PhD Student Sian publishes her first paper in the journal Obesity Reviews!

Sian Calvert

Congratulations to our PhD Student Sian Calvert on publishing the first paper from her PhD research, a systematic review in the leading journal Obesity Reviews! Sian, supervised by Dr Robert Dempsey and Dr Rachel Povey, is one of a number of PhD students based in the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research at Staffordshire University.

Sian’s PhD programme, which funded by the University, aims to develop and test the feasibility of conducting a Social Norms Approach intervention with high school students to improve adolescents’ eating behaviours by challenging some of the misperceptions of the acceptability and amount of healthy foodstuffs eaten by their fellow student peers. The Social Norms Approach is a means of promoting healthier behaviours based on informational feedback which challenges common misperceptions (i.e. the over- and under-estimation of peer behaviours) to reduce the perceived social pressure to conform to potentially unhealthy norms. Sian’s primary supervisor, Dr Robert Dempsey, leads a programme of research evaluating the Social Norms Approach at Staffordshire University and has recently published a critical review of the use of the approach as a health behaviour approach (click here to read this review).

Sian’s paper, a systematic review of the use of in-school interventions to promote healthier eating amongst 11-16 year olds, is the first to evaluate the range, format and outcomes of healthy eating interventions delivered in high school settings in the UK and around the world. The start of secondary education (or its equivalent in non-UK countries) marks a time where many students become more independent, have greater control over their dietary behaviours, and is a key period where dietary habits can form which last into adulthood. Also, there are numerous reports of increases in unhealthy eating behaviours (e.g. snacking, meal-skipping) and decreases in more healthy eating behaviours (e.g. fruit and vegetable consumption, drinking regular amounts of water) amongst this age group. The high school environment forms a key target for dietary behaviour interventions given that schools have extensive contact with students, that the school environment is relatively well controlled (meaning that interventions can be appropriately tested and controlled), and behaviours can be monitored. Sian’s review makes several recommendations for future best practice with this group of individuals, including the need for future interventions to consider the influence of peers on dietary behaviours (e.g. by including student peers in intervention campaigns and activities) as well as better evaluating the potential role of personalised, individual, feedback on dietary behaviour choices.

Dr Robert Dempsey, Sian’s supervisor, commented:

“Sian did a great job reviewing a complex and very varied literature, and this systematic review is a key part of her PhD research which has directly informed the follow-up studies she is currently analysing and writing up. To publish her work in a very competitive and highly ranked global journal before the completion of her PhD studies is a great achievement for Sian!”

Sian is currently analysing and writing up a series of qualitative and quantitative papers based on her PhD studies investigating the feasibility of the Social Norms Approach as a means of encouraging more positive healthy behaviours amongst high school students. A link to Sian’s systematic review paper can be found below:


Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology

Staffordshire University has a history of excellence in teaching and research in Health Psychology, and is home to Staffordshire’s BPS Accredited Stage 1 MSc in Health Psychology and Stage 2 Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology. The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research has active team of Health Psychologists who conduct research and provide consultancy in a range of health-related issues.

Keep updated with the latest Health Psychology news from Staffordshire University via following us on @StaffsPsych and via the #HealthPsychStaffs hashtag.

For further information about Health Psychology courses and research at Staffordshire University please visit the following webpages:

Hate Christmas? A psychologist’s survival guide for Grinches… Prof Karen Rodham writes for The Conversation

Professor Karen Rodham (Professor of Health Psychology & Director of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research) writes a Christmas survival guide for those who dislike Christmas for The Conversation UK. Prof Rodham writes about a Christmas behaviour change intervention she received from a Staffordshire colleague as well as her tips for managing Christmas if you identify as a ‘Grinch’.

The Conversation UK is a free news service featuring articles written by academics on a range of topics and current affairs. Staffordshire University is a member of The Conversation and Read the full article below:

The Conversation: Hate Christmas? A psychologist’s survival guide for Grinches

Watch out for more Conversation articles written by the members of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research!


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent. The department is home to the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, a large and active group of psychologists, PhD students and researchers conducting work into a variety of psychological disciplines and topic areas.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

100% PTES Student Satisfaction on Staffordshire University’s MSc Psychology Conversion Course!

According to the Post Graduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) 2018 results, the first cohort of students who completed the MSc Psychology Conversion course were 100% satisfied with the overall quality of their course. The Higher Education Academy’s annual Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) is the only sector-wide survey to gain insight from taught postgraduate students about their learning and teaching experiences.

Dr. Louise Humphreys, Course Leader for the MSc Psychology conversion degree, comments:

“This is fantastic news and I am delighted that students were highly satisfied with the course. These students started the course with little or no knowledge of Psychology, and it was great to see the students’ progress throughout the year. In addition, 83% of the students achieved a Merit or Distinction for their degree, which is fantastic. Our team of academic staff work very hard to ensure that students receive an excellent experience here at Staffordshire University, and we are extremely pleased with the success of the course in its first year.  The team are currently continuing this hard work to ensure that the second cohort get the very best out of the course and receive a stimulating and rewarding experience.”

The MSc Psychology conversion course is designed for students who wish to pursue a career in Psychology, but do not have a British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited undergraduate degree. The course allows students to gain Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC). This is a means by which the BPS ensures that those working towards Chartered Status have studied Psychology at the appropriate breadth and standard to equip them for postgraduate training. Upon completing the course students will have covered all the core areas of Psychology defined by the BPS. Graduates from this course can go on to apply for BPS accredited professional psychology training courses (such as Clinical, Health, Forensic, and Educational Psychology, amongst others) and eventual achievement of Chartered Status.


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent. The department is home to the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, a large and active group of psychologists, PhD students and researchers conducting work into a variety of psychological disciplines and topic areas.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

Fourth Edition of Professor David Clark-Carter’s Quantitative Psychological Research book published!

Professor David Clark-Carter (Professor of Psychological Research Methods, Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research) is about to publish the fourth edition of his widely used Quantitative Psychological Research textbook in December 2018.

Prof. Clark-Carter’s text is used as core reading for many Psychology degrees at all levels of study (from undergraduate to postgraduate students) and features chapters detailing the whole research process from generating a study idea, designing research, to analysing the findings of quantitative studies using a variety of statistical methods.

The 4th Edition of Prof. Clark-Carter’s book is due to be published on the 13th December 2018. Further details about the book, including a preview of its contents, can be viewed via the publisher’s website (click below):


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent. The department is home to the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, a large and active group of psychologists, PhD students and researchers conducting work into a variety of psychological disciplines and topic areas.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

Second Edition of Professor Karen Rodham’s ‘Health Psychology’ textbook published!

By Professor Karen Rodham (Professor of Health Psychology & Director of The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research).

Prof. Karen Rodham

I was thrilled to be invited to write a second edition of my Health Psychology text book. I saw this as an opportunity to put in things I wish I had put in first time round and to update the information. The book is not a comprehensive description of the whole of health psychology but is an overview of the discipline. I want to give readers an insight into Health Psychology, what it is, and why it is important. In order to do this, I have tried to take on the role of tour guide: I want to give the reader enough information to spark their desire to find out more about the profession and discipline of Health Psychology. I hope that by sharing my enthusiasm, readers will be tempted to delve deeper and read more about each of the topics highlighted.

After the introduction (Chapter 1), which explains what Health Psychology is and how it developed, the book is divided into two sections. In the first section, ‘Health Behaviour, I start by considering what it means to be healthy, what health behaviours are and how they can be measured (Chapter 2). In Chapter 3, I explore the variety of factors which are thought to influence our health behaviours. In Chapter 4, I describe the different models that have been designed to predict behaviour change, and, in Chapter 5 I explore the growing relationship between health psychology, public health and health promotion.

The second section of the book, ‘Health Psychology in Action, consists of four chapters which showcase how Health Psychology has been applied to major health issues. Chapter 6 explores stress and stress management. Chapter 7 considers eating behaviour. Chapter 8 focuses on smoking and drinking, and Chapter 9, on managing long-term conditions. The book concludes with a final chapter in which I draw together the key messages and speculate on the possible future for Health Psychology.

If you are one of those people who read the first edition of this book, you might be curious about what has changed in the seven years since it was published. Well, you will see from the description above that in this second edition, I have not just updated the references: I have rewritten sections, restructured the book and added chapters (on public health, smoking and drinking, and long-term conditions). I am also thrilled to be able to direct your attention to the last entry in the index. This reads ’zombie’. This was inadvertently excluded from the first edition but is now firmly in place. “‘What,” I hear you ask, “‘do zombies have to do with health psychology?” Well, read Chapter 2 and you will find out.

Professor Karen Rodham’s new book is now published and available purchase in all good book retailers. Please see the publisher’s website below for further information about the new edition:

Karen Rodham – Health Psychology (2nd Edition), MacMillian International/Red Globe Press.


Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology

Staffordshire University has a history of excellence in teaching and research in Health Psychology, and is home to Staffordshire’s BPS Accredited Stage 1 MSc in Health Psychology and Stage 2 Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology. The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research has active team of Health Psychologists who conduct research and provide consultancy in a range of health-related issues.

Keep updated with the latest Health Psychology news from Staffordshire University via following us on @StaffsPsych and via the #HealthPsychStaffs hashtag.

For further information about Health Psychology courses and research at Staffordshire University please visit the following webpages:

Dr Daniel Jolley talks to VICE about celebrity conspiracy theories and the psychology of conspiratorial thinking

Dr Daniel Jolley (Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology & member of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research) was featured in an interview with the online VICE news website discussing the reasons why people believe in conspiracy theories, especially in relation to celebrity news, and what effects conspiracy beliefs have on individuals.

Dr Jolley discusses some of the reasons why individuals may believe in conspiracies relating to famous names (e.g. Beyonce, Nick Cage, Avril Lavigne) and how such beliefs may have negative consequences, especially in relation to political and environmental issues, read more via:

VICE: why do our brains love celebrity conspiracy theories?


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent. The department is home to the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, a large and active group of psychologists, PhD students and researchers conducting work into a variety of psychological disciplines and topic areas.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

Dr Daniel Jolley featured on BBC Radio Stoke discussing the psychology of conspiracy theories

Dr Daniel Jolley (Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology & member of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research) was featured on BBC Radio Stoke’s Stuart George’s drivetime show (7th November 2018) discussing the psychology of conspiracy theories and why people believe in conspiracy theories.You can listen to Dr Jolley’s interview via the below link:

BBC iPlayer: BBC Radio Stoke Stuart George Show (7/11/2018 – listen from 42 mins, 30 seconds in)


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent. The department is home to the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, a large and active group of psychologists, PhD students and researchers conducting work into a variety of psychological disciplines and topic areas.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

Why everyone should know their attachment style – Professor Helen Dent writes for The Conversation

Professor Helen Dent (Emeritus Professor of Clinical & Forensic Psychology, Department of Psychology, Staffordshire University has written a short article for The Conversation UK about the need to understand your own attachment style in relation to your mental and physical health, amongst other outcomes.

The Conversation UK is a free news service featuring articles written by academics on a range of topics and current affairs. Staffordshire University is a member of The Conversation and Read the full article below:

The Conversation: Why everyone should know their attachment style

Watch out for more Conversation articles written by the members of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research!


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent. The department is home to the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, a large and active group of psychologists, PhD students and researchers conducting work into a variety of psychological disciplines and topic areas.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

The Psychology of Space….in Space

By Dr. Nikki Street, Dr. Gemma Hurst & Dr. Daniel Jolley

Could you live for a year or more in space? What challenges might you face living and working there? What would you miss about earth? These are the question we proposed to over 1500 attendees during the European Researchers Night at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in September 2018.

Psychologists from The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research at Staffordshire University attended the event where our aim was to introduce the guests to the physical environment in space and together discuss the challenges with space travel on people’s wellbeing. Drs Nichola Street, Gemma Hurst and Daniel Jolley, and Dina Grinstead and Darel Cookson were on hand during the night to discuss the Psychology of Space with guests.

The event was split into different parts.  First, guests ‘travelled’ to the International Space Station (ISS) using Virtual Reality equipment to explore the living conditions of space travellers.  We asked guests to consider what they would find most challenging living on the ISS for a year and what they might miss about earth during that time. The ISS that they explored can be termed an ICE environment; those environments which are Isolated, Confined and Extreme. Spending time in these types of environments is a psychological challenge.  For those guests who were a little too young to use the Virtual Reality, they were able to view the space centre on a projected screen.Alongside the VR exploration, we asked what guests would miss the most if they had to live in space for a year. The responses from guests were heart-warming and clear patterns appeared:  People would miss their Family, Friends, Pets, Food (they had tasted space food in another Staffordshire University run activity on the night) and nature. People talked about missing the space to walk the dog or the chance to change where you are.Next, guests entered a ‘psychology relief room’ in which they were exposed to natural imagery and sound. These nature interventions have been trailed in ICE environments as a way to dampen the potentially harmful effects of physical space with success. Evidence shows that even when direct access to nature is not possible (as it would not be in space) nature substitutes can go some way to reduce psychological harm.

While the ‘extreme’ aspect may be missing from many of our experiences on earth we can certainly think of many places that fit into the isolated and confined categories such as hospitals, prisons or even your home or work places. And like our space travellers pointed out, Nature exposure can go some way towards combatting the negative effects.  The research of Drs Nikki Street & Gemma Hurst aims to shed light on the impact of physical environments on an individual’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour. To learn more about the exciting research from the department please visit The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research‘s website.


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent. The department is home to the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, a large and active group of psychologists, PhD students and researchers conducting work into a variety of psychological disciplines and topic areas.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

Dr Daniel Jolley is the Conspiracy Psychologist in the Museum!

As part of The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery’s Friday Twilight Series, Dr Daniel Jolley (Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology, Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research) on Friday 9th November will be giving a free public talk on the psychology of conspiracy theories.

Conspiracy theories are associated with almost every significant social and political event, including the theory that the U.S. government orchestrated the 9/11 attacks, that the U.K Government murdered Diana, Princess of Wales, or that the harms of vaccines are being covered up so that pharmaceutical companies can continue to make huge profits. Belief in these types of conspiracy theories is blooming in the 21st century: millions of people subscribe to them.

A basic understanding of logic, rationality, and probability tell us, however, that most of these conspiracy claims are probably false. So why then do so many people believe them? What makes them so attractive and compelling to people? And, anyway, what’s the problem, aren’t they just harmless fun?

In this talk, Dr Jolley will take you through the psychology of conspiracy theories. You will learn why people subscribe to conspiracy theories and discuss some of the misconceptions (including whether all conspiracy believers wear tin-toil hats!)

Dr Jolley will also uncover some of the potentially damaging consequences of conspiracy theories; maybe they are not just harmless after all!  There will also be an opportunity for a Q&A session at the end.

Book your place! The talk is free and takes place on, Friday 9th November, 7 – 8.30pm.  Further information about the talk can be found via: http://www.stokemuseums.org.uk/pmag/whats-on/events/page/2/?event=EVENT591450


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent. The department is home to the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, a large and active group of psychologists, PhD students and researchers conducting work into a variety of psychological disciplines and topic areas.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages: