Health Psychology Research Group
- Dr Paula Corcoran
- Dr Catherine Hurt
- Dr Renata Pires-Yfantouda
- Dr Catherine Sykes
- Dr Alice Simon
- Dr Vanessa Bogle (external website: The Academy For Health Coaching)
- Dr Clare Eldred (external website: LinkedIn)
(See below for details of current research activities)
- Kalsoom Akhter
- Barbara Brafman-Kennedy
- Caroline Brett
- Beatrice Chapman
- Penelope Chew
- Roy Chilton
- Amanda Douglas
- Rosie Freedman
- Rhia Gohel
- Belinda Hemingway
- Hollie Ingoldby
- Jananezwary Kanapathy
- Farah Khokhar-Cottrell
- Parmpreet Marway
- Katherine Myers
- Kika Partakis
- Pamela Portelli
- Sumira Riaz
- Jan Smith
- Stephanie Smith
- Vanessa Taylor-Brown
- Maria Tziggili
- Davina Wong
- Janelle Wyke-Joseph
- Sonia Zafar
Research and teaching
The group's research and postgraduate teaching have a useful synergism. The longstanding MSc in Health Psychology/Psychology and Health has a substantial annual intake. The MSc provides a focus for 25-30 small-scale research projects each year supervised and co-supervised by group members.
The Doctorate in Health Psychology (Stage 2 training) programme creates further opportunities for trainee health psychologists to master their research and professional skills. The group also plays an active role in the Department's Professional Doctorate in Psychology Programme (DPsych) and PhD programmes, providing further opportunities to carry out research across a variety of health care settings.
The group often works with external supervisors such as Dr Vanessa Bogle and Dr Clare Eldred who are lead practitioners in their field and combine their practice with research supervision.
Dr Alice Simon
Dr Simon's research is in the area of cancer care and control. She runs a wide-ranging research programme covering diverse issues; from interventions to improve early detection through to enhancing the psychosocial care of cancer survivors.
Public attitudes to cancer
Dr Simon's research on public attitudes and beliefs about cancer is carried out with a view to improving communication about cancer control. She is involved in research that measures cancer awareness both nationally and internationally. This research informs government public health policies such as the 'Be Clear on Cancer' campaigns commissioned as part of the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI) . She is also interested in symptom interpretation and patient delay and works on developing interventions in primary care to encourage early help-seeking for cancer symptoms.
Psychosocial care of cancer patients and survivors
Dr Simon's research in the cancer patient population has included a longitudinal exploration of the impact of socio-economic status on quality of life as well as work to develop interventions to improve healthy lifestyles in cancer survivors. Her current interests in this area include an investigation of the financial strain experienced by cancer survivors as well as the effects of chemotherapy on cognition.
Active research projects:
- Financial strain in cancer patients
- The effects of chemotherapy on cognition
- Benchmarking levels of cancer awareness and beliefs in the UK population
- International comparisons of cancer awareness and beliefs as part of the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership in the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Sweden
- Development and validation of cancer awareness measures
- Primary care intervention to increase prompt presentation with symptoms of gynaecological cancers
Dr Catherine Hurt
Dr Hurt's research has largely focused on neurodegenerative diseases. She collaborates closely with researchers, clinicians and service users at King's College London, King's College Hospital, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Trust and Parkinson's UK.
Patient and carer perceptions of neurodegenerative diseases
Dr Hurt has explored how patients with mild cognitive impairment and Parkinson's disease make sense of their conditions. She is particularly focused on how illness beliefs can affect subjective well-being. She has recently begun to look at the impact of unrealistic beliefs on well-being.
Coping behaviour in neurodegenerative diseases
Dr Hurt has examined the forms of coping used by patients with neurodegenerative diseases and how these might be affected by cognitive impairment.
Determinants of quality of life
Dr Hurt's research has explored broad determinants of quality of life in Parkinson's disease and dementia. She has recently begun to investigate quality of life after cardiac surgery.
Dr Hurt has explored factors which predict help-seeking for subjective memory complaints and more recently disclosure of non-motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease.
Active Research Projects:
- Uncertainty of illness and its impact on carers of patients with Parkinson's disease.
- Quality of life after aortic valve replacement (Collaboration with Cardiology, St George's Healthcare NHS Trust).
- Effects of chemotherapy on cognitive function in cancer patients.
Dr Catherine Sykes
Dr Sykes started her research career working on projects funded by the European Commission in the field of health promotion and dementia. Her current research focuses on patient empowerment and involvement, health service improvement and health psychology intervention evaluation.
Dr Sykes has investigated the effectiveness of a smoking cessation programme based on cognitive behavioural therapy. She managed a Randomised Controlled Trial based in a deprived area of London.
Dr Sykes has analysed the discourses used in health promotion and how the discourses position recipients of health promotion and those charged with delivering health promotion.
Dr Sykes has investigated the effectiveness of psychological interventions for childhood obesity and concluded that further investment is needed to improve current research and find new, more imaginative ways to research childhood obesity.
Dr Sykes explored the determinants in carer burden of informal carers of people with Alzheimers' Disease and Related Disorders in 15 European Member States. A high sense of coherence was found to be protective against carer burden.
Patient empowerment and involvement
Empowering the users of healthcare service users is the central motivation of Dr Sykes' research. She has been involved in several research projects that look to understand the patient's experience. She has developed a measure to assess patient involvement in healthcare decision-making.
Health psychology intervention evaluation
Dr Sykes has been involved in several research projects that assess the effectiveness of interventions based on health psychology theory. She has also developed cognitive behavioural therapy manuals for the treatment of patients with chronic diseases. More recently she has become interested in interventions that incorporate social media and technology.
- An investigation into the experience of pregnant women suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum
- The experience of seeking help for Hyperemesis Gravidarum
- The usefulness of online coping information for women with Hyperemesis Gravidarum
- A systematic review of the effectiveness of smartphone applications for weight loss
- The effectiveness of mindfulness interventions for diabetes management.
Dr Renata Pires-Yfantouda
Dr Pires-Yfantouda's research interests include behaviour change, particularly in relation to addictions (smoking cessation, drugs and alcohol), and acquired brain injury and chronic disease management (diabetes, chronic pain, chronic fatigue).
She is interested in the use of motivational interviewing and other types of therapy (including cognitive behaviour therapy) in relation to health behaviours and addictions.
She has a particular interest in adjustment to physical health difficulties across the lifespan.
Dr Paula Corcoran
Dr Corcoran's research interests include the social representations of heroin use. She is currently exploring the role of control amongst heroin users. She is also involved in research with the William Harvey Foundation exploring why members of the public take part in clinical trials. Dr Corcoran is also part of a research group at the Centre for Self- Management Support in Cambridge. Their current interests are self-management and shared decision-making in the health setting.
She is currently co-supervising Sara Amalie O' Toole Thommessen's PhD with Dr Brenda Todd on The Intergenerational Transmission of Refugee Trauma.