Centre for Health and Behaviour Change

There is a thriving, internationally recognised health psychology research group in Psychology. 

Our mission is to develop and apply psychological theory and methods to health and social behaviours. Areas of research include Health Psychology, Clinical Psychology, and Neuropsychology.‌

  • What factors explain physical activity in individuals with chronic conditions?‌‌
  • How is the appraisal of illness related to health care seeking behaviour?
  • Why do some mothers breastfeed whilst others don't?

  • How can we increase physical activity in patients with intermittent claudication?
  • How can we promote emergency service contact when suspecting acute illness?
  • What are the best ways to increase uptake of breastfeeding in new mothers?‌‌

  • How can we sustain physical activity change following initial intervention?
  • What is an effective way to support maintenance of weight loss?
  • How can we increase resilience to maintain breastfeeding after initiation?‌‌

  • What is the best way to measure quality of life (QoL) after brain injury?
  • What are the determinants of outcome following liver transplantation?
  • Does cardiac arrest lead to cognitive impairment?‌

Our research

Our research has been funded by a wide variety of sources including the ESRC, MRC, Chief Scientist Office, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, NHS, Nuffield and Leverhulme. We run an MSc in Health Psychology and an MSc in Psychological Therapy and Primary Care. We welcome PhD applications, and offer supervision of Stage 2 training in Health Psychology.


Purpose-built Health Laboratory, Close collaborative links with NHS partners, including Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Western General Hospital in Edinburgh and Ninewells Hospital, Dundee.


  • Anticipated Regret to Increase CRC Screening (ARTICS)
  • Improving Adherence to Medication in stroke Survivors (IAMSS)
  • Increasing organ donation via anticipated regret (The INORDAR Project)
  • A pilot telephone intervention to increase uptake of breast cancer screening in Scotland (TELBRECS)
  • A large European project that aims to improve the care for patients with Traumatic Brain Injury - (CENTER-TBI)
  • Investigating secondary prevention practices of vascular surgeons in the treatment of peripheral arterial disease
  • Intensive versus conventional glycaemic control for treating diabetic foot ulcers
  • Illness beliefs of patients with Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
  • The influence of message framing on intention to quit smoking in patients with peripheral arterial disease
  • Development of interventions to reduce patient delay with symptoms of Acute Coronary Syndrome: identifying optimal content and mode of delivery
  • Preventing alcohol-related harm among young women: development and feasibility testing of a community-based group intervention.
  • Stirling Behavioural Medicine Research Group (SBMRG). 

Members of Health and Behaviour Change

‌‌Academic Staff

Rachel Crockett: healthy eating, physical activity and understanding population level interventions to change health behaviours.
Sinéad Currie:the application of health psychology into maternity care.
Stephan Dombrowski: behaviour change interventions, behavioural and weight loss maintenance, health care service use for acute conditions
William Goodall Joint Course Director - MSc Psychological Therapy in Primary Care
Freda McManus:  cognitive behavioural interventions for anxiety and depression; training therapists to implement evidence based psychological interventions.
Ronan O’Carroll: behavioural medicine, psychological sequelae of medical/ surgical events, medication adherence, improving health outcomes.
Vivien Swanson: Psychological wellbeing and models of behaviour change in relation to promoting health behaviours and coping with long-term conditions.
Lindsay Wilson: Neuropsychology, functional outcome, and quality of life after brain injury.

Postgraduate students

Carol Jasper, Lucy Dickinson, Lindsay Horton, Emma Scott-Smith, Julie McLellan, Shubhanna Hussain-Ahmed.
Catriona Snodin:  Resilience, Behaviour change, Breastfeeding

Research Staff:

Wendy Maltinsky: health psychology and behavioural change training as well as research and education in diabetes.

Honorary Staff

Dr Peter Griffiths:  paediatric neuropsychology; neurodevelopmental disorder, especially phenylketonuria; and treatment of elimination disorders in children
Professor Ivana Markova: social representations; language and communication
Professor Kevin Power: the effectiveness of cognitive behaviour therapy for anxiety, panic and post-traumatic stress disorders

Postgraduate Provision:

We run MSc programmes in Health Psychology and Psychological Therapy in Primary Care and welcome PhD applications.

Example PhD projects

Contact us

Ronan O'Carroll

Professor of Psychology
Health and Behaviour Change
University of Stirling Stirling, FK9 4LA Scotland

01786 467683