Dr Amy Burton writes about how participants shared feelings of intense pressure regarding the accepted length of time to breastfeed.
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 UK and you can read the full article below:
Written by Matthew Kimberley, Psychology PhD Researcher
I am currently in the second year of my PhD at Staffordshire University. Every PhD at Staffs is completely different and is tailored to the researcher. You choose your own research area and much of the design and the direction of the PhD is directed by the research, with support offered by your supervisors.
range of research being conducted within the department at Staffordshire
University allows you to interact with researchers with different research interests
and methodologies. Through interactions with your fellow researchers, you are
able to share your experiences and learn from one another. This may include
sharing methodology/analysis experiences or methods of recruitment.
During a PhD at Staffordshire University, you work closely with your supervision team at all stages of research and receive a great deal of feedback. My supervision team consists of Doctor Jade Elliott, Doctor Samuel Jones and Doctor Zachary Parker. During your PhD, you gain a great deal of support and mentorship from your supervisors. Having more than supervisor allows you to gain insight from several viewpoints which is useful when shaping your research.
PhD allows you to dedicate a large proportion of your time to your research and
to focus your attention to answering your research question. My research
examines the factors which influence whether an individual shares their sexual
fantasies with their partner. To accomplish this, I am primarily using
quantitative research methods, such as quantitative content analysis and
multiple regression analysis.
PhD, I also teach part-time in the Psychology department. This has allowed me
to gain valuable teaching experience and provided me with a number of training
opportunities. I am particularly interested in gaining HEA associate fellowship
in the near future.
alongside my supervisors, my research currently focuses on the disclosure of
sexual fantasies. In particular, I am interested in examining which factors may
influence how likely individuals are to share their fantasies with an intimate
initial year of my PhD at Staffordshire University, I conducted a systematic
review which aimed to examine which factors influenced self-disclosure within
sexual and/or romantic relationships (Kimberley et al., in preparation). This
review highlighted that very little research has examined which factors
influence the disclosure of sexual fantasies.
Given that a
large proportion of individuals regularly experience sexual fantasies (97%-
Lehmiller, 2018) and that sexual fantasies and sexual self-disclosure act as
relationship maintenance and enhancement tools, it is important to conduct research
to examine which factors may inhibit or promote the disclosure of sexual
methodologies commonly used by HIV research, my first study aimed to identify
the reasons participants provided for disclosing (or not disclosing) their
sexual fantasies. This study also asked participants how their partner
responded (or how they believed their partner would respond) to these
disclosures. Recruitment has recently ended for this study, and I am now
beginning to start analysis of the data using content analysis. Understanding
the reasons people hold for hiding their sexual fantasies from a partner is
crucial for developing an understanding of why some people disclose and others
I have also
recently received ethical approval for a second study, which examines how
relationship characteristics (e.g. trust, love or perceptions of one’s partner)
may influence an individual’s likelihood of disclosing their sexual fantasies.
Recruitment for this study has started recently. Within this study,
participants are asked to reflect on their relationship with a regular partner
and to respond to hypothetical scenarios involving the disclosure of various
sexual fantasies. To participate, you must be aged over 18 and currently in a
sexual and/or romantic relationship. You do not need to have previously
disclosed (or had) a sexual fantasy to take part.
If you would be interested in taking part, you can do so by accessing the following link (http://staffordshire.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2gK6xCjjZVTMvJA)
If you are a Staffordshire University student, you may also take part in the study through sona, where you can earn 2 sona credits. If you have any questions, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
HLecturer in Health Psychology at Staffordshire University, Dr Alison Owen, is working in collaboration with Dr Manpal Bhogal at the University of Wolverhampton, looking at some of the factors that might be related to tanning behaviours and sunbed use.
In 2013, researchers Dr Alison Owen, Professor David Clark-Carter and Dr Emily Buckley at Staffordshire University, with Professor Sarah Grogan of Manchester Metropolitan University, carried out research and found that almost a fifth (18.6%) of women had used a sunbed at least once in the past month, with the majority of participants agreeing that a tan looked good (80%), and that tanned people look healthy (71.4%) (Williams, Grogan, Clark-Carter & Buckley, 2013). The current researchers therefore felt that it would be interesting to explore some of the factors behind people feeling positively about tanning behaviours or choosing to use a sunbed.
Dr Owen and Dr Bhogal are combining two areas of psychology in their present research: Health Psychology and Evolutionary Psychology. Their study involves an online questionnaire that will ask participants about indoor sunbed use, attitudes towards tanning and topics such as self-esteem.
If you are over 18 and are interested in participating please complete the online questionnaire – it is open to all people, both those who use sunbeds as well as those who don’t, and just involves you answering a short survey.
Research carried out at Staffordshire University has looked at the impact in young people of a reduction in physical activity and an increase in sedentary behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research was carried out by Staffordshire University Health Psychology lecturer, Dr Alison Owen, alongside Dr Kathryn Bould, a lecturer in Psychology at Liverpool John Moores university.
The research involved looking at the results
of studies published since the start of the pandemic, to bring together the
findings of the pieces of research looking at physical activity and sedentary
behaviour in young people during the pandemic. Stockwell et al. (2021) define
physical activity as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscle that
results in energy expenditure, and can include exercising, walking, gardening
and doing household chores. Sedentary behaviours can be defined as any waking
behaviour with an energy expenditure of ≤1.5 metabolic equivalents while in a
sitting or reclining posture, including watching TV, video gaming and computer
use (Stockwell et al., 2021).
The studies showed that children’s physical
activity behaviours have lessened significantly during these times, while their
sedentary behaviours have risen significantly. For example one study (Moore et
al., 2020), found that only 4.8% (2.8% girls, 6.5% boys) of children and 0.6%
(0.8% girls, 0.5% boys) of youth were meeting combined movement behaviour
guidelines during COVID-19 restrictions. They found that children had lower
physical activity levels, less outside time, higher sedentary behaviours
(including leisure screen time), and more sleep during the COVID-19 outbreak.
In their report, Dr Owen and Dr Bould made
some suggestions for ways to encourage and foster physical activity in both
children and their families, for example by showing people different ways of
staying active and offering other opportunities for physical activity, as well
as ensuring the feeling of staying safe and being protected.
The work has
been published in the British Journal
of Child Health. If you are interested in reading the full article, or have any
questions about the study then please contact Dr Alison Owen –
Moore, S., Faulkner, G., & Rhodes R
(2020). Impact of the COVID-19 virus outbreak on movement and play behaviours
of Canadian children and youth: a national survey. International Journal of
Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 17(1), 85.
Stockwell, S., Trott, M. & Tully, M. (2021).
Changes in physical activity and sedentary behaviours from before to during the
COVID-19 pandemic lockdown: a systematic review. BMJ Open Sport &
Exercise Medicine. 7:e000960.
Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology
I am Bee Swann-Thomas and I am currently in my second year of studying for a PhD in Psychology. My research interest is exploring whether having a memorial tattoo has an impact upon the grieving process.
I have previously researched this topic for my MSc in Psychotherapeutic Counselling at Staffordshire University. What sparked my interest was the death of my Dad and having a memorial tattoo in his memory. Memorial tattoos have a very personal meaning to me, and I am pleased to have recently had my paper published in Mortality Journal.
The findings from this research showed that memorial tattoos can be a valuable therapeutic aid in the grieving process. They can serve as a permanent physical reminder of a loved one, help with continuing bonds, allow the deceased a virtual afterlife, help in the adjustment to loss, serve as a tool of communication, and be an embodied representation of change. Memorial tattoos empower the bereaved to emerge from the loss of a loved one with a ‘beautiful scar’.
Conducting my MSc research
was really fascinating, and it was an honour to hear peoples’ stories of love
and loss. As a result, I have decided to continue my research for my PhD.
I would like to invite you to participate in my research that is being conducted in the Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University. I am interested in the experience of individuals (aged 18 years or over) who have experienced the loss of a loved one and have had a memorial tattoo in their memory. I will be researching five different categories of bereavement: Perinatal loss, Loss through suicide, Military Loss, Cremation ashes tattoos and Loss through Covid-19.
The research will involve a one-to-one interview conducted remotely via the Microsoft Teams platform. The interview will last approximately 1 hour, where you will be asked questions relating to your loved one and your memorial tattoo. You will also be asked to provide a photograph of your memorial tattoo which will be included within the research.
My PhD programme is funded by the university and my aims are to explore important psychological factors affecting motivation to attend and complete diabetes prevention programmes (DPPs), with a particular focus on the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHSDPP). This a national programme consisting of a minimum of 13 group sessions over a 9-month period and aims to encourage those at high risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM), to make healthier lifestyle changes.
Diabetes prevention is currently a key priority both nationally and internationally. By maximising the number of people that start (i.e., uptake) and complete (i.e., retention) DPPs like the NHSDPP, this will ensure these programmes are both clinically effective and financially viable.
The published systematic review is the first to investigate recruitment strategies and behaviour change techniques associated with higher uptake and retention in Diabetes Prevention Programmes. Behaviour change techniques are key active ingredients of behaviour change and are now increasingly considered in behaviour change programmes.
Some of the key review findings were that problem-solving, demonstrating the behaviour, practising the behaviour, reducing negative emotions and using incentives for participation were more commonly found techniques in programmes with a lower number of drop-outs. By clinicians and programme organisers incorporating these techniques into their programmes, this will help towards achieving higher completion rates.
My following studies are currently being analysed and written up and will further explore the individual factors that affect participant motivation to attend and complete programmes like the NHSDPP.
If you would like to read the paper you can access it here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168822720305234
My name is Matt and I have just finished my undergraduate degree in Psychology with a first and I started my PhD in psychology in September (also at Staffs). During my time at Staffs I have fallen in love with the research side of psychology and this helped me set my sights on completing a PhD in psychology. To do this I knew research experience would be extremely helpful! Thanks to the experience gained from completing the research internships (and one terrifying interview!) I have been accepted onto the Psychology PhD course at Staffordshire University and am due to start my research into the barriers people face in the disclosure of their sexual fantasies.
My experience completing two research internship during my undergraduate studies:
The first of these was during the summer of 2019 where I assisted Dr. Jade Elliott and Dr. Erica Lucas with their project which examined the influence of glucose on reasoning. This involved assisting with the transcription and coding of audio recordings of participants. Scores were then inputted into a spreadsheet. This internship really helped me to improve my skills in the management and organisation of data. This was incredibly useful during the data analysis stage of my third-year project which produced a very large database.
This year I applied for a research internship with Dr Sam Jones. This project looks at Digital Literacy. Through this summer, I have been helping Sam to find research into digital literacy and summarise and present this in a clear manner. I have found tables especially helpful for this as a means of presenting all the studies and the key information associated. As this is a new area of research for both myself and Sam, I have particularly enjoyed learning more about the area alongside Sam and sharing our findings through weekly teams meetings. Through this internship and my meetings with Sam, I feel my literature searching skills and the way that I organise research has improved massively. This will be very helpful next year when I am conducting a literature review for my own research! Through my work on this internship, I am being made a named author on the upcoming first journal article.
completing both research internships, my skills in literature searching and the
management of research and data have improved. This has proved incredibly
useful during my studies and will be useful when conducting my own research
next year. If anyone is considering doing a research internship next year, I
highly recommend it! Especially if you will be completing your third-year
project the following year or are considering a career in research. The skills
you will gain working alongside the lecturers will be incredibly helpful!
Erasmus experience is an opportunity that European universities give you as a
result of an agreement between them. It consists of experiencing half a course
or an entire course at a university in another country of the European Union.
In my case, I come from Spain and I chose to study my third year of the
Psychology degree at Staffordshire University.
Erasmus is an experience at an academic and personal level. It allows you to
enjoy university life from a different perspective, and it gives you
opportunities that the university system of your country probably doesn’t have,
which can differentiate you from the rest in the future.
The first days are a non-stop, so I recommend to arrive a few days before to have time to see the city, familiarise yourself with the means of transport and settle in what will be your home for a few months. After those days, in my case, I had two weeks of “welcome week” at the university, one as an international student and another as a Staffordshire student. In those weeks, I got to know the campus and meet many other students, some international and other locals that helped me a lot to adapt. I want to take this opportunity to thank all the Staffordshire University staff for having made this adaptation process so easy and enjoyable and for helping me with everything I needed, especially Romina, my tutor, who is an excellent professional.
great opportunity is the extracurricular activities, and in Staffordshire
University they have a great variety of societies that are clubs created by the
students themselves to meet people with their same interests or hobbies. They
range from sports clubs to clubs where they organize trips to visit the
country’s various amusement parks or where they hold meetings to watch movies
or record short films. I was interested in the Cheerleading team, and even
though I had never considered being a cheerleader, I found it exciting and fun,
so I joined the team and discovered a sport that I love. Let the experience
surprise you, be open to things you didn’t expect, or you hadn’t thought about
because look at me, we compete in nationals!
last tip, I will tell you to be yourself, to enjoy to the fullest and to strive
with studies and language, it is enriching to show yourself that you can. Take
advantage of every moment and make mistakes if necessary. Travel a lot and get
to know every corner of your city until you find your favourite. And most
importantly, live it like it’s gonna happen in two minutes because I’m sure
that’s the feeling we’ll get when we get back home.
A fantastic experience!! Staffs MSc Health Psychologycourse has broadened my social network, enhanced my research skills and taught me to apply psychological knowledge in the real world.
I’m a recent MSc Health Psychology graduate with research interests in experimental psychology and promoting healthy food choices. On completion of my BSc in Psychology at Leeds Beckett, I was keen to continue my studies with the aim of becoming a chartered psychologist. After exploring several career pathways, I decided to apply for the MSc in Health Psychology. Following this, I took a year out to work and save up for the course. I joined Staffs as a new student in September 2019 enrolling as a full-time student living in Shelton, near the Stoke-on-Trent campus.
“The Effect of Health Priming on Visual Attention and
Food Choice: An Eye-Tracking Experiment”
During recent years, rising rates of obesity have
contributed to various health complications such as cancer. This issue could be
explained by our current living environment, which constantly advertises
unhealthy foods, making it more likely for us to choose and consume them. At
present, there are no successful methods for guiding consumers to make healthy,
rather than unhealthy food choices. Therefore, it is really important to find new
ways to achieve this.
Research suggests that health priming (e.g. showing someone
the word ‘healthy’) can increase visual attention towards healthy foods and prompt
people to choose them. Studies have also found health priming effects to be more
pronounced in dieters because being healthy is more important to them.
Therefore, it may be useful to target health priming interventions at this
group. However, this is a new area of research. More evidence is needed before
health priming can be considered as a tool for reducing obesity.
My project involved students choosing between healthy and
unhealthy foods, whilst either being shown a health prime (the words ‘healthy
recipe’), a prime unrelated to health (the words ‘new recipe’) and no prime (no
words). The primes were shown on a banner like an advert and the task was made
to look like an online supermarket. Whilst students were making their food
choices, an eye-tracker was used to measure visual attention (how long students
looked at the foods). A questionnaire was then used to assess whether students
were dieters or non-dieters.
Two forms of quantitative analysis called ANOVA and mixed
ANOVA were used to analyse the food choice, eye-tracking and dieting data collected.
Health primes did not guide people to make
healthy food choices.
Health primes did increase visual attention for healthy
Health primes guided non-dieters to choose
healthy foods, but not dieters (suggesting it may be counterproductive to
target health priming interventions at dieters).
Health primes did not increase visual attention
for healthy foods in dieters or non-dieters.
This research provides a valuable contribution where current
knowledge is limited. The key finding that a health prime increased visual
attention for healthy foods in an online supermarket has important implications
for potential intervention design. For example, health primes could be used to
effectively steer consumer attention towards healthy foods.
Future research should investigate health priming in real
world settings and its effectiveness over time. The current findings could then
combine with future research to provide a tool for guiding consumers to make
healthier food choices and reduce obesity.
My top tips for students considering the MSc:
Make connections! Get
in touch with staff and students. Ask about the university. Ask about the
course. Contact me about my experience.
your learning. Having my finances and living arrangements sorted prior to the course
start date really helped me to focus on my assignments.
course offers you every opportunity for success.
Join a society. Attend guest speaker lectures. Try out new research equipment. Explore
new topics. Present your research.
Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology
Written by Sophia Thomas, Psychology Schools and Colleges Champion.
I joined Staffordshire University in July 2020
as the psychology departments Schools and Colleges Champion.
I graduated from Staffordshire University with BSc (hons) Psychology and Criminology in 2016 and from the University of Gloucestershire MSc Forensic Psychology in 2018. I am now studying at Hartpury University for my MRes Anthrozoology (which is the study of human-animal interactions), and I am about to start my dissertation, looking at the therapeutic effects of interacting with animals in young people/adults.
I worked as a community youth worker between
2016 and 2019 with children aged 5 – 16, supporting on the outdoor education
program and running the community groups, small target groups and holiday
clubs. Between 2017 – 2018 I also worked as a Family Support Worker at HMP
Leyhill and have been working as a community carer and school cover supervisor
from November 2019 until joining Staffordshire University.
I am very excited to start visiting schools and colleges to run sessions on psychology at Staffs!
Fun facts about me:
I have a house rabbit called Tonic, soon to be joined by a Tortoise (yet to be named!).
I have spent several nights with a baby baboon sleeping in my bed when I was volunteering in Namibia at an animal sanctuary (so I now have the very useless knowledge of how to put a nappy on a baboon to make it less messy having one for a sleepover!).
I was an extra in the film The Libertine with Johnny Depp and Johnny Vegas when I was 10. They were filming a scene in a village near where I grew up and we ended up nearby on the day of filming so myself and my brother got to be extras.
Are you a school or college and would like to arrange a talk, workshop, visit? Please get in touch: email@example.com