and poor patient care; 2) identified targets for burnout-reduction interventions to focus on and 3) tested the value of training interventions for improving staff wellbeing.</p> <h3>MindMate 2U &ndash; acceptability and feasibility study of a digital resource for young people</h3> <p>This research project is funded by the&nbsp;<a href="https://mrc.ukri.org/">Medical&nbsp;Research Council</a>&nbsp;(MRC) and is led by&nbsp;<a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/psychology/staff/450/dr-siobhan-hugh-jones">Dr Siobhan Hugh-Jones</a>&nbsp;at the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.leeds.ac.uk/">University of Leeds</a>.&nbsp; The project collaborators are: The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.leeds.ac.uk/">University of Leeds</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://wearemhabitat.com/">mHabitat</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://commonroom.uk.com/">CommonRoom</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://thompsonbrandpartners.com/">Thompson Brand Partners</a>.&nbsp; Adopting a strong user-design approach, our aim is to develop and pilot test (for feasibility, acceptability and efficacy) a school-based, digitally supported, guided self-help intervention (now called MindMate 2U) for young people.&nbsp;</p> <p>We are interested in the extent to which evidence-based psychoeducation (spanning knowledge, skills and strategies) is acceptable and useful to young people in helping them to feel more able to be back in control, and de-escalate their mental health difficulties. &nbsp;We will also explore whether generic mental health information and support provided (digitally) to a parent/carer in the young person&rsquo;s life is important in helping the adult feel better equipped to support the young person. Further information can be found on the&nbsp;<a href="http://dip.leeds.ac.uk/">MindMate2U&nbsp;website</a>.</p> <h3>Reducing adolescent smoking initiation</h3> <p>This research project was funded by several grants from the&nbsp;<a href="https://esrc.ukri.org/">Economic and Social Research Council</a>(ESRC) and the&nbsp;<a href="https://mrc.ukri.org/research/initiatives/prevention-research/national-prevention-research-initiative-npri/">National Prevention Research Initiative</a>&nbsp;and was led by&nbsp;<a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/psychology/staff/237/professor-mark-conner">Professor Mark Conner</a>. We have been conducting this research on adolescent smoking initiation for over 15 years.&nbsp; Our work includes a number of studies looking at predictors of starting smoking in adolescence.&nbsp;</p> <p>In addition, we have conducted three prospective studies in smoking initiation in this age group.&nbsp; This work uses implementation intentions to help adolescents pre-plan how to say no to offers of cigarettes. In a pilot study (n=104), an explanatory trial (n=1338) and a pragmatic trial (n=6155) this work shows that this intervention reduces smoking initiation in 11-16 year olds.</p> <h3>The Big Picture: Preventing youth substance abuse in Assam</h3> <p>Funded from the ESRC/AHRC&nbsp;<a href="https://esrc.ukri.org/research/international-research/global-challenges-research-fund-gcrf/">Global Challenges Research Fund</a>, we are conducting research with partner organisations in India -&nbsp;<a href="https://www.mindindia.org/">MIND India</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nirmaanrehab.org/">NIRMAAN Rehabilitation Facility</a>, and HOPR FOUNDATION Rehabilitation Facility - to understand how, despite risk and opportunity, some young Assamese people avoid harmful substance abuse. We also want to know how other young people, who may have become addicted to substances, successfully recover and regain control. Using photo-led interviews and film-making workshops, we are supporting young people to tell their stories of resilience and recovery in both words and pictures. Our aim is to convey these inspirational narratives to the public and to policy-makers. We will also work with practitioners to develop innovative services - such as assessments and interventions - that include images created by the young people with whom they are working. We will promote the study findings, and inspirational films on a purpose-designed website (<a href="https://projectresilience.co.uk/">https://projectresilience.co.uk/</a>) and host events in Assam and the UK to engage policy-makers and the public. The work is led by&nbsp;<a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/psychology/staff/533/professor-rebecca-lawton">Professor Anna Madill</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/psychology/staff/450/dr-siobhan-hugh-jones">Dr Siobhan Hugh-Jones</a>, Raginie Duara (School of Psychology),&nbsp;<a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/languages/staff/678/professor-paul-cooke">Professor Paul Cooke</a>&nbsp;(School of Languages, Cultures and Societies),&nbsp;<a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/medicine/staff/612/dr-tolib-mirzoev">Dr Tolib Mirzoev</a>(Institute of Health Sciences),&nbsp;<a href="https://research.brighton.ac.uk/en/persons/rebecca-graber">Dr Rebecca Graber</a>&nbsp;(University of Brighton).</p> <h3>Study to Examine Psychological Processes in Suicidal Ideation and behaviour (STEPPS)</h3> <p>This research project is funded by the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.defense.gov/">US Department of Defense</a>&nbsp;and is led by&nbsp;<a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/staff/2725/professor-daryl-o-connor">Professor Daryl O&rsquo;Connor</a>and is based in our&nbsp;<a href="http://sites.google.com/site/doconnorlab/">Laboratory for Stress and Health Research</a>&nbsp;(STARlab). The project is part of a larger programme of research led by&nbsp;<a href="https://www.gla.ac.uk/researchinstitutes/healthwellbeing/staff/roryoconnor/">Professor Rory O&rsquo;Connor</a>&nbsp;(University of Glasgow) and has collaborators based at the University of Stirling (<a href="https://www.stir.ac.uk/people/256453">Professor Ronan O&rsquo;Carroll</a>) and University of Nottingham (<a href="https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/psychology/people/eamonn.ferguson">Professor Eamonn Ferguson</a>).</p> <p>The aim of the project is to improve understanding of the predictors of suicide. Specifically, in&nbsp;<a href="http://sites.google.com/site/doconnorlab/">STARlab</a>, we have been exploring the role of stress and associated hormones (eg cortisol) in relation to suicide behaviour. In particular, we have been investigating whether cortisol reactivity stress in the laboratory and in the real world can differentiate individuals who have previously made a suicide attempt from those who had thought about suicide but not made an attempt.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <h3>Increasing cervical cancer screening uptake in Yorkshire</h3> <p>Early identification of cervical cancer risk could prevent a large number of deaths. The&nbsp;<a href="https://www.gov.uk/guidance/cervical-screening-programme-overview">NHS Cervical Cancer Screening Programme</a>&nbsp;is the central strategy for reducing cervical cancer mortality. However, screening uptake rates are falling, particularly in women aged 25 - 49 years and remain low in deprived groups. This&nbsp;<a href="https://yorkshirecancerresearch.org.uk/">Yorkshire Cancer Research</a>&nbsp;funded project aims to improve cervical screening rates overall and in particular groups (e.g., younger and deprived women), working with&nbsp;<a href="https://www.england.nhs.uk/north/">NHS England North</a>&nbsp;and the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.gov.uk/guidance/cervical-screening-programme-overview">NHS Cervical Cancer Screening Programme</a>. This research is piloting and testing the effectiveness of a new low cost behaviour change intervention to increase uptake of cervical screening in Yorkshire. This work is led by&nbsp;<a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/staff/2725/professor-daryl-o-connor">Professor Daryl O&rsquo;Connor</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/psychology/staff/237/professor-mark-conner">Professor Mark Conner</a>&nbsp;with&nbsp;<a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/psychology/staff/882/dr-sarah-wilding">Dr Sarah Wilding</a>.</p> <h3>Increasing Physical Activity: Designing and Testing a Workplace Intervention</h3> <p>This project was funded by the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.bupaukfoundation.org/">BUPA Foundation&nbsp;</a>and was awarded to the School of Psychology at the University of Leeds. This important UK-first physical activity trial, led by&nbsp;<a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/psychology/staff/533/professor-rebecca-lawton">Professor Rebecca Lawton</a>, aimed to promote good health by making people aware of the benefits of physical activity, encouraging employers to provide an environment conducive to it and staff to practise it. The study was run in collaboration with the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.hsl.gov.uk/centreforworkplacehealth">Centre for Workplace Health</a>&nbsp;at the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.hsl.gov.uk/">Health &amp; Safety Laboratory</a>, an agency of the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.hse.gov.uk/">Health &amp; Safety Executive</a>.</p> <p>The work place is an excellent setting to promote physical activity. This 36-month study developed and evaluated a flexible and problem-based intervention to promote physical activity. The intervention targeted Awareness, Motivation and Environment (AME) and was tailored to five organisations,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.wrexham.gov.uk/">Wrexham County Borough Council</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.sth.nhs.uk/">Sheffield Teaching Hospitals</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.firstgroup.com/">First Group (Leeds and York)</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.hsl.gov.uk/">Health &amp; Safety Laboratory</a>&nbsp;and the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.leeds.ac.uk/">University of Leeds</a>.</p> <h2>Facilities and Resources</h2> <p>The School of Psychology has a wide range of specialised&nbsp;<a href="http://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/directory/facilities-medicinehealth?query=&amp;categoryID=41">facilities&nbsp;and resources</a>&nbsp;available for research projects.&nbsp;</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>To submit an application in this research area please complete an <a href="https://studentservices.leeds.ac.uk/pls/banprod/bwskalog_uol.P_DispLoginNon">online application form</a> and submit this alongside a research proposal, a full academic CV, degree transcripts (or marks so far if still studying) and degree certificates. If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the Faculty&rsquo;s minimum <a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/faculty-graduate-school/doc/entry-requirements-1">English language requirements</a>.</p> <p><em>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information please contact the Graduate School Office<br /> e:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:fmhpgradmissions@leeds.ac.uk">fmhpgradmissions@leeds.ac.uk</a>, t: +44 (0)113 343 8221.</p>