Health Psychology

Aberdeen Health Psychology Group

Health Psychology


The key focus of the Aberdeen Health Psychology Group is to study and advance psychological principles, theories and methods to understand and improve the health of the public and patients and the provision of healthcare.

Our core research and teaching team is comprised of Dr Chantal den DaasDr. Dan Powell, Dr. Clare CooperDr Louisa Lawrie, and Emeritus Professor Derek Johnston and Emeritus Professor Marie Johnston.  For our PhD-students, and other collaborators, see our People tab.

We offer a British Psychological Society accredited MSc Health Psychology that meets Stage 1 of the professional requirements for training as a Chartered Health Psychologist.

We collaborate with a range of disciplines within the University, including Academic Primary CarePsychologyHealth Services ResearchHealth EconomicsRowett Institutethe Epidemiology GroupBusiness School. Externally, we work with a wide range of academic, professional body, NHS, Government, local authority and third sector partners.

The group is involved in Scottish, British and European health psychology organisations. Our research is funded by agencies such as the NIHR, Medical Research Council (MRC),  the Chief Scientists Office (CSO), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and others.

Research interests

The group has a range of research interests*, but we work mainly in the following five domains (theory, methods and interventions):

*more detail about our research available under the Research heading.

Health Promotion and Public Health
Stress and Health
Prevention, Risk and Infection
Decision Making and Health
Long Term Conditions


Academic and Research Staff
Postgraduate Students and NHS Health Psychology Trainees
Honorary Members
  • Dr Julia Allan, Honorary Senior Lecturer
  • Professor Diane Dixon, Honorary Research Fellow
  • Dr Jordan Miller, Honorary Research Fellow
  • Dr Janice Rattray, Emeritus Reader, University of Dundee
  • Dr Ben Young, University of Glasgow



Alumni and Associates
  • Ahmad, Dr Mahadir
  • Araujo-Soares, Dr Vera
  • Black, Dr Nicola
  • Bonetti, Dr Debbie
  • Bricca, Alessio
  • de Bruin, Prof Marijn
  • Bull, Eleanor
  • Cruickshank, Dr Moira
  • Davidson, Ms Tracey
  • De Barra, Dr Mícheál
  • Dombrowski, Dr Stephan
  • Farquharson, Dr Barbara
  • Glidewell, Dr Liz
  • Hart, Dr Jo
  • Heddle, Maureen
  • Hobbs, Dr Nicola
  • Joice, Dr Sara
  • Jones, Prof Martyn
  • MacLennan, Mr Graeme
  • McCleary, Dr Nicola
  • McDonald, Suzanne
  • Molloy, Dr Gerry
  • Morton, Dr LaKrista
  • Powell, Dr Rachael
  • Power, Dr Brian
  • Presseau, Dr Justin
  • Quinn, Dr Francis
  • Rackow, Dr Pamela
  • Roberts, Dr Christine
  • Robertson, Dr Clare
  • Rodrigues, Angela
  • Schroder, Dr Carin
  • Skar, Dr Silje
  • Sniehotta, Dr Falko
  • Stadler, Prof Gertraud
  • Swithenbank, Zoe
  • Thomas, Ruth
  • Watson, Dr Mags
  • Williams, Amy (Jess)
  • Zanstra, Dr Ydwine


British Psychological Society (BPS) logoThe Aberdeen Health Psychology Group co-ordinate and deliver a British Psychological Society (BPS) professionally accredited postgraduate MSc in Health Psychology.

The course runs for 12 months full time (24 months part time) from September each year and successful completion confers Stage 1 of the BPS training requirements for Chartered Health Psychologist status.

Details of the programme content, entry requirements, and application procedures can be found in the online prospectus.

Contact us

Aberdeen Health Psychology Group
School of Medicine and Dentistry
University of Aberdeen
Health Sciences Building
Foresterhill, Aberdeen
AB25 2ZD

For specific enquiries, please contact the relevant member of staff – contact details are available on the People page. For research related enquiries, please contact Prof Diane Dixon, Head of Group ( For enquires about the MSc in Health Psychology contact the Student Recruitment & Admissions.


The Aberdeen Health Psychology Group’s research programme is focused around five core Health Psychology domains:

  • Health Promotion and Public Health
  • Stress and Health
  • Prevention, Risk and Infection
  • Decision Making and Health
  • Long Term Conditions

Research Programme Lead: Prof Diane Dixon

Health Promotion & Public Health

Many people struggle or fail to consistently engage in health promoting behaviours such as healthy eating, regular physical activity and break-taking.

Our research focuses on understanding the individual and environmental determinants of different health promoting behaviours, with a view to developing effective behaviour change interventions to improve health outcomes.

Find out more

Our research in this area focuses on the determinants and consequences of health relevant behaviours such as eating and physical activity. We investigate how such behaviours are controlled (e.g. how people stick to diets), how environments can cue healthy and unhealthy behaviours (e.g. how food presentation in shops can change purchasing behaviour; how work schedules can influence fatigue), and how behaviour can be changed to improve health outcomes (e.g. how consumers can be prompted to make healthier choices).

Theme Lead: Dr Julia Allan

Example projects

Point of Purchase Prompts

A Chief Scientist Office and Royal Society of Edinburgh funded programme of work looking at whether cognitively informed point of purchase prompts (PPPs; choice spectrums) can be used to support consumers in food shops to make healthier choices in the moment. Contact Julia Allan (


A Scottish Government funded project investigating when, where and why nurses are most likely to eat particular foods, spend time active or inactive, and experience high levels of demand, stress and fatigue. Contact Julia Allan ( or Dan Powell (

Social Prescribing and Diet

A Scottish Government funded project in collaboration with the Rowett Institute investigating how social prescribing can be used as a means of encouraging and enabling healthy and sustainable dietary behaviours in low income families. Contact Frank Thies ( or Julia Allan (


A Scottish Government funded study using real time ambulatory measurement technology to accurately capture when, where and why people snack and spend time inactive. Contact Julia Allan ( or Dan Powell (

Example Publications

  • Allan JL & Powell DJ (2020). Prompting consumers to make healthier food choices in hospitals: A cluster randomised controlled trial. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 17(1):86. doi: 10.1186/s12966-020-00990-z.
  • Allan JL, Powell DJ, Ferguson K & Plunkett E (2020). Breaks at the breaking point: the need to take time out in a pandemic. British Medical Journal.
  • Allan JL, Sadko K, Bell C & Johnston D (2019) How many calories do nurses burn at work? A real-time study of nurses’ energy expenditure. Journal of Research in Nursing, 24; 488-497,
  • Powell DJH, McMinn, D & Allan JL (2017) Does real time variability in inhibitory control drive snacking behavior? An intensive longitudinal study.  Health Psychology, 36, 356-364.
  • Allan JL, Querstret D, Banas K & de Bruin M (2017) Environmental interventions for altering eating behaviours of employees in the workplace: A systematic review. Obesity Reviews, 18, 214-226.
  • Allan JL, McMinn D & Daly M (2016) A bidirectional relationship between executive function and health behaviour: evidence, implications, and future directions.  Frontiers in Neuroscience.
  • Allan JL, Johnston M & Campbell NC (2015).  Snack purchasing is healthier when the cognitive demands of choice are reduced: A randomised controlled trial.  Health Psychology, 34, 750-755.
  • Daly M, McMinn D & Allan JL (2015) A bidirectional relationship between physical activity and executive function in older adults.  Frontiers in Cognitive Neuroscience, 8; 1044.
  • Power BT, Kiezebrink K, Allan JL & Campbell MK (2014).  Effects of workplace-based dietary and/or physical activity interventions for weight management targeting healthcare professionals: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials.  BMC Obesity 1:23  doi:10.1186/s40608-014-0023-3.
  • Bestwick CS, Douglas FCG, Allan JL, MacDiarmid J, Ludbrook A, & Carlisle S (2013)  A perspective on the strategic approach to the complexity and challenges of behaviour change in relation to dietary health.  Nutrition Bulletin,38, 50-56.
  • Roberts C, Phillips L, Cooper C, Gray S & Allan JL (2017). Effects of different types of physical activity on activities of daily living in older adults: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Aging & Physical Activity, 25 (4), 653-670.
Stress & Health

Stress is a natural part of life, and most people will experience stress at some point in their lives. Our research focuses primarily on stress in the workplace, especially in health care settings. We examine the impact of stress on the health of workers and its impact on decision making.

Find out more

The impact of stress on health can be direct via physiological mechanisms or indirect via changes in behaviour. This theme investigates the determinants and consequences of stress utilising theories of stress, coping, and fatigue. 

Theme Lead: Dr Dan Powell

Example Projects


CANDID is an NIHR funded project that uses the Job Demands-Resources (JD-R) model of occupational stress to examine the impact of working in ICU on critical care nurses and nurses redeployed to critical care. Contact Diane Dixon (

Performance Related Pay and Health Project

Performance-related pay and health is an interdisciplinary project funded by the ESRC that focuses on if and how performance-related pay (PRP) may affect health via stress. The project is a collaboration between experts in labour economics and health psychology, using experimental methods and big datasets to scrutinise causal effects of PRP on cortisol and other biomarkers. Contact Dan Powell ( or Julia Allan (

Example Publications

  • Asare, B.Y.A., Kwasnicka, D., Powell, D., & Robinson, S. (2021). Health and well-being of rotation workers in mining, offshore oil and gas, and construction industry: a systematic review. BMJ Global Health, 6(7), e005112. DOI: 10.1136/bmjgh-2021-005112.
  • Bell, C.L., Allan, J.L., Ross, S., Powell, D.J.H., & Johnston, D.W. (2021). Ward round tasks and challenges: an observational study of junior doctors’ experiences. Medical Teacher, 43(11), 1294-1301. DOI: 10.1080/0142159X.2021.1940912.
  • Allan, J.L., Andelic, N., Bender, K.A., Powell, D., Stoffel, S., & Theodossiou, I. (2021). Employment contracts and stress: experimental evidence. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 187, 360-373. DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2021.04.015.
  • Johnston, D. W., Allan, J. L., Powell, D. J. H., Farquharson, B., Jones, M. C., Bell, C., & Johnston, M. (2018). Why does work cause fatigue? A real time investigation of change in fatigue over the working day and physical and psychological determinants. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 53(6), 551-562. DOI: 10.1093/abm/kay065.
  • Johnston DW, Bell C, Jones M, Farquharson B, Allan JL, Schofield P, Ricketts I & Johnston M (2016) Stressors, perceived stressors, experienced stress and cardiac response: a real-time, real-life investigation of work stress in nurses.  Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 50, 187-197.
  • Powell, D., Moss-Morris, R., Liossi, C., & Schlotz, W. (2015). Circadian cortisol and fatigue severity in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 56, 120-131. DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.03.010
  • Powell, D., Liossi, C., Moss-Morris, R., & Schlotz, W. (2013). Unstimulated cortisol secretory activity in everyday life and its relationship with fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome: a systematic review.
  • Farquharson B, Johnston DW, Bell C, Allan JL, Jones MC, Ricketts I, Schofield P, Johnston M. (2013) Nursing stress and patient care: real-time investigation of the effect of nursing tasks and demands on psychological stress, physiological stress and job performance. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 69, 2327-2335.
  • Farquharson B, Allan JL, Jones MC, Johnston DW & Johnston M (2012). Stress amongst nurses working in a healthcare telephone-advice service: relationship with job satisfaction, intention to leave, sickness absence and performance. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 68, 1624-1635.
Behaviour in Infection Prevention

Some behaviours reduce the risk of infection and disease, e.g. hand washing and vaccination. Whereas other behaviours increase the risk of infection, e.g. not wearing a condom during sex. Our work uses psychological theory to understand both risk and protective behaviours. 

Find out more

Behaviour in infection prevention can be broadly defined as any action undertaken to prevent infections or detect infections (secondary prevention). This theme investigates behaviours related to infection prevention, and address parallels between behaviours and theory-based predictors associated with the transmission of different infections. Our group has several projects focusing on Covid-19 and sexual transmitted infections including HIV.

Theme Lead: Dr Chantal Den Daas

Example projects


CHARIS is a CSO and HSE funded project composed of a series of studies that uses psychological theory to understand adherence to behaviours designed to reduce the transmission of Sars-CoV2.  CHARIS also tested the ability of short, theory based messages to increase motivation to adhere. Contact Chantal Den Daas ( or Diane Dixon (

Example publications

  • Leenen, J., Wijers, J.N.A.P., Den Daas, C., de Wit, J., Hoebe, C.J.P.A., and Dukers-Muijers, N.H.T.M. (2022). HIV testing behaviour and associated factors in men who have sex with men by level of urbanisation: a cross-sectional study in the Netherlands. BMJ Open, 12, e049175, doi:
  • van Wees D, Godijk N, den Daas C., Kretschmar, M.E.E., and Heijne, J.C.M. (2022). Identifying STI risk groups among heterosexuals in a cohort study based on behavioural and psychological characteristics during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 49, 2, doi:
  • Basten, M.G.J., van Wees, D.A., Matser, A., Boyd, A., Rozhnova, G., den Daas, C., Kretzschmar, M.E.E., and Heijne, J.C.M. (2021) Time for change: Transitions between HIV risk levels and determinants of behavior change in men who have sex with men. PLoS ONE, 16, 12, e0259913.
  • Dixon, D., Den Daas, C., Hubbard, G., and Johnston, M. (2021). Using behavioural theory to understand adherence to behaviours that reduce transmission of Covid-19; evidence from the CHARIS representative national study. British Journal of Health Psychology.
  • Van der Kooij, Y.L., Kupková, A., Den Daas, C., Kleene, M-J.T., Jansen, H.S.E., Elsenburg, L.J.M., Schenk, L.G., Verboon, P., Brinkman, K., Bos, A.E.R., & Stutterheim, S.E. (2021). The role of self-stigma in pathways from HIV-related stigma to quality of life among people living with HIV. AIDS Patient Care and STDs.
  • van Wees, D.A., Diexer, S., Rozhnova, G., Matser, A., den Daas, C., Heijne, J.C.M., and Kretzschmar, M.E.E. (2021). Quantifying heterogeneity in sexual behaviour and distribution of STIs before and after pre-exposure prophylaxis among men who have sex with men. Sexually transmitted Infections, 10.1136/sextrans-2021-055227
  • Hubbard, G., den Daas, C., Dixon, D., Johnston, M., Murchie, P., & Thompson, C. W. (2021). Are rurality, area deprivation, access to outside space and green space associated with mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic? A cross sectional study (CHARIS-E) project. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 18, 8, 3869.
  • de Munnik, S. E., Kraan, L., Vervoort, S. C., Ammerlaan, H. S., Grondhuis Palacios, L.A., Elzevier, H.W., de Wit, J., and den Daas, C. (2021). Sexual health counselling by Dutch HIV care providers: A cross-sectional survey among physicians and nurses in the Netherlands. Aids Care, doi:
  • Hubbard, G., den Daas, C., Johnston, M., & Dixon, D. (2021). Sociodemographic and Psychological Risk Factors for Anxiety and Depression: Findings from the Covid-19 Health and Adherence Research in Scotland on Mental Health (CHARIS-MH) Cross-sectional Survey. International journal of behavioral medicine, 1-13.
  • van Wees, D. A., den Daas, C., Kretzschmar, M. E., & Heijne, J. C. M. (2021). Modelling the impact of tailored behavioural interventions on chlamydia transmission. Scientific reports, 11(1), 1-12.
  • Den Daas, C., Hubbard, G., Johnston, M., Dixon, D., & CHARIS Consortium (2021). Protocol: Protocol of the COVID-19 Health and Adherence Research in Scotland (CHARIS) study: understanding changes in adherence to transmission-reducing behaviours, mental and general health, in repeated cross-sectional representative survey of the Scottish population. BMJ Open, 11(2).
Decision Making & Health

Investigating the factors driving health-related decision making is central to our understanding of health behaviour. Our research broadly examines the cognitive and emotional processes which may explain health-related decisions. This includes the application of theoretical models to understand the mechanisms underpinning health-related decision-making and applied research on how individual, clinician and patient decision-making can be improved.

Find out more

Research across this theme focuses on understanding the barriers and facilitators of health-related decisions pertaining to one’s health (e.g., the role of emotions in guiding the decision to register as an organ donor) and understanding the factors influencing clinical decision-making by healthcare providers (e.g., how decision fatigue and stress can impact treatment decision by GP’s and nurses). We also apply behavioural science across interventions to improve engagement in certain health behaviours (e.g., increasing intentions to initiate bystander CPR) and interventions to increase the effectiveness of such behaviours (e.g., improving the effectiveness of telephone-assisted CPR).

Example projects

Organ Donation

This programme of work, funded by the Elizabeth Russell Fellowship, examines the factors that influence individual decision-making under Scotland’s opt-out system of consent, including concerns of medical and government mistrust and psychological reactance (a sense of threat to one’s freedom of choice). This project also examines the factors guiding surrogate decision-making from donor families or next of kin. Contact Jordan Miller (

Decision Fatigue

A programme of work investigating decision fatigue in healthcare settings. Work to date has focused largely on nurse and GP’s treatment and management decisions to examine how decisions change over the course of a shift. Contact Julia Allan (

Bystander CPR

Survival of an out of hospital cardiac arrest requires prompt CPR from bystanders. However, often bystanders do not attempt CPR. This programme of work is led by Dr Barbara Farquharson at the University of Stirling and has been funded by the CSO and MRC and via a BHF Fellowship to Dr Farquharson.  The work applies psychological theory to understand bystander behaviour and to develop interventions to increase the rate of bystander CPR. Contact Diane Dixon ( or Barbara Farquharson (

Example publications

  • B Farquharson, D Dixon, B Williams, G Clegg, L Macinnes, P Ramsay, A behavioural intervention to increase lay-people's intentions to initiate CPR in the event of Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest: results from BICeP pilot trial, European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, Volume 21, Issue Supplement_1, July 2022, zvac060.024,
  • Allan, J. L., Johnston, D. W., Powell, D. J. H., Farquharson, B., Jones, M. C., Leckie, G., & Johnston, M. (2019). Clinical decisions and time since rest break: an analysis of decision fatigue in nurses. Health Psychology, 38(4), 318-324.
  • Choudhary, C. J., Dixon, D., & Farquharson, B. (2020) A research protocol for a systematic review to identify potentially modifiable psychological and behavioural barriers to DA-CPR (dispatcher-assisted cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) experienced by dispatchers and bystanders. PROSPERO 2020 CRD42020213236 Available from:
  • Hall, L.H., Thorneloe, R., Rodriguez-Lopez, R., Grice, A., Thorat, M.A., Bradbury, K., Kamble, M. W., Okoli, G., Powell, D., & Beeken, R.J. (2021). Delivering brief physical activity interventions in primary care: a systematic review of the prevalence, and factors associated with delivery, receipt, and patient receptivity. British Journal of General Practice, 72(716), e209-e216. DOI: 10.3399/BJGP.2021.0312.
  • Maier, M., Allan, J. L., Powell, D. J., & Murchie, P. (2021) Systematic review of the effects of decision fatigue in healthcare professionals on medical decision making. PROSPERO 2021 CRD42021260081 Available from:
  • McCleary, N., Francis, J. J., Campbell, M. K., Ramsay, C. R., Eccles, M. P., Treweek, S., & Allan, J. L. (2017) ‘Better’ clinical decisions do not necessarily require more time to make. Journal Clinical Epidemiology, 82, 173-174.
  • Miller, J., Currie, S., McGregor, L. M., & O'Carroll, R. E. (2020). 'It's like being conscripted, one volunteer is better than 10 pressed men': A qualitative study into the views of people who plan to opt-out of organ donation. British Journal of Health Psychology, 25, 257-274.
  • Miller, J., Currie, S., & O'Carroll, R. E. (2019). ‘What if I'm not dead?’–Myth‐busting and organ donation. British Journal of Health Psychology, 24(1), 141-158.
  • Miller, J., Currie, S., & O'Carroll, R. E. (2019). ‘If I donate my organs it’s a gift, if you take them it’s theft’: A qualitative study of planned donor decisions under opt-out legislation. BMC Public Health, 19(1), 1463.
  • Miller, J., McGregor, L. M., Currie, S., & O'Carroll, R. E. (2021). Investigating the effects of threatening language, message framing and reactance in opt-out organ donation campaigns. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 1-14.
  • Temp, A. G. M., Dixon, D., Williams, B., & Farquharson, B. (2019) A research protocol for a systematic review to identify the behavior change techniques associated with increased initiation of CPR by lay people. PROSPERO 2019 CRD42019126745 Available from:
  • Allan JL, Johnston DW, Powell DJH, Farquharson B, Jones MC, Leckie G & Johnston M (2019) Clinical decisions and time since rest break: An analysis of decision fatigue in nurses. Health Psychology, 38, 318-324,
  • Maier M, Allan JL, Powell DJ & Murchie P. (2021) Systematic review of the effects of decision fatigue in healthcare professionals on medical decision making. PROSPERO 2021 CRD42021260081 Available from:
  • McCleary N, Francis JJ, Campbell MK, Ramsay CR, Eccles MP, Treweek S & Allan JL (2017) ‘Better’ clinical decisions do not necessarily require more time to make. Journal Clinical Epidemiology, 82, 173-174.
Long Term Conditions

By definition long term health conditions cannot be cured. We work to understand how patients can be supported to manage the signs and symptoms of long-term conditions to that they can manage their symptoms and maintain their health.

Find Out More

In this research theme we apply psychological theory to understand outcomes in long-term conditions. Our focus is on the psychological and behavioural outcomes associated with chronic conditions such as stroke, musculoskeletal conditions, amputation and cancer. We are also interested in interventions to improve outcomes in long-term conditions such as skin cancer

Theme Lead: Clare Cooper

Example projects


A Cancer Research UK funded project in collaboration with colleagues in Academic Primary care developing a testing a digital intervention to support people with melanoma to regularly check their skin for signs of recurrence. Contact Peter Murchie ( or Julia Allan (

Young Amputees

A project that is using an integrated model of disability to understand the impact of upper and lower limb amputation on quality of life in young people.

Example publications

  • Caes L, Dick B, Duncan C & Allan JL (2020) The cyclical relation between executive functioning and chronic pain in adolescence. Journal of Pediatric Psychology. DOI: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsaa114
  • Murchie P, Allan JL, Brant W, Dennis M, Hall S, Masthoff J, Walter FM & Johnston M (2015) Total skin self-examination at home for people treated for cutaneous melanoma: development and pilot of a digital intervention.  BMJ Open, 5: e007993.
  • Gray NM, Allan JL, Browne S, Hall S, Hubbard G, Johnston M, Lee AJ, McKinley A, Macleod U, Murchie P, Paterson K, Presseau J, Samuel L, Weller D, Wyke S & Campbell N (2013). Developing a complex intervention to improve quality of life in people with colorectal cancer; evidence, theory and acceptability.  BMJ Open, Epub ahead of print.doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013 -002596
  • Powell R, Allan JL, Johnston D, Gao C, Johnston M, Kenardy J, Pollard B & Rowley D (2009). Activity and affect: Repeated within participant assessment in people after joint replacement surgery.  Rehabilitation Psychology, 54(1), 83-90.

Behavioural theories explain why people act as they do and indicate how behaviour might be changed.

The theories we use are evidence based and allow us to understand, predict, explain and ultimately, change behaviour, and enhance health outcomes.

These theories are relevant to the behaviour of healthy people, members of the public, patients in healthcare settings, people with long-term health conditions, health professionals, and others involved in decisions and policy that affects healthcare.

We use a range of theories to explain behaviour and identify opportunities for behaviour change. These include, but are not limited to, Social Cognition Models, Self-regulation models, Stage theories, Dual-Processing theories, Cognitive theories, Theory of health outcomes, and work stress theories.

Sample Publications

  • Caes L, Dick B, Duncan C, Allan JL. The Cyclical Relation Between Chronic Pain, Executive Functioning, Emotional Regulation, and Self-Management. J Pediatr Psychol. 2021 Mar 18;46(3):286-292. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsaa114. PMID: 33249502.
  • Johnston, M. & Dixon, D. (2014) ‘Developing an integrated biomedical and behavioural theory of functioning and disability: adding models of behaviour to the ICF framework’. Health Psychology Review, vol 8, no. 4, 381-403. [Online] DOI: 10.1080/17437199.2013.855592
  • Presseau, J., Johnston, M., Johnston, D., Elovainio, M., Hrisos, S., Steen, N., Stamp, E., Francis, JJ., Grimshaw, J.M., Hawthorne, G., Hunter, M. & Eccles, MP. (2014). ‘Environmental and individual correlates of distress: Testing Karasek's Demand-Control model in 99 primary care clinical environments’. British Journal of Health Psychology, vol 19, no. 2, pp. 292-310. [Online] DOI: 10.1111/bjhp.12073

Most health psychology research is conducted outside of a laboratory, in real-life settings where things are complex, hard to measure, and difficult to control.

Our group contributes to improving methodology in many areas including ecological momentary assessment (EMA)*, content validity, behaviour change techniques and mechanisms of action, health behaviour classification and reporting standards for behavioural interventions.

*EMA is a set of methods used to observe behavioural, psychological, and/or physiological phenomena in real-time in real-world settings.

Theme Lead: Dr Dan Powell

Sample Publications


  • Asare, B., Robinson, S., Kwasnicka, D., & Powell, D. (2022). Application of ecological momentary assessment in studies with rotation workers in the resources and related construction sectors: a systematic review. Safety and Health at Work, 14(1), 10-16.
  • Perski, O., Keller, J., Kale, D., Asare, B., Schneider, V., Powell, D., Naughton, F., ten Hoor, G., Verboon, P., & Kwasnicka, D. (2022). Understanding health behaviours in context: a systematic review and meta-analysis of ecological momentary assessment studies of five key health behaviours. Health Psychology Review, 16(4), 576-601. DOI: 10.1080/17437199.2022.2112258
  • Johnston, M., Carey, R.N., Connell Bohlen, L.E., Johnston, D.W., Rothman, A.J., Kelly, M.P., Groarke, H., & Michie, S. (2021). Development of an online tool for linking behavior change techniques and mechanisms of action based on triangulation of findings from literature syntesis and expert consensus. Translational Behavioral Medicine, 11(5), 1049-1065. DOI: 10.1093/tbm/ibaa050
  • Johnston, M. (2021). Progress in conducting and reporting behaviour change intervention studies: a prospective retrospection. Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine, 9(1), 567-581. DOI: 10.1080/21642850.2021.1939701
  • Kitsaras G, Goodwin M, Allan JL, Kelly MP & Pretty IA (2021). Defining and measuring bedtime routines in families with young children: a DELPHI process for reaching wider consensus. Plos ONE, Feb 24;16(2):e0247490. Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0247490
  • Kitsaras G, Goodwin M, Allan JL, Kelly MP & Pretty IA (2020). An interactive text message survey as a novel assessment for bedtime routines in public health research: Observational study. JMIR Public Health Surveillance, Dec 21;6(4):e15524. doi: 10.2196/15524
  • Burrell A, Allan JL, William DM & Johnston M (2018). What is self-efficacy? Examining the Discriminant Content Validity of Self Efficacy items. British Journal of Health Psychology, 23, 597-611, doi: 10.1111/bjhp.12306.
  • Stok M, Renner B, Allan JL, Boeing H, Ensenauer R, Issanchou S, Kiesswetter E, Lien N, Mazzocchi M, Monsivais P, Stelmach M, Volkert D & Hoffmann S (2018). Dietary behaviour: An interdisciplinary conceptual analysis and taxonomy. Frontiers in Psychology: Eating Behavior, 9, 1689.
  • Bell C, Johnston DW, Allan JL, Pollard B & Johnston M (2017). What do Demand-Control and Effort-Reward work stress questionnaires really measure?  A Discriminant Content Validity study of relevance and representativeness of measures.  British Journal of Health Psychology, 22, 295-329.

Much of the work we do as a group focuses on the development, testing and evaluation of behaviour change interventions. These interventions range from large scale complex behavioural interventions tested in randomised controlled trials; to pragmatic choice architecture interventions designed to prompt changes in the real-world; to the embedding of theory-based behaviour change techniques into health promotion and public health campaigns or patient information resources.

Our group also works on various critical methodological issues in the context of interventions. For example, working on classifying the ‘active ingredients’ of behaviour change interventions (‘behaviour change techniques’ or BCTs) so that evidence can be effectively synthesised; understanding the impact of differences in intervention delivery (i.e. who delivered the intervention, to whom, how often, for how long, in what format, and in what context); and supporting the high quality reporting of behavioural interventions.

Example Publications

  • Power BT, Kiezebrink K, Allan JL & Campbell MK (2021). Development of a behaviour change workplace-based intervention to improve nurses’ eating and physical activity. Pilot and Feasibility Studies, Feb 18;7(1):53. Doi: 10.1186/s40814-021-00789-0
  • Allan JL & Powell DJ (2020). Prompting consumers to make healthier food choices in hospitals: A cluster randomised controlled trial. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 17(1):86. doi: 10.1186/s12966-020-00990-z.
  • Kitsaras G, Allan JL & Pretty IA (2020). Bedtime Routines Intervention for Children (BRIC) using an automated text messaging system for behaviour change: study protocol for an early phase study. Pilot and Feasibility Studies, 6 (14)
  • Murchie P, Masthoff J, Walter FM, Rahman K, Allan JL, Burrows N, Proby C, Lee AJ, Johnson M, Durrani A, Depasquale I, Brant W, Neilson A, Meredith F, Treweek S, Hall S & McDonald A (2019) Achieving Self-Directed Cancer Aftercare (ASICA) in melanoma: protocol for a randomised patient-focused pilot trial of delivering the ASICA intervention as a means to earlier detection of recurrent and second primary melanoma – Protocol Paper. Trials, 20:318,
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