Student Success! MSc Health Psychology Student Publishes her Dissertation Research

By Dr Sarah Dean, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Staffordshire University.

Lucy Field

Lucy Field completed the MSc in Health Psychology at  Staffordshire University in 2017 and has recently had her dissertation research, which was supervised by Dr Sarah Dean, published as an open access article in the Global Journal of Health Science.

It has been recognised that stress can have a very negative impact on people’s health and wellbeing and it is therefore important that interventions are designed to help people deal with stressors effectively. One way of doing this is to use interventions that help people to become more aware of their bodies, their response to stress and how to regulate this. Lucy’s work explored the effectiveness of a biofeedback intervention, using the HeartMath training programme, to reduce a person’s physiological response to stressors. It was found that the intervention had positive effects for participants. Participants reported feeling less stressed and more relaxed after taking part in the intervention and Lucy’s physiological data supported this. Future research is needed to explore the use of HeartMath further.

This is what Lucy had to say about her time on the MSc:

“I really enjoyed my MSc in Health Psychology at Staffordshire University. Health promotion and stress have become areas of specialty for me. I completed my research on stress using a  biofeedback technique with support from my tutor and other researchers in the field. This has been published! I would not have believed this to be something I could have accomplished at the beginning of the course. I am now looking forward to starting the Prof Doc in Health Psychology!”

Please click here to read Lucy’s published article.

Field, L. H., Edwards, S. D., Edwards, D. J., & Dean, S. E. (2018). Influence of HeartMath Training Programme on Physiological and Psychological Variables. Global Journal of Health Science, 10(2), 126-133.


Thinking about postgraduate study in Health Psychology?

If you are interested in studying our BPS Accredited Stage 1 MSc in Health Psychology why not sign up to our next Open Afternoon on Tuesday 3rd July?

For more information about the Open Afternoon, please email the MSc Health Psychology  Course Directors Dr Sarah Dean s.dean@staffs.ac.uk or Dr Gemma Hurst G.L.Hurst@staffs.ac.uk.


Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology

Staffordshire University’s Centre for Health Psychology is a centre of excellence for 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 Centre for Health Psychology is part of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research.

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:

New research explores mothers’ experiences of feeding infants

By Dr Sarah Dean, Senior Lecturer in Psychology.

Researchers at The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, based at Staffordshire University, are conducting a study to learn more about the experiences of new Mums who live in Stoke-on-Trent. Dr Sarah Dean and Professional Doctorate student Sarah Thurgood are leading this research, which is funded by CHAD (The Centre for Health and Development), in order to learn more about factors that influence infant feeding.

The research team hope to use the information gathered to learn more about the types of support Mums have found useful and areas they felt less supported in. The idea is that this knowledge could then be used to inform future research or to help in the design of future interventions to help new mums with feeding their babies. The survey is open to mothers living in Stoke-on-Trent who have had their first baby between 6 weeks and 6 months ago.

Interested in taking part in this study? Click here to visit the study’s website for further information and/or to take part


Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology

Staffordshire University’s Centre for Health Psychology is a centre of excellence for 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 Centre for Health Psychology is part of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research.

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:

Student Blog: What do you think about when you hear the term ‘body image’?

By Alexandra Morley Hewitt, MSc by Applied Research student

When you are asked about body image, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

When asked about their body image, most people will tend to focus on the negatives and things that they don’t like about themselves, such as “my bum is too big” or “I don’t like my nose”. We are all able to think about the negative aspects of our body very quickly, however, how we view our own bodies has seemed to change in the past few decades and people are now beginning to think more positively about themselves and their bodies.

Likewise, body image research has tended to focus on the negatives (i.e. what we dislike about our bodies or find embarrassing), but there has started to be a shift towards understanding positive body image. Initially research saw positive body image as simply being at the other end of the scale from negative body image. So, if you didn’t think positively about your body, then it meant you had a negative body image (Avalos, Tylka, & Wood-Barcalow, 2005). This could be an oversimplification of the complex nature of body image which could be a combination of both positive and negative facets. This old way of thinking about body image potentially delayed advancing the understanding of positive body image, especially as there has been a lack of measurement tools available to examine positive body image (such as validated psychometric self-report questionnaires).

In 2005, the creation of the Body Appreciation Scale (Tiggemann, 2015) provided this opportunity for better understanding more positive aspects of body image. This scale allows positive body image to be measured and examined in a new way, facilitating more nuanced body image research. Positive body image was no longer seen as having no negative body image thoughts, rather, positive body image became a widely acknowledged concept that included factors such as body appreciation, body acceptance, and inner positivity (Tylka & Wood-Barcalow, 2015). With researchers using a mixture of methods, the definition of positive body image developed, further theories were created and measurement tools adjusted, such as the further refinement of the Body Appreciation Scale.

Alongside my supervisor (Dr Alison Owen, Lecturer in Psychology), we are aiming to build upon this area of research by examining how a number of individual differences factors, ranging from age to physical disability to personality, are predictive of positive body image. If you are interested in participating in this study, please click here to find out more information about the study.


Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology

Staffordshire University’s Centre for Health Psychology is a centre of excellence for 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 Centre for Health Psychology is part of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research.

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:

Do appearance-focused interventions help promote sun protection behaviours?

By Dr. Alison Owen, Lecturer in Psychology.

Over the last decade, melanoma skin cancer incidence rates have increased by almost a half (45%) in the UK, and there are around 15,400 new melanoma skin cancer cases in the UK every year, that’s 42 every day (Cancer Research UK). A massive 86% of melanoma skin cancer in the UK is preventable (Cancer Research UK), for example by protecting your skin from the sun by using sun tan lotion or using clothes to cover up, so it is really important to find ways to encourage people to protect their skin from the sun.

Researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University (Sofia Perrson, Yael Benn and Sarah Grogan) and Leeds Beckett University (Katie Dhingra), along with researchers here at The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research (Alison Owen and David Clark-Carter), have carried out a review of literature investigating how effective appearance-focussed interventions are at encouraging people to have safer and healthier UV exposure and sun protection behaviours. The study was modeled on a previous review carried out here at Staffordshire University in 2013 by Dr Owen, Prof Grogan, Prof Clark-Carter and Dr Buckley, which focused on how well appearance-based interventions work to reduce UV exposure, for example by discouraging people from using sunbeds in the future, or encouraging them to wear more sun protection (read this paper here).

In the present study, in press in the British Journal of Health Psychology, 33 studies were reviewed, each of which having used an appearance-focused intervention aiming to encourage healthier UV exposure and sun protection behaviours. For example, some of the reviewed interventions worked by showing individuals the impact that exposing their skin to the sun without using protection could have, in terms of wrinkling or age spots. We found very encouraging results, in that appearance-based interventions appear to have positive effects on UV exposure and sun protection immediately after the intervention, as well as up to 12 months afterwards. This supported the findings of the original review, which also found that appearance-based interventions have a positive effect on UV exposure and sun protection intentions and behaviour.

Dr Owen is continuing to carry out research looking at the effectiveness of appearance-focussed interventions on changing peoples’ health behaviours, and is currently carrying out research investigating whether showing people the negative impact that binge drinking can have on their skin, can impact on their alcohol consumption in the future.

The new systematic review can be read via the British Journal of Health Psychology‘s website:


Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology

Staffordshire University’s Centre for Health Psychology is a centre of excellence for 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 Centre for Health Psychology is part of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research.

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 Jenny Taylor joins the Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University!

By Dr Jenny Taylor, Lecturer in Psychology

Dr Jenny Taylor

I am delighted to have recently joined the Psychology  team as a Lecturer here at Staffordshire University. My first few weeks have been great, everyone has been very friendly and supportive and I’ve been made to feel really welcome. Here’s a bit of background about me:

I completed my undergraduate psychology degree in Psychology and Criminology at Keele University in 2007. After a few years away from academia, I returned to Keele to complete my MSc in Psychology of Health and Wellbeing – it was during this time that I realised my passion for health psychology and qualitative research! After my MSc, I stayed at Keele to start my PhD which was focused on exploring the social representations of sunbed use and how these representations influence how people talk about and behave with regards to sunbed tanning and the risks involved.

In the final year of my PhD, I took on the role of part-time Teaching Fellow at Keele. I continued in this role for another year following the completion of my PhD, as well as working as a Research Assistant on a project exploring the knowledge and attitudes of mothers in Staffordshire towards cervical screening and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination. I also, during this time, completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education at Keele and I am now a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. In 2016, I took on a temporary position as Lecturer at Keele University, teaching on the undergraduate and postgraduate Psychology programmes.  I joined the team here at Staffordshire University at the beginning of January 2018.

My research interests are in exploring health risk behaviours that are body image related, such as sunbed use and cosmetic surgery. I am especially interested in how people talk about such behaviours in light of the risks.  I am a qualitative researcher and a member of the editorial board for the Qualitative Methods in Psychology (QMIP) section of the British Psychological Society (BPS).

I’m very excited to have joined such a vibrant, enthusiastic team here at Staffordshire University and am looking forward to continuing with my passion for both teaching and research.


Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology

Staffordshire University’s Centre for Health Psychology is a centre of excellence for 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 Centre for Health Psychology is part of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research.

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:

Christmas Drinking: New research explores the effects of an appearance-focused intervention for alcohol use

By Dr Alison Owen, Lecturer in Psychology.

Research by Cancer Research UK suggests that young adults will drink an average of 62 units – the equivalent of 30 glasses of wine or 22 pints of beer – in the run-up to Christmas. As Christmas party season approaches, researchers in the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research & Centre for Health Psychology are looking into ways to encourage people to stick to the government’s recommended alcohol guidelines. Myself and Dr Keira Flett are in the initial stages of analysing research from a pilot study, looking at the impact of an appearance-focussed intervention designed to encourage safer alcohol consumption in students. The researchers are focusing on appearance following their previous research looking at smoking and UV exposure behaviours (Grogan et al., 2011a, 2011b; Flett et al., 2013, 2017; Williams et al., 2012, 2013a, 2013b, 2013c, 2014), which found that young people are more likely to be persuaded to change their health behaviours if they believe that carrying out that particular behaviour will damage their appearance.

Students taking part in the current study were shown how their skin may age if they drank in excess of the recommended guidelines, compared to how their skin may age if they drank within the considered healthy limits. They were able to see themselves ageing from their current age, up to the age of 72 years. Participants were recorded during the sessions, so that the researchers could hear how participants responded to the intervention as they viewed it. The researchers are currently in the process of analysing and writing up their findings. In the future, we plan to expand the research to compare the effectiveness of the appearance-focussed intervention with a health-focussed intervention, where participants read about the health impacts of binge drinking and drinking above the recommended alcohol limits.

The UK government guidelines state that to keep health risks from alcohol to a low level it is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis, and that if you regularly drink as much as this, it is best to spread your drinking evenly over three or more days. If you are interested in finding out more about the recommendations or have any concerns about your alcohol consumption during this festive season and beyond, then please visit www.drinkaware.co.uk


Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology

Staffordshire University’s Centre for Health Psychology is a centre of excellence for 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 Centre for Health Psychology is part of the Stafford shire Centre for Psychological Research.

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:

New sun protection intervention research seeking participants aged 34 years and older

Dr Alison Owen

A new research study conducted in collaboration with Dr Alison Owen (Lecturer in Psychology, Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research & Centre for Health Psychology) is seeking volunteers aged 34 years and above – Alison blogs about the study below:

Dr Alison Owen completed her PhD in 2013, under the  supervision of Prof. Sarah Grogan, Prof. David Clark-Carter and Dr Emily Buckley. Alison’s PhD involved researching ways in which to help people to improve their sun protection behaviours in order to encourage them to improvd their sun protection and UV exposure behaviours (e.g. Sun bathing, using sun beds). The main intervention used in the PhD involved showing participants images of how their faces may age if they exposed their skin to the sun, compared to how their faces might age if they protect their skin. The piece of software used, AprilAge, lets participants view projected images of themselves up to the age of 72 years, comparing images of them 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 the PhD supervision team found some really positive findings, with participants reporting significantly higher intentions to use sun protection after viewing the intervention.

One of Dr Owen’s suggestions for future research in her PhD was to look at the effectiveness of the intervention in older men and women, over the age of 34 years. Dr Owen’s research focussed on participants aged 18-34 years, as well as a group of adolescent participants aged 11-14 years, as there is evidence that people who have ever used a sunbed have an increased risk of melanoma (the most serious form of skin cancer) and this risk is even higher in people who have started using sun beds before the age of 35. However it is also really important to fully investigate the impact of the intervention, and to see if it has even more potential, in older people alongside those who are aged 34 years and under.

Researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University are building on Dr Owen’s research and are investigating the impact of the intervention on people aged between 35 and 61 years old. PhD student Sofia Persson is working with Prof. Sarah Grogan and Dr Yael Benn to carry out the research. Like with Dr Owen’s research, Sofia is carrying out both quantitative and qualitative research with men and women, to see how effective it is in this group of people.

Interested in taking part in this study?

Sofia Persson will be visiting Staffordshire University on Wednesday 1st November to recruit participants for their research. The study will consist of discussing the negative effects of UV exposure and the positive effects of sun protection, as well as compelling measures of sun protection and UV exposure immediately, four weeks and six months after the session. The initial session will take around 30 minutes and all follow-up measures will be completed online. Upon completion of the measures, participants will be entered into a prize draw with the opportunity to win a £30 gift voucher.

If you are aged between 35 and 61 years, and are available for a thirty minute slot on the 1st November, then please contact Sofia on sofia.persson@stu.mmu.ac.uk or Dr Owen on alison.owen@staffs.ac.uk for further information.


Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology

Staffordshire University’s Centre for Health Psychology is a centre of excellence for 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 Centre for Health Psychology is part of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research.

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:

Professor Karen Rodham writes for The Conversation UK

Professor Karen Rodham

Professor Karen Rodham (Professor of Health Psychology & Director of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research) has written a short article for The Conversation UK about the rise in chronic health conditions in animals (similar to the rise noted in humans).

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 Karen’s article is the first article written by a member of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research to be published by The Conversation. Read the full article below:

The Conversation: Just like humans, more cats and dogs are living with chronic health conditions

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


Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology

Staffordshire University’s Centre for Health Psychology is a centre of excellence for 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 Centre for Health Psychology is part of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research.

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:

The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research’s Visiting Speaker Series Kicks off September 2017

The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research is pleased to announce a new series of Visiting Speaker research talks starting in September 2017.

The Visiting Speaker Series of talks are open to anyone who has an interest in Psychology, including staff and students at Staffordshire University, as well as members of the public. The series features a range of internal and external speakers from around the UK, and beyond, who visit Staffordshire University to discuss their research and their latest findings – so this is a fantastic opportunity to hear about the latest, cutting-edge psychological research!

This year we have a range of fantastic speakers discussing a broad range of topics, covering virtually all areas of Psychology, including Forensic and Criminal Psychology, Health Psychology, Developmental and Social Psychology.

The series kicks off on Thursday 21st September, with talks taking place every two weeks in the Ground Floor Lecture Theatres in the Science Centre:

What can we learn from studying the pathway to intended violence in mass shooters?

Dr Clare Allely, University of Salford, 4pm-5pm, 21st September, R002 Science Centre.

Understanding and enhancing the health and well-being of gay and other men who have sex with men: Contemporary perspectives from psychology and public health.

Dr Iain Williamson, De Montfort University, 4pm-5pm, 5th October, R002 Science Centre.

More details (speakers, topics and locations) of our 2017/18 series can be found here. Please note that talks may be subject to change – please follow our @StaffsPsych twitter feed for reminders about the #StaffsVSS talks where any changes to talks will be advertised.

Join the conversation using our #StaffsVSS hashtag! We’ll be live tweeting from each talk via @StaffsPsych.


The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research is home to research activity in the Psychology Department at Staffordshire Centre. The Centre is home to a number of research-active psychologists who are engaged in research across a wide range of psychological subdisciplines. The Centre has two overarching research streams: Health and Behaviour Change and Applied Perception and Cognition.

The Centre provides training for PhD students, Research Masters degrees, as well as Professional Doctorates in Clinical and Health Psychology (click here for more details). The Centre also provides bespoke training to private and public organisations, as well as expertise for consultancy research opportunities. For more details about the Centre, its research activities, events and consultancy, please visit our website (click here).

Sarah Higgins voted Chair of the Association of Technical Staff in Psychology (ATSiP)

http://www.staffs.ac.uk/staff/profiles/sjh2.jsp

Sarah Higgins

Congratulations to Sarah Higgins, Psychology Technical Skills Specialist and a member of Staffordshire University’s Centre for Psychological Research, who was recently voted as Chair of the Association of Technical Staff in Psychology (ATSiP).

ATSiP was formed in 1976 to facilitate the sharing of knowledge to overcome technical problems within the Psychology discipline. ATSiP comprises of technicians and interested parties working in the Psychology departments at academic institutions from across the UK and Ireland.

The association hosts annual conferences and co-presents national awards with the BPS to recognise the valuable roles that Psychology technicians play in supporting research and teaching activities in academic institutions.

Sarah will commence her role with immediate effect and commented:

“It is an honour to have been voted as the Chair of ATSiP. I am excited by the opportunity to further promote the inspiring work conducted by Psychology technicians and to represent the interests of the association’s members.”

 


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.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details, and to book your place at an open day, please visit: http://www.staffs.ac.uk/openyourmind/

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