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PsychologyOur research

Research Group: Centre for Applications of Health Psychology (CAHP)

Currently Active: 

The purpose of CAHP is to promote the application of psychology to alleviate health problems in clinical and non-clinical populations. The group has many strengths and members of the group are international leaders in the fields of sexual health (Graham), pain (Liossi, Schoth), placebo (Bishop), behavioural management of infection (Yardley) and chronic conditions (Yardley, Kirby, Dennison). CAHP members have particular expertise and a leading national and international reputation in the development and evaluation of digital health-related behaviour change interventions for promoting health (e.g. through diet and physical activity) and illness management (e.g. for cancer, pain, diabetes and many other conditions).

Group Overview

Our work includes:

  • Basic research to establish the mechanisms underlying psychological aspects of health and health problems and their effective measurement and management
  • Translational research testing the efficacy and effectiveness of theory-based psychological interventions and psychological aspects of medical interventions
  • Development and evaluation of innovative methods of studying, measuring, promoting and managing health
  • Provision of psychological services to advise on and/or assist with health promotion or the management of health problems
  • Education and training for health professionals and psychologists in the use of psychological interventions.

CAHP members use a wide range of research methods and collaborate with researchers from many countries and across a range of disciplines, including public health, computer science, sociology, and health sciences.


Research Themes

Web-based interventions

CAHP has a large programme of research (over £15 million) developing and evaluating web-based behavioural interventions to improve health. These include websites to:

  • help people self-manage a range of health conditions, including hypertension, cancer-related fatigue, disability following stroke, dizziness, irritable bowel syndrome, flu-related symptoms and infections, and eczema
  • Support people to lose weight, stop smoking, practice hand hygiene and increase their physical activity

Understanding Pain

Research on pain focuses mainly on three intertwined themes:

  • the cognitive and affective neuroscience of pain – in particular, the emotional modulation of attention in chronic pain.
  • the development of theory driven psychological interventions for the management of acute and chronic pain in children and adults.
  • the evaluation of the efficacy and effectiveness of psychological interventions in paediatric and adult pain management.

Understanding patient experiences

  • Research on the patient perspective and contextual effects of health care interventions includes:
  • Patients’ experiences, uptake and adherence to treatment, enhancing treatment outcomes through psychological pathways
  • The use of placebos in clinical trials and clinical practice
Balance Training website
Balance Training website

Sexual and reproductive health

This research topic includes studies of:

  • hormonal contraceptive use and sexual functioning
  • sexually transmitted infections and psychological/sexual functioning
  • condom use errors and problems
  • sexual problems
  • female sexual arousal and desire (using the Dual Control Model, developed at the Kinsey Institute, as a theoretical framework).

Permanent CAHP members:

Lucy Yardley (Director)
Christina Liossi
Cynthia Graham
Felicity Bishop
Sarah Kirby
Laura Dennison
Alarcos Cieza
Ingrid Muller



Research Staff

Related Projects

Related ProjectsStatusType
Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in primary careActive
PROstate ACTIVE Surveillance supportActive
Mechanisms in Orthodox and Complementary Alternative Medicine Management of Back Pain (MOCAM study)Active
Positive Online Weight Reduction (POWeR)Active
Psychosocial stress and multiple sclerosis (MS) symptomsActive
Assessing Cognitive behavioural Therapy in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (ACTIB)Active
Barriers to effective self-management of asthma: A systematic reviewActive
PRimary care Infection Management for Everday practice (PRIME)Active
Cost-effectiveness of self-management of dizziness in primary careActive
Diabetes LiteracyActive
Acupuncture for Back Pain: Evaluating Patient Outcomes and Their DeterminantsActive
Creating a taxonomy to harness the placebo effect in UK primary careActive
Model disability surveyActive
MARATONE (Mental Health Training through Research Network in Europe)Active
BREATHE (Breathing Retraining for Asthma Trial of Home Exercise)Active
Placebo effects and informed consentActive
Treatment Beliefs in Back PainActive
PARADISE (Psychosocial Difficulties Relevant to Brain Disorders in Europe)Active
Development and evaluation of an interactive, internet-based smoking cessation interventionActive
Positive Online Weight Reduction Plus (POWeR+)Active
Improving communication with the public about antivirals and vaccination during the next pandemic (INfluENCE)Active
Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of an Online Dizziness Intervention for Older adultsActive
The role of acceptance in adjustment to Meniere's diseaseActive
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