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:

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:

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:

New research into the role of Registered Intermediaries in court cases involving child witnesses

Dr Sarah Krahenbuhl (Senior Lecturer in Psychology & Course Leader – BSc Forensic Psychology, Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research) has had a new study accepted for publication in the journal Psychology, Crime and Law. Sarah blogs about her new study below:

The new paper, titled ‘Mock jurors’ perceptions of a child witness: The impact of the presence and/or intervention of a Registered Intermediary during cross-examination’, featured students from Psychology and Law departments who took the parts of barristers, court clerk, child witness, and Registered Intermediary as part of a mock trial. The students, who volunteered their time for the time, are named in the acknowledgements for the publication and were given a useful insight into the research process and experience of research in Forensic Psychology. The University’s mock court room was used for the study and the cross-examination of the child victim was video recorded and shown to mock juror participants.

The findings of the study showed no effect of the presence or intervention of the Registered Intermediary on mock juror perceptions, which supports their neutral role in court proceedings. However, rather concerning was the way in which one factor, the likelihood of a guilty verdict, was affected by which professional gave an intervention – if the Registered Intermediary was present and included an intervention (to support communication with the child witness) then the likelihood of a guilty verdict was lower than if the Registered Intermediary was absent and the judge gave the same intervention – the converse was found when no interventions were included. This raises the question as to mock juror perceptions of what is an appropriate role for professionals to take – but that this has an impact on their guilty verdicts is highly concerning.

This new study has recently been accepted for publication in the journal Psychology, Crime and Law, and the full text of the article can now be accessed via the journal’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:

Job Opportunity for a Research Assistant at the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research

Dr Daniel Jolley (Senior Lecturer, Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research) is seeking to appoint a highly organised and enthusiastic Research Assistant to work on an exciting project funded by the British Academy/The Leverhulme Trust.

The project aims to develop and validate a conspiracy belief questionnaire suitable for adolescents and involves a collaboration between Staffordshire University (Dr Daniel Jolley), University of Kent (Prof Karen Douglas) and Keele University (Dr Yvonne Skipper).

The primary role of the Research Assistant will be to manage data collection; this will involve recruitment of 1,270 school pupils (aged 11 – 18) from across four schools in the local area of Staffordshire. You will liaise with schools to arrange testing; travel and administer questionnaires and run focus groups with school pupils on site; and assist when required with additional tasks relating to the everyday running of the project, e.g. transcription, data analysis etc.

To be suitable for this role, you will have a good honours degree in Psychology or related subject, or equivalent experience. You will have experience of collecting data with pupils in schools, with a thorough understanding of how psychological research is conducted. You should be flexible and well-organised; able to set and keep to work priorities, work to deadlines and problem solve and have excellent communication skills. This role will require you to obtain a DBS check.

The closing date for applications is the 11th November 2018 and interviews will be held week commencing 19th November 2018.

For more information – and details on how to apply – please see: https://www.unitemps.com/Search/JobDetails/20470


The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research is home to research activity in the Psychology Department at Staffordshire University. The Centre is home to a number of research-active psychologists who are engaged in research across a wide range of psychological subdisciplines

For more details about the Centre, its research activities, events and consultancy, please visit our website (click here).

New study seeking participants for an alcohol-related appearance intervention

Dr Alison Owen

Dr Alison Owen, a lecturer in Health Psychology and a member of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research has carried out a series of pieces of research looking at the impact of appearance-focussed interventions on a person’s health choices. Previous research has found that health-focussed campaigns can often fail to motivate many young people to change their behaviour, with many people feeling that health-related threats are too long- term to concern them and not relevant to them. However, it is known that for many young men and women, their appearance is a key priority for them (Grogan, 2012).

For her PhD, carried out at Staffordshire University, Dr Owen therefore decided to focus on interventions that showed people the impact of health choices on a person’s appearance, as opposed to the more traditional health-focussed interventions. Dr Owen used a piece of computer software called AprilAge, which shows participants projected images of themselves up to the age of 72 years, and allowed them to compare images of themselves after exposing their skin to the sun without using protection with those where they have been protecting their skin from the sun. Dr Owen and her PhD supervision team (Professor Sarah Grogan, Professor David Clark-Carter and Dr Emily Buckley) found some really positive findings, with participants reporting significantly higher intentions to use sun protection after viewing the intervention. The software has also been used at Staffordshire University by Dr Keira Flett and Prof. Clark-Carter, showing people the impact that smoking can have on a persons’ appearance, again with very promising findings.Dr Owen and Dr Flett, alongside Professor Grogan (Manchester Metropolitan University) have now expanded their research to look at another health behaviour – drinking alcohol. Along with software designer Auriole Prince, the researchers came up with a piece of software called Change My Face, that like AprilAge, is able to show people from their current age up to the age of 72, but this time, showing them the impact that moderate and high alcohol consumption can have on their skin, compared to if they have been drinking within the recommended limits.

The researchers are currently recruiting participants for a study investigating the effectiveness of the software, in comparison with an intervention that informs people of the possible health impacts of alcohol consumption. If you have any questions about the research or are interested in taking part in the study then please email Dr Alison Owen at Alison.owen@staffs.ac.uk or research assistant Alex Morley-Hewitt at m014871b@student.staffs.ac.uk.


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:

Visiting Speaker Series Research talks returns on 27th September 2018

The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research is pleased to announce the first in the 2018-19 series of Visiting Speaker Research Talks.

The talks feature a variety of speakers from both within and external to the University who will be presenting their latest research findings to staff and students from the Department of Psychology. The talks are open to all staff and students from across the University, as well as to members of the public with an interest in psychology.

The 2018-2019 series starts with a Showcase Seminar on Thursday 27th September (4pm, R002 Science Centre Lecture Theatre) featuring short talks delivered by members of staff from the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, including:

The #StaffsVSS series of visiting speaker talks are open to everyone (no need to book; just turn up) and take place throughout the academic year. For details of the other talks in the 2018-19 Visiting Speaker Series please visit our Centre webpages:


The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research is home to research activity in the Psychology Department at Staffordshire University. The Centre is home to a number of research-active psychologists who are engaged in research across a wide range of psychological subdisciplines

For more details about the Centre, its research activities, events and consultancy, please visit our website (click here).