Health, Lifestyles & Wellbeing

The Health research group covers three main themes of research: Social Identification, Health and Cognition, and Health and Sport. Research members investigate a range of psychosocial (e.g. social identities and social support) and contextual influences on behaviour, and attempt to expand theoretical models of coping and adjustment. As a result, this research deals with real-world issues ranging from the social implications arising from racism, motivation, and happiness, to substance misuse, or to the impact of stress, coping, emotion and mental toughness as revealed in the context of sport.

Examples of research

Drug Misuse and Cognitive Deficits. Professor Philip Murphy’s research focusses on the effects of such drug misuse on different aspects of working memory (i.e. memory which helps us cope with the immediate world around us), with particular attention to executive processes such as the ability to update our representations of what is happening in the light of incoming information, and the ability to switch the focus of our attention. These findings in this field have been published in high profile journals around the world, presented at international conferences, and have received much media attention at times.

Social and contextual influences on substance use. Professor Derek Heim’s research investigates social and contextual influences on substance use and aims to expand theoretical models of coping and adjustment by investigating pragmatically the possibility that psychosocial factors (e.g. social identities and social support) modify adverse effects of negative experiences such as racism or bullying.

Social identity in digital gaming. Dr Linda Kaye’s research explores how social identity operates within digital gaming communities. Namely, whether gamer identity bolsters positive psychosocial outcomes, but also how gaming and other virtual settings can be a mechanism to support social inclusion.

Cognitive, affective and behavioural outcomes in the context of sport. Dr Andy Levy’s research examines the impact of stress, coping, emotion and mental toughness aims to enhance theoretical understanding with a view to informing interventions and applied practice among a range of competitive athletes.  Additionally, Dr Dave Marchant’s work concerns (i) effects of attentional focus on movement execution and learning in sport, exercise and rehabilitative settings and (ii) exercise behaviour uptake and maintenance, acute bouts of and long-term participation in exercise and mental and cognitive health, exercise dependence, exertion tolerance

Contextual influences on personality judgement accuracy. Dr Helen Wall leads this research in assessing the accuracy of observers’ personality judgements of targets. This includes an investigation of the behavioural indicators of personality in addition to the behavioural cues used by judges when assessing another’s personality across a range of contexts. Current projects are developing these lines of inquiry by examining the role of online and offline impression management on the expression and perception of personality and draws on a variety of assessment perspectives; namely, self and informant reports of personality and implicit measures.

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