Health Psychology Research Group

Health Psychology Research Group

​The Health Psychology Research Group focuses on many of the health-related issues that cause so much concern in today's society, for example: eating habits, binge drinking, lack of exercise, stress, teenage pregnancy and the impact of ageing. We are involved in helping to develop the evidence base to underpin behaviour change strategies, and in the design, implementation and evaluation of health-related interventions. These include: risk assessments of hospital patients, cognitive behavioural therapy for eating disorder patients, recovery from addiction, quality of life for people with spinal cord injury and the benefits of community garden projects.  

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a PhD Scholarship funded by Cardiff Metropolitan University and the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol on "Motivational interviewing through the medium of Welsh".
For further information in Welsh click here and in English click here.


Research Areas

Health Psychology and Medicines Use

This inter-professional group includes health psychologists, pharmacists and medical sociologists. We have strong links with the Centre for Behavioural Medicine at the School of Pharmacy in University College London (UCL), and have plans for collaborative research in 2017.Health Sciences Research - Health Psychology and Medicines Use

We are a new group, founded in November 2015 with "Get Started" funding from Cardiff Metropolitan University. We have already received further funding from Cwm Taf University Health Board (CTUHB) to complete a systematic review exploring the prescribing of medicines to people with health literacy. We have also recently secured funding for a PhD studentship in this field and are working with local practitioners on applications to explore how peoples' perceptions influence medications-taking behaviour and prescribing behaviours.

We also plan to seek funding to support further research with Professor Rob Horne's group at UCL, which will involve a Randomised Control Trial (RCT) to examine the use of Decision Support Software by GPs in Wales.


Managing Eating Behaviour

This research group looks at managing eating behaviour both in terms of everyday patterns of eating and also in relation to eating disorders. Our research has explored the ways in which people eat on a daily basis and the impact that may have on health, social and psychological outcomes. We have also conducted research to evaluate the management of eating disorders, both in Oxford and in Cardiff. Studies have been conducted in collaboration with clinicians working in the Adult Eating Disorder Service in Cardiff to explore the factors associated with the development and management of eating disorders.

Spinal Injury and Complex Trauma: supporting health and wellbeing

This research group involves working with people who have experienced a spinal injury or an injury resulting from other complex trauma, in order to improve their health and wellbeing. We look at factors that influence the quality of life in people with spinal injuries and have developed a peer support group to enhance the quality of life and wellbeing in this group.

We have also obtained funding to research the ways in which military veterans with amputated limbs as a result of complex trauma can be encouraged to engage in more physical exercise thereby enhancing independence, health and wellbeing.

Workplace Health and Wellbeing

We look at how the workplace and personal factors relate to stress and wellbeing. We have conducted studies in both Spain and the UK including some cross-cultural comparisons between the data. Our research explores the psychometric properties of measures used to assess workplace factors, including conducting systematic reviews to analyse the use of measures in specific contexts and the predictive power of these measures. The group also analyses workplace and personal factors to identify the relationships between the variables and identity factors that predict workplace outcomes such as sickness absence, job performance and intention to quit. Interventions can then be designed to manipulate these factors and potentially improve outcomes for individuals and employers.

Evaluation and policy related to healthcare

A study commissioned by Public Health Wales has recently been  accepted by the Welsh Government, and will soon be disseminated through a public health launch. The study explored the attitudes and behaviour of children and young people towards tobacco smoking and vaping. Findings indicated that smoking behaviour is more prevalent in areas of lower socioeconomic deprivation and that children and young people (who had previously never smoked) are experimenting and taking up vaping. The study also found that approximately 20% of parents smoke, which was associated with the uptake and ongoing smoking behaviour in the children and young people, particularly if the mother was the parental smoker.

Our research has also involved reviewing the access to and provision of psychological therapies in Wales for the Welsh Government. This resulted in the development of a report which was accepted by the Minister and the findings have informed the development of the Welsh Mental Health Strategy. Our research has also led to increased access to psychological therapy through the development of the 'Matrix' and resulted in increased training of primary mental health staff with Welsh Government funding.

Alcohol and substance use

Our research into alcohol dependence and misuse primarily evaluates behavioural change, for example, examining the addition of a psychological intervention to a home detoxification plan. However, our research has also changed clinical practice. Research funded by the Alcohol Education & Research Council (2000-2001) led to the development of the fast alcohol screening measure (FAST) test; a brief screening measure used to assess hazardous drinking. The FAST test is now recommended under NICE guidelines and is used in primary care settings worldwide.

Additional research commissioned by the Alcohol Education Research Council, the Welsh Assembly Government and Drinkaware looked at the effectiveness of social normative interventions to reduce alcohol consumption in young people. Further studies funded by the Welsh Government looked at mapping alcohol-related admissions to A&E departments, student drinking and alcohol-related beliefs. Our research has helped to develop several guides and reviews of care pathways and counselling for substance misuse services in Wales.


Group Members

Dr Delyth H James
Reader in Health and
Occupational Psychology and
MSc Programme Director
Senior Lecturer in Health
Psychology, Registered Pharmacist
and REF Co-ordinator
Reader in Health
Psychology and Addiction


Dr Aime-Louise Prior

Lecturer in Health Psychology

Cardiff School of Sport
and Health Sciences

Programme Director -
 Occupational Health and Safety
​Chris Deacy,
Director of Health and
 Wellbeing, Human Resources
​Carrie Griffiths,
Research Assistant and
MSc student in Health Psychology

​​Gareth Thomas,
Academic Associate (PhD)
Anne Hinchliffe,
Academic Associate (PhD)



Jamie Hayes, Wales Medicines Resource Centre (WeMeRec)

Andrew Evans, Welsh Government

Paul Gimson, Public Health Wales

Howard Rowe, Cwm Taf University Health Board

David McRae, Cwm Taf University Health Board

Alison Sparkes, The Health Dispensary (Neath)

Dr Debbie Woodward, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

Toni Hoefkens, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

Dr Jenny Moses, Rookwood Hospital, Cardiff

Help for Heroes

Royal British Legion 

Miguel Ángel Mañas-Rodríguez, Universidad de Almeria 



Cardiff Metropolitan University "Get Started" Scheme (2015) - £1000.

Cwm Taf University Health Board (2016) - £5000.

Reverse SIP (Cardiff Metropolitan University) (2012). Partner Organisation: Cardiff and Vale Eating Disorder Service - £2000.

KESS-II PhD funding (from January 2017)

NISCHR (2014). "Improving Quality of Life after Spinal Cord Injury: intervention design and feasibility study. - £65,979.40.

Wales Office of Research and Development (WORD) (2010): "Attitudes to Teenage Pregnancy." PhD funding - £59,625.

WORD (2010): "Investigation of the optimum requirements and practical possibilities for a telephone helpline for patients with Anorexia Nervosa." PhD funding - £59,875. 

British Academy Small Research Grant (2000-2001). "Appraisal, coping and psychological well-being amongst military personnel undertaking accompanied military postings." - £3900.


Key Publications

McRae D., Allman M., James D. The redistribution of medicines: could it become a reality? International Journal of Pharmacy Practice. 2016 May [Epub ahead of print].

Knott S., Woodward D., Hoefkens A., Limbert C. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Bulimia Nervosa and Eating Disorders not otherwise specified: translation from a randomized control trial to a clinical setting. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy. 2015 Nov; 43 (6): 641-54.

Mañas-Rodríguez MA., Alcaraz-Pardo L., Pecino-Medina V., Limbert C. Validation of the Spanish version of Soane's ISA Engagement Scale. Revista de Psicología del Trabajo y de las Organizaciones. 2016; 23 (2): 87-93.