Dr Debbie Clayton is a Principal Lecturer within the Department of Applied Psychology and Programme Director for the BSc (Hons) Psychology Programme. At undergraduate level her main teaching responsibilities are in areas related to health, environmental and social psychology. At masters level she is the module leader for Research Skills, delivered to PhD and Masters students.
Debbie’s research interests lie in the areas of lifestyle psychology, healthy ageing and the role of socially engaging leisure activities. She is particularly interested in activities that are conducted outdoors or involve interaction with nature, such as walking, gardening or care farming. Evidence suggests that engaging in activities outdoors may offer positive benefits for our cognitive functioning, physical health and psychological well-being. The outdoor environment could be the key to explaining these observations, providing a sense of escape, space and relaxation. Or the explanation could lie elsewhere, for example, in the increased levels of social support, physical activity, creativity or self-esteem. Debbie led the NISCHR funded project “Growing a healthy older population in Wales”, investigating the benefits of community and allotment gardening for older people. Building on a public engagement project exploring care farming for excluded young people, Debbie is also working with Jenny Mercer to investigate the benefits of volunteering on Care Farms.
Debbie is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and is both a teaching advisor and a staff representative on the PGC(HE) Programme. As such she is actively involved in supervising staff studying for a teaching qualification in Higher Education as well as contributing to course development and examining portfolios of evidence. Debbie is co-author of a revision textbook in Social Psychology, part of the BPS Psychology Express Series This text has been written to help students to revise effectively and to support students in developing evaluative skills.