Funded PhD opportunity in the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, Department of Psychology

We are delighted to welcome applications for a funded PhD opportunity in the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, Department of Psychology, for an anticipated September 2017 start date.

The PhD project is titled The role of social norms in reducing belief in conspiracy theories and will be supervised by Dr Daniel Jolley (Principal Supervisor, Lecturer in Psychology), Dr Robert Dempsey (Lecturer in Psychology) and Dr Rachel Povey (Associate Professor in Health Psychology).

Project Background:

Belief in conspiracy theories is widespread in society. Whilst belief in conspiracy theories may fulfil needs such as control (e.g., Whitson, et al., 2015), they are potentially dangerous; exposure to conspiracy theories reduces people’s engagement in a variety of behaviours, including vaccinations (e.g., Jolley & Douglas, 2014a, 2014b). Examining tools to address conspiracy theories is therefore timely. Broadly speaking, this novel project will therefore build on existing research by exploring the relationship between perceived social norms and conspiracy beliefs and develop interventions that will help combat the effects of conspiracy theories.

This PhD project has three phases:

  1. a systematic literature review,
  2. empirical studies understanding the psychological mechanisms underlying social norms and conspiracy beliefs,
  3. the development of attitudinal and behaviour change interventions (e.g., improving vaccine uptake).

This three year funded PhD and includes a fee waiver equivalent to the home/EU rate and a tax-free stipend of £14,553 p.a. over the three years of the project. In addition to their PhD studies, the successful applicant will also deliver up to six hours per week of teaching or teaching-related support and will join the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research which provides a supportive research environment in the Department of Psychology.

We recommend that you make contact with the Principal Supervisor (Dr Daniel Jolley, daniel.jolley@staffs.ac.uk), to receive the full project outline and/or to enquire about this PhD opportunity.

Applications

Details on how to apply (alongside qualification requirements) for the funded PhD opportunity can be found here. Applications (a CV and a covering letter) need to emailed to the Staffordshire University Graduate School by 4th August 2017 (details and the email address for the Graduate School can be found here).


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).

Dr Rachel Povey blogs on encouraging children to make healthy choices

Dr Rachel Povey (Associate Professor in Health Psychology & Co-director of Staffordshire University’s Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology) blogs about her recent research on encouraging healthy eating amongst schoolchildren and public engagement:

Last November I was invited to give an assembly at a primary school in Stockport, in order to promote their “healthy eating” week.  I hadn’t given an assembly before, and was apprehensive, but excited about speaking to 420 primary school children.

I produced a few colourful slides about making healthy eating choices, and together with Lisa Cowap, we launched our assembly. The fun part was luring the head teacher with an iced doughnut, and asking a number of children to come out and try and persuade her to eat an apple instead.

At the end of the assembly Lisa and I launched a competition where we asked children to design a poster advert to persuade people to eat fruit and vegetables. The competition was designed in collaboration with a local book shop (@simplybooksNo1) who donated vouchers to spend in their shop for the prizes. The competition inspired children to produce lots of brilliant artwork, with some also using excellent motivational messages.  A panel of independent judges rated the work, and a winner and two runners up were chosen. The winners were announced in an assembly in January, and all three winning entries are now on show in Simply Books café (see below). The experience was a rewarding one, and if it encourages even a few children to think about making healthy choices, it was worth it.

 


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:

A Training Programme for Practice Nurses: Motivating Dietary Change Among People with Type 2 Diabetes

[PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED]

Staffordshire University’s Centre for Health Psychology, in collaboration with Diabetes UK, are facilitating a training programme for Practice Nurses in July 2017.

Changing patients’ attitudes towards dietary change can be quite challenging for Practice Nurses. This training programme aims to address and examine the social, emotional and psychological obstacles that people with diabetes are challenged with when trying to change their diets. The day will also teach you some helpful techniques to encourage and motivate your patients and support them to make to the necessary changes to their dietary behaviour so they can live long and healthy lives.

The programme will be supported by an innovative Resource Pack which has been designed and developed by Dr Rachel Povey (Associate Professor in Health Psychology and Registered Health Psychologist). Resources from the pack will be described throughout the training day, and you will be given the opportunity to practise using them.  At the end of the training day you will be given your own Resource Pack to take home as well as a certificate of attendance.In addition, this study day will be a great opportunity for networking and to discuss professional issues, best practices and share experiences.

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 Event details

The event will be held at our Stoke on Trent, Leek Road Campus, ST4 2DF (Only a short walk away from the Stoke on Trent railway station accessible from Manchester, Birmingham and London)

Date: Wednesday 26th July 2017, 10am – 4:30pm

Delegate Fee: £125.00 – Includes lunch, refreshments and a Resource Pack

Time Activity
10:00 Introduction & Welcome
10:15 Session One:

  1. Type 2 diabetes & its management
  2. Dietary guidelines
  3. Your role as a nurse
  4. Introduction to motivating change
11:00 Refreshment Break
11:30 Session Two: Motivating change
12:30 Diabetes UK: Supporting Primary Care to Achieve Targets
13.00 Lunch
13:45 Session Three:

  1. Perceptions and misperceptions of dietary advice
  2. Putting the message across
14:45 Refreshment Break
15.15 Session Four:

  1. First steps
  2. Making and maintaining changes
16:15 Summary
16.30 CLOSE

Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

For any further information concerning this event please contact the events coordinator: Debra Hayes on d.l.hayes@staffs.ac.uk or 01782 294308.


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 BPS Accredited Stage 2 Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology.

The Centre for Health Psychology is part of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research and the School of Psychology, Sport and Exercise, one of the leading research-active academic schools for Psychology and Sport degrees situated in the heart of England.

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

“They think I’m a square for eating them” – New research into children’s beliefs about fruit and vegetables

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Dr Rachel Povey

This month, Dr Rachel Povey and Lisa Cowap have had their article “They think I’m a square for eating them”: Children’s beliefs about fruit and vegetables in England published in the British Food Journal. The article was written together with Lucy Gratton, a Public Health Development Officer from Staffordshire Public Health.

The article describes the results from an interview study where 9-11 year old children were asked about their views of fruit and vegetables. The children were all attending an after school club associated with a primary school in a deprived area in the West Midlands.

The results from the study were encouraging in that the children seemed to have a very good awareness of the health benefits of eating fruit and vegetables. However, children were also found to hold negative beliefs towards fruit and vegetables. Some of these beliefs were associated with the senses (such as taste and texture), for example, one child described eating a mushroom to be like “eating a small furry animal” and another suggested that mushrooms tasted like “slimy worms”.

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Parents were found to be positive influences on children’s eating habits, but surprisingly siblings and friends were sometimes shown to have negative influences, including teasing children for being “square” for eating fruit and vegetables. Recommendations from this study are to make fruit and vegetables more appealing to children, and also to develop interventions which focus on the influence of friends and siblings. Rachel Povey and Lisa Cowap are now developing this research further by designing and evaluating class-based healthy eating workshops for primary schools.

Both Rachel and Lisa are members of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research and the Centre for Health Psychology based at Staffordshire University. For more details of their study, please click on the below link:


Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology

Staffordshire University’s Centre for Health Psychology is a Psy1centre of excellence for teaching and research in Health Psychology, and is home to Staffordshire’s BPS Accredited Stage 1 MSc in Health Psychology and BPS Accredited Stage 2 Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology.

The Centre for Health Psychology is part of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research and the School of Psychology, Sport and Exercise, one of the leading research-active academic schools for Psychology and Sport degrees situated in the heart of England.

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

Growing Success at the Fourth Staffordshire Health Psychology Conference!

Dr Rachel Povey (Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology) reports on a successful conference held by Staffordshire University’s Centre for Health Psychology:

At the end of June, Staffordshire University’s 4th Health Psychology Conference took place in the Science Centre. This year the conference had grown to 50 delegates who included undergraduate and postgraduate students, graduates, and external partners. The conference had a real buzz about it and as well as the usual oral paper presentations, this year’s programme included posters and workshops for the first time. The conference organization for this year had also changed, with a group of health psychology trainees collaborating with me in the planning and running of the conference (Lisa Cowap, Nicola Stenberg and Harpreet Sohal).

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The oral programme was kicked off by Adam Boughey, a 4th year trainee who presented a behaviour change intervention using yoga for smoking cessation. A number of thought-provoking papers followed, some of which focused on outcomes of research, others were more reflective discussions from trainees on the Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology. The conference finished with a fascinating keynote from Dr Daniel Masterson, a Health Psychologist and recent graduate of the Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology. Daniel presented his interesting and challenging work as a health psychologist working in the novel environment of urban planning.

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Dr Daniel Masterson delivers his keynote talk on urban planning

Prizes were awarded to current PhD Student Sian Calvert for the best poster for her work investigating healthy eating behaviours and social norms in high schools, and to health psychology trainee Harpreet Sohal for the best oral paper. Overall, the conference was a great success, with lots of positive feedback including “one of the best conferences I have attended” and “it has inspired me to conduct further research”.  A great day all round!


 Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology

Staffordshire University’s Centre for Health Psychology is a Psy1centre of excellence for teaching and research in Health Psychology, and is home to Staffordshire’s BPS Accredited Stage 1 MSc in Health Psychology and BPS Accredited Stage 2 Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology. The Centre for Health Psychology is part of the School of Psychology, Sport and Exercise, one of the leading research-active academic schools for Psychology and Sport degrees situated in the heart of England.

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

Funded Bursary for a Trainee on the Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology at Staffordshire University

The Department of Psychology & Centre for Health Psychology at Staffordshire University are delighted to announce a second funded student bursary for Staffordshire’s highly successful Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology Programme.

The bursary has been provided by Stoke City Council and is worth £16K per annum for two years. The trainee will be working within the Safe and Healthy Communities Team, and will be providing academic support into two areas of work: healthy urban planning and public mental wellbeing. The successful applicant will join a team working with Dr. Daniel Masterson, a graduate from Staffordshire University’s Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology, and a registered Health Psychologist, who is currently working at Stoke City Council as a Senior Researcher.

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Dr Rachel Povey

Dr Rachel Povey, Co-Director of the Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology said: We are very excited about this new bursary. This bursary will not only result in strengthening our existing partnership with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and but will also provide an exciting opportunity for a health psychology trainee to gain their competences in an applied environment.”

How to Apply: Further details about the bursary and the application process are available here (click here). Please note that the closing date for receipt of applications is 12 noon on Thursday 14th July 2016.

For further information about this exciting opportunity please contact Dr Rachel Povey (r.povey@staffs.ac.uk).


The Home of Health Psychology – Staffordshire University

Staffordshire University’s Centre for Health Psychology is a Psy1centre of excellence for teaching and research in Health Psychology, and is home to Staffordshire’s BPS Accredited Stage 1 MSc in Health Psychology and BPS Accredited Stage 2 Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology. The Centre for Health Psychology is part of the School of Psychology, Sport and Exercise, one of the leading research-active academic schools for Psychology and Sport degrees situated in the heart of England.

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

“Like being in a foreign country”: Communication Issues for People who have had Strokes

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Dr Rachel Povey

Trainee Health Psychologist Louise Clancy together with her supervisor Dr Rachel Povey (Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology) are conducting research into the experiences of stroke patients with communication difficulties. Louise, whose placement is at Bradford Hospitals NHS Trust, has already conducted a systematic review and an interview study to examine patients’ communication difficulties, and is now recruiting for a quantitative study which looks at the differences in people with and without communication difficulties after having a stroke.

Communication difficulties after having a stroke are very common with about a third of stroke patients having problems with communicating including speaking, reading and understanding what other people are saying (known as aphasia). The interest for this research came from Louise’s experiences of working in a stroke rehabilitation setting both in the UK and Australia.

Louise explains: “via working in stroke care settings and conducting research in this area I have observed the physical, emotional, cognitive and social challenges faced as a consequence of stroke and have become passionate about facilitating the voices of this group in being heard”.

The findings from all three studies will be used to inform future training programmes for healthcare professionals who work with people with post-stroke aphasia.

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The systematic review was completed, together with Dr Greg Norris, a Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist, and looked at communication interventions developed for healthcare professionals working with patients with post stroke communication difficulties. The findings showed that these interventions were beneficial to staff and patients, although time and financial constraints are common issues which can be a key barrier to attending training. The interview study aimed to explore in depth the experiences of staff-patient communication within inpatient stroke care settings. Louise interviewed patients and carers as well as healthcare professionals in order to get an overall view of the issues.  The interviews gave an excellent insight into the issues faced by all three groups, with communication issues for people with stroke being likened to “being in a foreign country”. The final piece of research is being conducted using an online questionnaire and is aiming to look at the differences between people with and without communication difficulties after having a stroke.

Louise is conducting this research with the support of Dr Lyndsey Hall-Patch (Clinical Neuropsychologist) and her Academic Supervisor Dr Rachel Povey. If you have had a stroke, and would like to be a part of this interesting study, please go to: http://bit.ly/22gYrg0 to find out more details.


The Home of Health Psychology – Staffordshire University

Staffordshire University’s Centre for Health Psychology is a Psy1centre of excellence for teaching and research in Health Psychology, and is home to Staffordshire’s BPS Accredited Stage 1 MSc in Health Psychology and BPS Accredited Stage 2 Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology. The Centre for Health Psychology is part of the School of Psychology, Sport and Exercise, one of the leading research-active academic schools for Psychology and Sport degrees situated in the heart of England.

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

Me-Therapy: A new online mindfulness-based resource for people dealing with cancer

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Dr Rachel Povey

Trainee Health Psychologist Szilvia Vas together with her supervisor Dr Rachel Povey, Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology at Staffordshire University and member of the Centre for Health Psychology, are recruiting participants to trial their new mindfulness-based online resource “Me-Therapy”.

Me-therapy was originally conceptualized by Miss Vas and developed together with Dr Povey as a resource for improving body image and managing physical changes associated with cancer. The trial is being conducted jointly with CancerCare US, and is free for anyone who would like to take part.

Participating in this online program is a unique opportunity for anyone facing cancer, as it gives men and women the chance to work through some of the body-image changes that they might be struggling with during or after treatment,” says CancerCare Social Work Internship Programme Director, Maria Chi. The program provides tools to help people become more mindful of the present moment and how their thinking patterns directly affect what they’re feeling.”

Dec15 MeTherapy RP Blog

www.me-therapy.org

Me-therapy was inspired through Miss Vas’ work at the Douglas MacMillan Hospice in Stoke-on-Trent. The programme includes video clips, audio resources and mindfulness exercises to teach participants how to challenge unhelpful thoughts and behaviours that characterize negative body image. Participants are also provided with direct email support as they are provided with trained “body image buddies” to better address users’ unique needs.

Participants must be 18 years of age or older. To register, visit www.Me-therapy.org

For more details of this trial, please visit the Cancer Research UK website.


Staffordshire University is home to the Centre for Health Psychology, a centre of excellence for teaching and research in health psychology. For further information about Health Psychology courses and research at Staffordshire University please visit the following webpages:

Dr Sarah Dean: Reviewing Eye-Patching Treatment for Children with Amblyopia

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Dr Sarah Dean

Dr Sarah Dean, Senior Lecturer in Psychology and a member of Staffordshire University’s Centre for Health Psychology, summarises the findings from her recent review of research on patching treatment for children with amblyopia which has recently been published by the British Journal of Ophthalmology:

Amblyopia or ‘lazy eye’ is a condition that affects a lot of children. Children with amblyopia have poor vision in one eye and without treatment this vision does not develop, meaning they have an increased risk of blindness. Treatment for amblyopia often involves the child being prescribed to wear a patch over their ‘good’ eye for part of the day. This forces the child to use their ‘lazy eye’ which allows the vision to develop. Although this treatment has been found to work really well when used with children under 7 years old, a lot of people find it difficult to adhere to their prescribed treatment. I am exploring strategies to encourage children to complete the treatment.

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Getting young children to wear eye-patches can be quite difficult!

In our recent paper, myself and my colleagues, Dr Rachel Povey and Jessica Reeves, investigated how effective existing interventions which aimed to increase compliance to patching treatment in children with amblyopia were. We reviewed nine studies in our final sample, with interventions ranging from sticking the patch more tightly to the child’s face, changing aspects of the patching regime, to providing information for the child, family and friends. Our findings indicated that interventions that include an educational element may be most effective in encouraging children to keep wearing their eye-patches to treat amblyopia.


Dr Sarah Dean plans to continue working in this area. In her next study she plans to talk to young children who are undergoing patching treatment to find out more about their experiences of patching. Information from this next study will then help her to develop a new intervention to help children complete their patching treatment.

Read more about Sarah’s review via the British Journal of Ophthalmology’s website:

Dean, S.E., Povey, R. P., & Reeves, J. (in press). Assessing interventions to increase compliance to patching treatment in children with amblyopia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Ophthalmology. doi:10.1136/bjophthalmol-2015-307340


Staffordshire University is home to the Centre for Health Psychology, a centre of excellence for teaching and research in health psychology. For further information about Health Psychology courses and research at Staffordshire University please visit the following webpages:

Second Diabetes Training Day for Practice Nurses described as “Excellent”

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Dr Rachel Povey

Dr Rachel Povey, Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology, reports on a successful training event for nurses recently held at Staffordshire University:

On 22nd July 2015, Staffordshire University held a second successful training day for practice nurses on motivating dietary change for people with type 2 diabetes. The programme this year was attended by 14 practice nurses as well as the Senior Healthcare Professional Engagement Officer from Diabetes UK (Suj Ahmed). The training uses an innovative Resource Pack, originally developed by Dr Rachel Povey (course tutor), which is written specifically for practice nurses. Rachel and Lisa Cowap jointly developed the training programme in 2014, using examples from the pack to provide nurses with a range of psychological ‘tools’ which can be used to help motivate patients to make positive dietary changes in the self-management of their condition. This year’s programme was run by Rachel and Lisa, together with Sue Curtis, a Diabetes Specialist from Manchester Diabetes Centre.

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Dr Rachel Povey at the training event

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Lisa Cowap delivers her training session to the attendees

Suj Ahmed, Senior Healthcare Professional Engagement Officer from Diabetes UK stated that “The course is excellent. A good mixture of theory and practical experience for influencing behaviour change in diabetes patients by practice nurses”.He also conducted a straw poll during break discussions and reported that all attendees said they would definitely use some of the learning and techniques from the course to engage their patients to make dietary behaviour changes.

Evaluations of the programme from the nurses were also extremely positive, with a mean rating of 9.1/10, and some encouraging comments, including: “Excellent, should be attended by all Practice nurses” and “Handouts and materials provided are excellent and can be applied to practice.

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