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Personal profile


I am a Chartered Psychologist and a Principal Lecturer in Health Psychology.

My research interests are broad and have included psychological factors in eating disorders, disordered eating, weight regulation, physical activity, quality of life and haemophilia.

With my colleagues, Dr Sandra Van Os and Dr Helen Ellis-Caird, we have established the Psycho-Haematology Research Unit where, between us, we have carried out research on adherence, pain and pain management, quality of life and attitudes to testing in haemophilia, Von Willebrand disease, sickle cell disease and thalassemia.

Research interests

My research has spanned the role of life events, coping and crisis support in the aetiology of eating disorders, moving into social rank and attachment as well as stress- and trauma-responses more generally.  More recently I have been exploring self-compassion/reassurance, including strategies to improve these using expressive writing.

This recent interest has also led me to begin researching the role of music and songwriting on well-being. Several papers from this work are currently in the pipeline. Perhaps most satisfying is that this work has finally joined together two areas of interest. I've been a songwriter and musician longer than I've been a psychologist so now I get to do justice to both.

More recently, with Dr Sandra Van Os and Dr Helen Ellis-Caird in the Psycho-Haematology Research Unit, I have been developing research on psychological factors in blood disorders, in particular in haemophilia. These includes attitudes to testing for vCJD, adherence to prophylaxis, evaluating interventions for pain management and, most recently, evaluating an education programme to personalise treatment.

Teaching specialisms

I teach mainly health psychology and post-graduate research methods. I have also supervised a number of PhD students (3 currently and 10 completed) on the following:

  • The role of self-help in recovery from eating disorders
  • Body compassion and participation in sports in teenagers
  • Psychological and environmental factors in improving physical activity
  • Quality of life following treatment for coronary heart disease
  • A mixed methods study of adherence to prophylactic treatment among young people with haemophilia
  • Experiences of adolescent weight management: The perspectives of primary health care professionals, adolescents and parents
  • When the bells go down: Resilience and vulnerability in firefighters
  • Stress and affect systems in problematic weight regulation
  • Improvisation and problem solving
  • Weight gain, stress and dietary restraint
  • Towards curing the unthinkable: Reflections on the process of working with survivors of child sexual abuse
  • The structure and function of trauma-related avoidance
  • Posttraumatic growth


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