Professor Anna Whittaker

Professor of Behavioural Medicine

Sport Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport University of Stirling Stirling FK9 4LA

Professor Anna Whittaker

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About me

About me

Professor Anna Whittaker completed her PhD at the University of Birmingham in 2005, and then undertook post-doctoral research for one year with Prof Douglas Carroll. She then went on to win a prestigious 5-year Research Councils UK Fellowship. On completion of the fellowship in 2011 she was promoted to Senior Research Fellow, in 2012 to Reader in Behavioural Medicine, and to Professor in 2016.

She received the Herbert Weiner Early Career Award 2010 from the American Psychosomatic Society in recognition of importance and sophistication of research for this career stage. Professor Whittaker also won the Neal Miller Early Career Award from the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research 2010 - a very prestigious award to research. In 2011 she became the inaugural winner of the award for outstanding contributions to research from the British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology. In 2014 she received the Stress and Anxiety Research Society’s Early Career Award for her research on stress and anxiety.

In 2016 she was recognised as a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and in 2019 she was recognised as a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Since joining the University of Stirling in 2019 she has repeatedly been multiply nominated for Research Culture awards for Outstanding Mentor, Outstanding Research Leadership and Outstanding Research Culture Activity.

Award

Special Commendation Outstanding Research Activity for REG

Special Commendation Outstanding Research Activity for REG

Wall of Fame Research Culture Awards

Multiple nominations - outstanding research leader, mentor, collaborator, research activity

Highly commended for Research Leader of the year.

Academy of Behavioural Medicine Research Neal Miller Early Career Award

American Psychosomatic Society Early Career Award
Herbert Weiner Early Career Award for the importance and sophistication of research

British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology Award for Outstanding Contribution to Research
British Psychological Society

Dean's Award
Dean’s Award. £2,000. Health MOT Pilot. CoI with PI: J Connelly and CoI E Hall.

Dean's Award
A before and after evaluation to measure the perceived effect of an intervention to improve ambulance clinical personal hydration habits during shift. CoI with PIs: N Rodriguez-Sanchez, & D Fitzpatrick.

Public Engagement Video Competition Winner
University of Birmingham

Ratcliffe Prize for best PhD in Life Sciences
University of Birmingham

Stress and Anxiety Research Society Early Career Award


Divisional / Faculty Contribution

Director of Post-graduate Research Studies
University of Stirling


Event / Presentation

ESRC IAASSS Festival of Social Science

ESRC IAASSS Festival of Social Science, Alloa

Stirling Science Festival


External Examiners and Validations

External Examining PhD U Sydney
University of Sydney

External Examining PhD U Limerick
University of Limerick, Ireland

External Examining PhD U Limerick
University of Limerick, Ireland

PhD Examining Vriij University
Vrije University Amsterdam

MSc Rehabilitation Studies examining
Aston University

PhD examining UCL
University College London

MSc Health and Management external examiner
University of Bedfordshire

PhD examiner UCL
University College London

PhD examiner Deakin
Deakin University

PhD examiner NUI Galway
University of Galway

PhD examining UCL
University College London

UG thesis external examining
St George's, University of London


Other Academic Activities

Secretary Treasurer - American Psychosomatic Society


Professional membership

American Psychosomatic Society

British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology
British Psychological Society

International Affiliate of the Society for Health Psychology (Division 38, American Psychological Association)

Society for Psychophysiological Research

Stress and Anxiety Research Society


Professional qualification

Fellow of American Psychosomatic Society

Fellow of British Psychological Society
British Psychological Society

Senior Fellow of Higher Education Academy
Higher Education Academy


University Contribution

Nomination for Outstanding Research Leadership & for Outstanding Research Mentor
University of Stirling

Nomination for Outstanding Research Leadership Nomination for Outstanding Research Mentor

Research Environment Group Chair and Vice Chair

Nominated for Research Leader of the year, Research Mentor and Best Research Collaborator
University of Stirling

Multiple nominations

Nominations under the Research Mentor and Best Research Culture Event categories.
University of Stirling

Birmingham Hero
University of Birmingham

https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/…eroes/index.aspx
Public engagement with research media campaign face

Nomination for Best Research Leader 2020


Research (3)

I am a Professor of Behavioural Medicine and Chartered Health Psychologist working in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport at the University of Stirling in the areas of Physical Activity, Cardiovascular Psychophysiology, Psychoneuroimmunology, and Behavioural Medicine. I am particularly interested in the impact of stress and other behavioural factors on health via interactions between the cardiovascular, neuroendocrine and immune systems. My main areas of research are:

  1. Ageing, stress, physical activity, and effects on health and wellbeing, including immunity, where I have been/am engaged in large grant funded projects to examine the synergistic impact of ageing and psychological and behavioural factors such as stress, depression, and physical activity on indices of physical frailty.
  2. Cardiovascular stress reactivity, where I am developing a new theory of the negative health and behavioural correlates of blunted physiological reactivity to stress, and am engaged in several collaborations on large datasets.

I am currently leading a CSO-funded project on the social and behavoural impact of COVID19 on older adults with the SPARKLE group that I lead at Stirling. I recently led a European Commission Horizon 2020 Marie Curie Innovative Training Network on Physical Activity and Nutrition Influences iN ageing (PANINI) training 11 Early Stage Researchers with 20 European partners (academic, industry, health and third sector).

I am well published in all of these areas in the top journals in my field and see my work developing further along these lines to integrate my knowledge of psychological and behavioural factors (including physical activity), immunity, and cardiovascular and neural reactions to stress to produce an integrative multidisciplinary model of risk of unhealthy ageing.

With my existing and new collaborators, psychological, physical activity, nutritional, or biomedical interventions will be developed to be applied in individuals identified as at risk, to prevent the progression to frailty and poor physical and emotional health in older age. This integration of the different physiological systems and psychological/behavioural predictors implicated in healthy ageing, and applying successful multi-level interventions to improve health in later life is my long term research goal. Attached to this goal is the strong desire to maintain public engagement to increase understanding of the discipline as well as to generate impact from my previous and ongoing research.

I have a strong public engagement profile, particularly in the areas of ageing and stress, and am expanding this to include physical activity in ageing.

Projects

GOALD: Connectivity and Digital Design for Health and Well-being Across Generations, Places and Spaces
PI: Professor Catherine Hennessy
Funded by: Economic and Social Research Council

Digital Nutrition Assessment Tool
PI: Dr Jenni Connelly
Funded by: Economic and Social Research Council

COVID19 social distancing effects on social engagement, loneliness, wellbeing and physical activity in Scottish older adults, and an exploration of potential ameliorating strategies.
PI: Professor Anna Whittaker
Funded by: Chief Scientist Office

Outputs (187)

Outputs

Showing 100 of 187 — See all 187 outputs

Conference Proceeding

Bradwell HL, Cooper L, Baxter R, Tomaz S, Edwards KJ, Whittaker AC & Jones RB (2024) Implementation of Virtual Reality Motivated Physical Activity via Omnidirectional Treadmill in a Supported Living Facility for Older Adults: A Mixed-Methods Evaluation.: Virtual reality to motivate physical activity for older adults. In: CHI '24: Proceedings of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. CHI '24: CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Honolulu HI USA, 11.05.2024-16.05.2024. New York: ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/3613904.3642281


Article

Tomaz SA, Taylor L, Ryde GC, Bradwell HL, Cooper L, Coffee P, Mannion G, Hennessy C, Haynes R, Whittaker AC & GOALD Project (2024) Generations Active Together: An Example of Using Physical Activity Promotion and Digital Technology to Bring Together Adolescents and Older People in Stirling, Scotland. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships. https://doi.org/10.1080/15350770.2024.2322442


Article

Swales B, Ryde GC & Whittaker AC (2024) A Mixed Methods Feasibility Study of Machine-Based Resistance Training With Prefrail Older Adults in Residential Care: The Keeping Active in Residential Elderly Trial II. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, pp. 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1123/japa.2022-0170


Article

Bradwell pL, Cooper L, Edwards KJ, Baxter R, Tomaz SA, Ritchie J, Gaudl S, Veliz-Reyes A, Ryde GC, Križaj T, Warren A, Chatterjee A, Haynes R, Hennessy CH & Whittaker AC (2023) Staff perceptions towards virtual reality-motivated treadmill exercise for care home residents: a qualitative feedback study with key stakeholders and follow-up interview with technology developer. BMJ Open, 13 (11), Art. No.: e073307. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2023-073307


Book Chapter

Mommersteeg PMC, Whittaker AC & Rohleder N (2022) Stress and Biological pathways of health and disease. In: Pedersen SS, Roessler KK, Elmose Andersen T, Thit Johnsen A & Pouwer F (eds.) Textbook of Applied Medical Psychology: A Multidisciplinary Approach. Odense, Denmark: University Press of Southern Denmark, pp. 35-60. https://www.universitypress.dk/shop/textbook-of-applied-3925p.html


Article

Tomaz SA, Ryde GC, Swales B, Neely KC, Andreis F, Coffee P, Connelly J, Kirkland A, McCabe L, Watchman K, Martin JG, Pina I & Whittaker AC (2022) ". . . Exercise opportunities became very important": Scottish older adults' changes in physical activity during Covid19'. European Review of Aging and Physical Activity, 19, Art. No.: 16. https://doi.org/10.1186/s11556-022-00295-z


Article

Ramsey KA, Yeung SS, Rojer AG, Gensous N, Asamane EA, Aunger JA, Bondarev D, Cabbia A, Doody P, Iadarola B, Rodrigues B, Kallen V, Tahir MR, Pazienza P & Whittaker AC (2022) Knowledge of Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines is Not Associated with Physical Function in Dutch Older Adults Attending a Healthy Ageing Public Engagement Event. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 17, pp. 1769-1778. https://doi.org/10.2147/cia.s353573


Article

Sethi S, Manuelpillai N, Mandal A, Simpson O, Morrissey H, Ball P, Sharrod-Cole H, Ford C, Whittaker AC, Drayson M, Race A, Bateman J, Basu S & Cotton J (2022) COVID-19 seroprevalence after the first UK wave of the pandemic and its association with the physical and mental wellbeing of secondary care healthcare workers. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity - Health, 24, Art. No.: 100492. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbih.2022.100492


Article

Doody P, Asamane EA, Aunger JA, Swales B, Lord JM, Greig CA & Whittaker AC (2022) The prevalence of frailty and pre-frailty among geriatric hospital inpatients and its association with economic prosperity and healthcare expenditure: A systematic review and meta-analysis of 467,779 geriatric hospital inpatients. Ageing Research Reviews, 80, Art. No.: 101666. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arr.2022.101666


Article

Swales B, Ryde GC & Whittaker AC (2022) A Randomized Controlled Feasibility Trial Evaluating a Resistance Training Intervention With Frail Older Adults in Residential Care: The Keeping Active in Residential Elderly Trial. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 30 (3), pp. 364-388. https://doi.org/10.1123/japa.2021-0130


Article

Ramsey KA, Meskers CGM, Trappenburg MC, Bacalini MG, Delledonne M, Garagnani P, Greig C, Kallen V, van Meeteren N, van Riel N, Correia Santos N, Sipilä S, Thompson JL, Whittaker AC & Maier AB (2022) The Physical Activity and Nutritional INfluences in Ageing (PANINI) Toolkit: A Standardized Approach towards Physical Activity and Nutritional Assessment of Older Adults. Healthcare, 10 (6), Art. No.: 1017. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10061017


Article

Ramsey KA, Rojer AGM, D’Andrea L, Otten RHJ, Heymans MW, Trappenburg MC, Verlaan S, Whittaker AC, Meskers CGM & Maier AB (2021) The association of objectively measured physical activity and sedentary behavior with skeletal muscle strength and muscle power in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ageing Research Reviews, 67, Art. No.: 101266. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arr.2021.101266


Article

Tomaz SA, Coffee P, Ryde GC, Swales B, Neely KC, Connelly J, Kirkland A, McCabe L, Watchman K, Andreis F, Martin JG, Pina I & Whittaker AC (2021) Loneliness, Wellbeing, and Social Activity in Scottish Older Adults Resulting from Social Distancing during the COVID-19 Pandemic. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18 (9), Art. No.: 4517. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18094517


Article

Aunger JA, Greaves CJ, Davis ET, Asamane EA, Whittaker AC & Greig CA (2020) A novel behavioural INTErvention to REduce Sitting Time in older adults undergoing orthopaedic surgery (INTEREST): results of a randomised-controlled feasibility study. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, 32 (12), pp. 2565-2585. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40520-020-01475-6


Article

Salleh NA, Balakrishnan M & Whitttaker AC (2020) Stress response index for traumatic childhood experience based on the fusion of hypothalamus pituitary adrenocorticol and autonomic nervous system biomarkers. Advances in Science, Technology and Engineering Systems, 5 (1), pp. 317-324. https://doi.org/10.25046/aj050140


Article

Black JK, Whittaker AC, Tahrani AA & Balanos GM (2020) The implementation of a physical activity intervention in adults with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea over the age of 50 years: a feasibility uncontrolled clinical trial. BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation, 12 (1), Art. No.: 46. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13102-020-00195-8


Conference Paper (unpublished)

Whittaker AC, Tomaz SA, Ryde G, Connelly J, Coffee P, Kirkland A, McCabe L, Watchman K, Andreis F, Swales B, Martin JG, Pina I & Neely KC (2020) Loneliness, social support and wellbeing in Scottish older adults as a result of social distancing during the Covid19 pandemic. American Psychosomatic Society 2020 Virtual Meeting, Online, 03.12.2020-04.12.2020. https://psychosomatic.org/meetings/annual-meeting-2020/


Conference Paper (unpublished)

Tomaz SA, Ryde G, Connelly J, Swales B, Martin JG, Pina I, Neely KC, Coffee P, Kirkland A, Andreis F, McCabe L, Watchman K & Whittaker AC (2020) The impact of Covid19 on Scottish older adults’ physical activity: Changes and associations with wellbeing. Scottish Physical Activity Research Connections 2020 Digital Conference, Online, 11.11.2020-18.11.2020. https://www.sparc.education.ed.ac.uk/conference-2020/


Conference Paper (unpublished)

Whittaker AC, Tomaz SA, Coffee P, Ryde G, Connelly J, Kirkland A, McCabe L, Watchman K, Andreis F, Neely KC, Swales B, Martin JG & Pina I (2020) Impact of Covid19 social distancing on the social and mental health of Scottish older adults. Scottish Physical Activity Research Connections 2020 Digital Conference, Online, 11.11.2020-18.11.2020. https://www.sparc.education.ed.ac.uk/conference-2020/


Meeting Abstract

Whittaker A & Swales B (2020) Keeping Active in Residential Elderly (KARE): Preliminary Findings of a Feasibility Study of an Adapted Physical Activity Intervention to Improve Multi-Dimensional Health In Frail Older Adults in Residential Care.. Psychosomatic Medicine, 82 (6), p. A33. https://doi.org/10.1097/psy.0000000000000835


Article

Doody P, Lord JM & Whittaker AC (2019) Assessing the feasibility and impact of an adapted resistance training intervention, aimed at improving the multi-dimensional health and functional capacity of frail older adults in residential care settings: protocol for a feasibility study. Pilot and Feasibility Studies, 5 (1), Art. No.: 86. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40814-019-0470-1


Article

Drayson MT, Bowcock S, Planche T, Iqbal G, Pratt G, Yong K, Wood J, Raynes K, Higgins H, Dawkins B, Meads D, Hulme CT, Monahan I, Whittaker AC & Karunanithi K (2019) Levofloxacin prophylaxis in patients with newly diagnosed myeloma (TEAMM): a multicentre, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised, phase 3 trial. Lancet Oncology, 20 (12), pp. 1760-1772. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045%2819%2930506-6


Article

Doody P, Lord JM, Greig CA & Whittaker AC (2019) Assessing the feasibility and impact of specially adapted exercise interventions, aimed at improving the multi-dimensional health and functional capacity of frail geriatric hospital inpatients: protocol for a feasibility study. BMJ open, 9 (11), Art. No.: e031159. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-031159


Article

Doody P, Aunger J, Asamane E, Greig CA, Lord J & Whittaker A (2019) Frailty Levels In Geriatric Hospital paTients (FLIGHT)-the prevalence of frailty among geriatric populations within hospital ward settings: a systematic review protocol. BMJ Open, 9 (8), Art. No.: e030147. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-030147


Article

Gorostegi-Anduaga I, Maldonado-Martín S, MartinezAguirre-Betolaza A, Corres P, Romaratezabala E, Whittaker AC, Francisco-Terreros S & Pérez-Asenjo J (2018) Effects on Cardiovascular Risk Scores and Vascular Age After Aerobic Exercise and Nutritional Intervention in Sedentary and Overweight/Obese Adults with Primary Hypertension: The EXERDIET-HTA Randomized Trial Study. High Blood Pressure & Cardiovascular Prevention, 25 (4), pp. 361-368. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40292-018-0281-0


Conference Proceeding

Aimie-Salleh N, Malarvili M & Whitttaker AC (2018) Stress Response Index for Adverse Childhood Experience Based on Fusion of Biomarkers. In: Proceedings of 2018 IEEE-EMBS Conference on Biomedical Engineering and Sciences (IECBES). 2018 IEEE-EMBS Conference on Biomedical Engineering and Sciences (IECBES), Sarawak, Malaysia, 03.12.2018-06.12.2018. Piscataway, NJ, USA: IEEE, pp. 140-145. https://doi.org/10.1109/iecbes.2018.8626657


Article

Shvedko A, Whittaker AC, Thompson JL & Greig CA (2018) Physical activity interventions for treatment of social isolation, loneliness or low social support in older adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 34, pp. 128-137. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2017.10.003


Article

Chan W, Bosch JA, Phillips AC, Chin SH, Antonysunil A, Inston N, Moore S, Kaur O, McTernan PG & Borrows R (2018) The Associations of Endotoxemia With Systemic Inflammation, Endothelial Activation, and Cardiovascular Outcome in Kidney Transplantation. Journal of Renal Nutrition, 28 (1), pp. 13-27. https://doi.org/10.1053/j.jrn.2017.06.004


Article

Ginty AT, Williams SE, Jones A, Roseboom TJ, Phillips AC, Painter RC, Carroll D & de Rooij SR (2016) Diminished heart rate reactivity to acute psychological stress is associated with enhanced carotid intima-media thickness through adverse health behaviors: Heart rate reactivity and intima-media thickness. Psychophysiology, 53 (6), pp. 769-775. https://doi.org/10.1111/psyp.12640


Article

Vitlic A, Lord JM, Taylor AE, Arlt W, Bartlett DB, Rossi A, Arora-Duggal N, Welham A, Heald M, Oliver C, Carroll D & Phillips AC (2016) Neutrophil function in young and old caregivers. British Journal of Health Psychology, 21 (1), pp. 173-189. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjhp.12156


Article

Bibbey A, Carroll D, Ginty AT & Phillips AC (2015) Cardiovascular and Cortisol Reactions to Acute Psychological Stress Under Conditions of High Versus Low Social Evaluative Threat: Associations With the Type D Personality Construct. Psychosomatic Medicine, 77 (5), pp. 599-608. https://doi.org/10.1097/psy.0000000000000194


Article

Bibbey A, Phillips AC, Ginty AT & Carroll D (2015) Problematic Internet use, excessive alcohol consumption, their comorbidity and cardiovascular and cortisol reactions to acute psychological stress in a student population. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 4 (2), pp. 44-52. https://doi.org/10.1556/2006.4.2015.006


See all 187 outputs

Teaching

Teaching

Module coordinator for Research Methods for Sports Studies from 2019. https://portal.stir.ac.uk/calendar/calendar.jsp?modCode=SPSU9ME. Lecturing on Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology. Supervisor on UG Sports Science Research Projects and Sports Studies major projects. I have been teaching since 2004 including module organisation for Health Psychology/Behavioural Medicine modules for 10 years, as well as contributing to teaching medics about the biology of ageing, and Life Sciences postgraduate statistics teaching. I am a visiting lecturer internationally/nationally on Health Psychology MSc courses contributing to Psychoneuroimmunology and Psychophysiology teaching. I have been supervising undergraduate and post-graduate research projects since 2005.