Chair in Health Psychology


Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 438076
The University of Aberdeen 2nd Floor Health Sciences Building
Room 206
Foresterhill Campus
Ashgrove Road
AB25 2ZD


After working as a researcher at the Academic Medical Centre (dpt. of infectious diseases) in Amsterdam in 2003-2004 and obtaining a masters degree in Health Sciences at Maastricht University in 2004, Marijn was awarded a young talent grant at Maastricht University (faculty of Psychology) and later a PhD grant at the same faculty. He then became a lecturer at Wageningen University in 2008 (dpt. of Communication science), defended his PhD thesis in 2009, and moved to the University of Amsterdam (Amsterdam School of Communication Research) in 2012. In September 2013 Marijn started as Chair and lead of the health psychology group in Aberdeen, while retaining a part-time research post at the University of Amsterdam.

Marijn's research focuses on designing, evaluating and synthesizing interventions to support a healthy lifestyle. Most of his work has been on treatment adherence, with on-going projects in chronic conditions such as HIV, asthma, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. He has a strong interest in advancing methodology of clinical trials and meta-analysis of health behaviour change interventions, and has been in applying psychological theory to real-life problems with the objective to contribute to health, well-being and more efficient use of health care resources. Marijn has extensive experience in teaching/training students, health care and public health professionals on how to apply psychological theory in research, design complex interventions ( to promote health behaviour, and apply behaviour change counseling in clinical settings ( His work is characterized by an interdisciplinary focus (e.g. health services research, health economics, public health, (pharmaco)epidemiology, primary and secondary care) and aims to address key health issues in high and low income countries.


Research Interests

health psychology - public health - counselling - treatment adherence - self-management
behaviour change interventions - complex interventions - best practices - control groups
systematic review - RCTs - mixed methods - cohort studies - cost-effectiveness 
prevention, detection and treatment behaviours

Research Grants

Project title: REBALANCE: REview of Behaviour And Lifestyle interventions for severe obesity: AN evidenCE synthesis. Grant: £530,873.85 funded by NIHR HTA. Amount: £530,873.85. Start date: 01-07-2016 (duration: 20 months). Applicants: Avenell A, Aveyard P, Webber L, Boyers D, Skea Z, de Bruin M, MacLennan G.

Project title: Air quality feedback: a tool to encourage smoke-free homes. Grant: £147.243 awarded by MRC PHIND. Approximate start date: 01-05-2015 (duration: 18 monhts). Applicants: Sean Semple, Amanda Amos, Steve Turner, Marijn de Bruin

Project title: Development of a hand hygiene intervention to reduce bacterial infections among newborns and mothers delivered in maternity units in Tanzania (The HANDS study). Grant: £149,997, awarded by MRC PHIND. Start date: December 2015 (duration 15 months). Applicants: Graham W, de Bruin M, Ali SM, Wood SL.

Project title: Making results of smoking cessation trials more useful to policy and practice: Identifying the effective behavioural components of smoking cessation support provided to intervention and control groups by applying innovative methods for evidence syntheses.  Grant: £233.722 awarded by CRUK Start date: 01-03-2015 (duration: 36 months)  Applicants: de Bruin M, Johnston M, Michie S, Viechtbauer W, Hartmann-Boyce J, West R.

Project title: Developing methodology for designing and evaluating theory-based complex interventions: an ontology for linking behaviour change techniques to theory. Grant: £576,125 awarded by MRC methodology. Start date: 01-09-2014 (duration: 30 months)  Applicants: Michie S, Johnston M, Rothman A, Kelly M, de Bruin M.

Project title: HIV transmission and elimination in Amsterdam.  Grant: €371.131 awarded by the Dutch Aids Foundation  Start date: 01-08-2014 (duration: 48 months)  Applicants: The H-team consortium, including de Bruin M.

Project title: Effect of outpatient pharmacists' non-dispensing roles on patient outcomes and prescribing patterns. A Cochrane Review update and application of the Behaviour Change Technique Taxonomy. Grant: £143.606 requested to the Chief Scientist Office (Scotland)  Start date: 01-08-2014 (duration: 24 months)  Applicants: Watson M, Bond C, Johnston M, de Bruin M, et al.

Project title: Using Novel Technology to Improve Outpatient Palliative Cancer Pain Management.  Grant: £153,774 for a Scottish Clinical Academic Training Fellowship, awarded by the Chief Scientist Office. Start date: 01-10-2014 (duration: 36 months)  Applicants: Adams R, Murchie P, de Bruin M, Burton C, Bond C, Masthoff J, Lawton S, Linklater G.

Project title: UK Centre for Musculoskeletal Health and Work Grant: £1,000,000 ARUK and £400,000 MRC  Start date: 01-02-2015 (duration: 60 months)  PI: Role: collaborator

Project title: Assessment of the safety of LABA’s in asthma in routine care by combining health-care databases and direct patient follow-up  Total grant: € 2.979.996 awarded by the EC under KP7.  Start date: 01-12-2011 (duration: 56 months)  Applicants: van Ganse E, de Bruin M, et al.

Recently completed

Project title: Cost-effectiveness of an effective intervention to promote HIV-treatment adherence  Grant: € 428.095 awarded by ZonMw Nertherlands (  Start date: January 2010 (duration: 56 months)  Applicants: de Bruin M, Schaalma H, Viechtbauer W, Evers S, van Woerkum CJM, Prins JM


Teaching Responsibilities

Current responsibilities

Course coordinator and lecturer of 'Health behaviour and behaviour change', in the BPS-accredited MSc Health Psychology. Students learn about behaviour change theories and how to apply them in complex, multi-level interventions. Intervention Mapping ( is used as the framework for this course.

Supervisor of Health Psychology MSc theses

Group tutor for 'Clinical effectiveness' in which students critically appraise interventions and write a mini-systematic review



Further Info

External Responsibilities


Serving on the Population Research Committee (Prevention Expert Review Panel) from Cancer Research UK (

Advisory board member of the Centre for Healthcare Randomised Trials (CHaRT) in Aberdeen (

Consulting Editor at Health Psychology (

Academic line manager at the Institute of Applied Health Sciences, University of Aberdeen

Member of the research committee and deputy lead of research theme C (



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