Health Psychology Research Group
We have a purpose-built health laboratory including a meeting space and four private testing rooms. The laboratory is well equipped with facilities including a treadmill, heart rate monitoring equipment, a weighing station, interview rooms with one-way mirrors and stress induction equipment. We have access to considerable further equipment within the department including a gait mat, mobile EEG and eye-tracker. Equipment is regularly reviewed and updated to meet changing research needs.
We also have access to the University of Stirling’s state of the art sport facilities, which received the UK Sports University of the Year award of the Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2020!
For our work in younger populations, we have access to a unique on-site Kindergarten, which is fully equipped with specific research rooms with one-way screens to allow tasks and observations of children’s play, decision making, and interactions in their familiar environment. See more about the Psychology Kindergarten.
Current staff members
Purva Abhyankar: informed and shared decision making about healthcare options, self-management and behaviour change in long-term conditions, health-services research.
Line Caes: childhood pain experience, parent-child interactions, coping with childhood chronic illnesses.
Elaine Cameron: I am interested in medication behaviours such as treatment adherence and prescribing in long-term conditions, antibiotic stewardship, and global health. I have expertise in evaluating intervention fidelity, and mixed methods and qualitative research.
Rachel Crockett: population level interventions to change health behaviours focussing on physical activity and healthy eating, mobility and healthy ageing, global health and food security.
Sinéad Currie: the application of health psychology into maternity care.
Hannah Durand: shared- and self-management of chronic illness across the lifespan, particularly treatment adherence and pain management.
Wendy Maltinsky: behavioural medicine and behavioural change with individuals and clinicians and as applied to areas of global health and digital health.
Lesley McGregor: cancer screening, health communication and informed health-related decision making.
Ronan O’Carroll: behavioural medicine, organ transplantation, cancer screening, medication adherence.
Gozde Ozakinci: I study community-based and citizen-led approaches to physical activity and health promotion. Another line of work I focus on is cancer survivorship and specifically fears of cancer recurrence.
Pamela Rackow: My research is concerned about individuals and their community and how their well-being and health can be improved by applying state of the art intervention strategies.
Vivien Swanson: Psychological wellbeing and models of behaviour change in relation to promoting health behaviours and coping with long-term conditions.
Julia Allan: cognitive
Claire Jouanny: My research aims to inform an intervention to raise awareness of early prolapse symptoms and prompt women to seek help sooner.
Georgia Laverick: My PhD is looking at how patients with Crohn's Disease understand the information they can access, and how they use the available information to make decisions about their treatment.
Amaeze Madukah: I am intersted in culturally competent health behaviour change interventions.
Emma Scott-Smith: Using visual methodologies to understand identity and communication in persons with long-term chronic pain conditions.
Rebecca Skinner: I am interested in participant centred research especially in chronic conditions.
Hannah Welshman: I am interested in how women and their partners plan their pregnancies and how to optimise health before conception.
Professional doctorate students
Placement: My placement is with Scottish Autism which is a third sector organisation providing a wide range of services for autistic children and adults in Scotland. I am currently looking at the stressors of current working practices in autistic employees and how this is affecting health and well-being. I also work for NHS Ayrshire & Arran as a tobacco prevention and cessation officer within Public Health.
Main area of research: I am interested in behaviour change to improve health outcomes in adults with overweight and obesity, increasing smoking cessation rates in people with mental health issues, and physical activity to reduce stress and improve well-being.
Placement: Oxford University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, working in the Health Promotion Team as a Tobacco Dependency Adviser.
Main area of research: I am interested in the improvement of health literacy in the general public to aid health promotion. Given my recent and current placements, my research focuses on people living with dementia and smoking cessation.
Main area of research: Understanding the patient experience of living with recurrent or chronic UTI, and the barriers to effective healthcare for this patient population.
Placement: Willingness Team in Malta – is a interdisciplinary clinic focusing on physical and mental health. I form part of the health clinic in which I observe and contribute to team meetings, deliver training in health psychology and also carry out interventions with clients as part of my placement.
Main area of research: Danica is interested in working with patients with long term conditions such as fibromyalgia and cancer. She is also interested in Sleep Hygiene and sleep related habit as well as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
Placement: I am a first-year student on the Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology and my placement is with NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.
Main area of research: I am interested in self-management and behaviour change in relation to long-term conditions. I am also interested in cancer screening and reducing health inequalities.
Mohammud Ibrahim Subdurally
Placement: I currently hold a Senior Officer position within the Behavioural Science team in Public Health at Birmingham City Council, which is also my Placement for the programme. My primary role involves guiding and assisting colleagues in integrating Behavioural Science principles into their workstreams to promote public health initiatives.
Main area of research: I am deeply committed to leveraging Behavioural Science to address health inequalities and enhance the well-being of vulnerable populations. While my primary focus lies in Sexual Health and Substance Misuse among sexual and ethnic minority groups, I have gained experience in diverse areas such as Early Years & Maternal Health, Smoking Cessation, and Health Protection through my work.
Placement: My current placement is with NHS Fife as a smoking cessation advisor.
Main area of research: My interests include smoking cessation during pregnancy, physical activity, autism, eating behaviours and health inequalities amongst minority groups.
Placement: Action in Mind, which is a Stirling based mental health charity. During this placement I supported those with a diagnosed mental health illness to improve aspects of their physical health.
Main research area: I conducted research in the area of substance use.
Placement: South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and I worked within the Medical Psychology team across a range of services including Long COVID, spinal cord injuries, and cancer.
Main area of research: My research was focused on Long COVID.
Drs. Vivien Swanson and Wendy Maltinsky travelled to St Helena in 2019 to delivering MAP training for health and social care teams in remote areas.
Dr. Line Caes is working with collaborators in Ireland and Canada, to adjust a Canadian-based peer mentoring programme for adolescents with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis to meet the needs of Irish adolescents. This work is funded by the Irish Health Research Board.
Dr Rachel Crocket is working with colleagues at the South African MRC, and the Universities of Cape Town, Witwatersrand to explore the relation between food insecurity and psychological distress in African Townships. To achieve this, the project aims to analyse data collected from the two socially deprived areas of Cape Town (Khayelitsha) and Johannesburg (Soweto). It is anticipated that increasing our understanding of the impact of food insecurity on psychological outcomes will contribute to the development of effective interventions to tackle food insecurity.
Dr Pamela Rackow is working with colleagues at West Virginia University, USA, to develop and adapt a parent-youth teamwork intervention to improve medication adherence among adolescents with asthma. There is currently no intervention in the UK NHS that facilitates the transfer of self-management responsibilities from parents to adolescents, that also targets peer support. This research project is funded by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC).
Information for teaching and training
We are uniquely well situated at the intersection of world leading research and evidence-based practice to support researchers and trainees at all stages of professional development. Members of the team continue to be instrumental in driving the development of the profession of health psychology profession in Scotland. Please talk to us if you would like more information.
For instance, Stirling has the largest health psychology team and the longest-running health psychology programme in Scotland. We have supported over 450 students in the first stage of health psychology training.
To hear about our MSc Health Psychology course from the perspective of our students watch the following YouTube video they created as an optional extracurricular activity.
We provide supervision of Stage 2 professional training in Health Psychology via the Professional Doctorate Health Psychology Programme, or via the BPS independent route.
Furthermore, we offer doctorate level supervision for those who already hold their Stage 2 qualification through our Top-up Health Psychology Programme.
If you want to find out more about the possible career opportunities within Health Psychology, the Division of Health Psychology have created a Careers Series.
Beyond the specific Health Psychology courses developed by our team, we are also involved in various other courses, such as
- the Universities of Stirling and Dundee for Clinical Associates in Applied Psychology, funded by NHS Education for Scotland (NES)
- Dr Vivien Swanson is currently Programme Lead for Health Psychology at NES, with overall responsibility for training health professionals in health psychology approaches. NES is the national training body for health professional education in Scotland.