Health Psychology

Health Psychology

Research into a broad spectrum of psychological issues relating to health.

Pills on a plate 95551259

Health Psychology 

The Health Psychology cluster is an active and enthusiastic research team with an interest in researching psychological issues relating to health. Our research spans a broad range of areas, from preventative health to chronic health conditions, as well as psychological factors relating to health settings and the professionals who work within them. We use multiple methodologies from both quantitative and qualitative traditions. We have an outward-looking approach to research projects, and welcome prospective novel collaborations.

There are three main themes of specialism within the group.

1. Psychology of language/communication in health settings

Sexual health, infection control, mental health, compassion.

2. Psychosocial factors associated with chronic health conditions

Parkinson’s disease, Thalassemia, Migraine, Endometriosis, Stroke, Musculoskeletal conditions.

3. Preventative health, especially in relation to food intake

Breast feeding, child eating behaviour, F&V consumption, weight loss/obesity, eating disorders.



Group coordinator: Dr Helen Coulthard


Dr Vicky Aldridge ( Eating and feeding disorders

Professor Brown ( Language of health communication

Dr Helen Coulthard ( healthy and disordered eating behaviour

Dr Joanne Faelling ( stress and coping strategies

Dr Steven Lyttle ( Experience of breast feeding

Dr Blessing Marandure ( Drug and alcohol use in young people

Dr Zoe Palfreyman ( Feeding problems in children

Dr Annemieke van den Tol (

Dr Iain Williamson ( Health in disadvantaged communities, living with chronic conditions

PhD Students

Clare Edens. Exploring the effectiveness of parental coaching to reduce child behaviour problems

Gemma Fox.  Towards an understanding of Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder in adults

Finbarr McConnell.  Metaphors of Transformation. A longitudinal study of how people who participate or have participated in Alcoholics Anonymous talk about transformations in consciousness.

Periklis Papaloukas.  The experiences of LGBT individuals living with Multiple Sclerosis 


  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Nottingham
  • Swansea University
  • Aston University
  • Birmingham City University
  • Member of the Reproduction Research Group (HM & ID).

Selected research outputs

Brown, B., Tanner, J. and Padley, W. (2014) ‘This wound has spoiled everything’: Emotional capital and the experience of surgical site infections. Sociology of Health and illness, 36(8), 1171–1187.

Coulthard, H. & Thakker, D. (2015). Enjoyment of tactile play is associated with lower food neophobia in preschool children. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, 115(7), 1134-1140.

Culley, L., Law, C., Hudson,N., Denny, E., Mitchell, H., Baumgarten, M. and Raine-Fenning, N. (2013) The social and psychological impact of endometriosis on women's lives: a critical narrative review . Human Reproduction Update; doi: 10.1093/humupd/dmt027

Gokal, K., Wallis, D., Admed, S., Boiangiu, I., Kancherla, K., & Munir, F. (in press). Effects of a self-managed home-based walking intervention on psychosocial health outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy: a randomised controlled trial. Supportive Care in Cancer.                                

Leeming, D., Williamson, I., Lyttle, S., & Johnson, S. (2013). Socially sensitive lactation: Exploring the social context of breastfeeding. Psychology and Health, 28,450-468. 

Palfreyman, Z., Haycraft, E.,& Meyer, C. (2013). Unintentional role models: Links between maternal eating psychopathology and the modelling of eating behaviours. European Eating Disorders Review. DOI: 10.1002/erv.2219

Papaloukas, P., Quincey, K. & Williamson, I. (2017). Venturing into the visual voice: combining photos and interviews in phenomenological inquiry around marginalisation and chronic illness Qualitative Research in Psychology DOI:10.1080/14780887.2017.1329364

Quincey, K., Williamson. I., & Winstanley, S. (2016). “Marginalised malignancies”: A qualitative synthesis of men’s accounts of living with breast cancer. Social Science & Medicine, 149, 17-25. http://doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.11.032

White, H.J., Haycraft, E., Wallis D.J., Arcelus, J., Leung, N. & Meyer, C (2015). Development of the Mealtime Emotions Measure for adolescents (MEM-A): Gender differences in emotional responses to family mealtimes and eating psychopathology. Appetite, 85, 76-83.

Williamson, I. & Sacranie, S. (2012). Nourishing body and spirit': Exploring British Muslim mothers' constructions and experiences of breastfeeding. Diversity and Equality in Health and Social Care, 9 (2),113-125.

Research grants

We are involved in several ongoing research grants, including

Exploring the use of music listening as an alternative to emotional eating. 
Dr Annemieke van den Tol and Dr Helen Coulthard. British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Small Research Grant Scheme (£9987) 2016-2017.

Creative practice as mutual recovery: Connecting communities for mental health and wellbeing.
With a consortium of institutions including Nottingham University, Derby University, Falmouth University of the Arts, The Royal College of Music. Funded by the AHRC (£1499754). (Professor Brown) May 2013 – May 2018.

MacMillan Cancer Support Volunteering Project
Iain Williamson and Diane Wildbur.  Fund a permanent, part-time assistant (Katie Bell). The team work on projects of mutual interest to Macmillan and DMU and are currently focusing on the health and well-being of volunteers (including students) who support those with Cancer and other long-term health conditions. (2013-ongoing).

Research Equipment