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Research Group: Centre for Clinical and Community Applications of Health Psychology (CCCAHP)

Currently Active: 

The purpose of CCCAHP is to promote the application of psychology to improve health and well-being and alleviate and prevent health problems in clinical and non-clinical populations. Members of the group work in the fields of sexual health (Graham, Ingham, Armstrong, Stone), pain (Liossi, Schoth), placebo and contextual components of healthcare (Bishop, Bradbury), complementary therapy use (Bishop), behavioural management of infection (Yardley), and chronic conditions (Yardley, Kirby, Dennison, Morrison, Bradbury, Liossi). CCCAHP members have particular expertise and leading national and international reputations 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).  

Research Priorities

Currently our research focuses on:

  • 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 and public health interventions
  • synthesis of topical and important health- and illness-related research literatures via timely systematic reviews, including meta-analytic techniques and narrative synthesis, development and evaluation of innovative methods of studying, measuring, promoting and managing health and wellbeing at individual and community levels
  • provision of psychological services to advise on and/or assist with health promotion or the management of health problems at both individual and community levels
  • training for health professionals and psychologists in communication and the use of psychological interventions.
  • increasing understanding of factors related to health and well-being in specific populations (e.g., sexual and gender minority individuals)
Research Themes

Digital interventions

CCCAHP has a large programme of research (over £80 million) developing and evaluating digital behavioural interventions to improve health. CCCHAP members pioneered the Person-based Approach to intervention development (see: and co-created the LifeGuide software platform to support the iterative development, evaluation and dissemination of interventions (see: These include digital tools to:

  • help people self-manage a range of health conditions, including hypertension, cancer-related fatigue, disability following stroke, dizziness, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes and its complications , flu-related symptoms and infections, and eczema
  • support people to lose weight, stop smoking, practice hand hygiene, improve nutrition and increase their physical activity
  • support children and young people and their families manage chronic pain of any aetiology including cancer-related pain and pain at the end of life and in survivors.
  • help improve the uptake of condom use and reduce sexually transmitted infections
  • enhance clinicians’ communication skills

Understanding Pain

For more information visit Pain Research Lab page.

Our research into paediatric and adult pain aims to push the boundaries of knowledge and increase our understanding of the psychological aspects of acute and chronic pain throughout the lifespan, and improve how pain is managed by addressing its psychological correlates. Our research 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.

Current studies include:

  • The PARAMOUNT Study: End-of-Life pain management by family carers and healthcare professionals in infants, children and young people in out of hospital settings
  • Attentional bias to somatosensory stimuli in chronic pain patients
  • Prevention of Morbidity in Sickle Cell Disease (POMS2a)-overnight auto-adjusting continuous positive airway pressure compared with nocturnal oxygen therapy

Our research is informed by systematic reviews and meta-analyses, some recent and current examples of which include:

  • Home-based physical symptom management interventions for informal (family) caregivers of patients with life limiting conditions
  • The association between quantitative sensory testing and pain intensity or disability in paediatric chronic pain
  • Conditioned pain modulation in children and adolescents
  • The impact of chronic pain on school functioning for children and young people.


Sexual and Reproductive Health

For more information visit Centre for Sexual Health Research page

Current and recent research on sexual and reproductive health includes these areas:

  • sexually transmitted infections
  • interventions to improve uptake, and experience of, condom use
  • young people’s sexual activity
  • areal variations in rates of teenage conceptions
  • the role of pleasure in sexual development and in relationships
  • challenges and opportunities associated with increases in pornography access
  • factors affecting conception outcome decisions in young people
  • sexual health among older adults
  • development of innovative sex education programmes
  • understanding of sexual health and behaviour in couple relationships
  • mental, physical, and sexual health and well-being among sexual and gender minority individuals
  • HIV prevention strategies, including the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
  • sexual orientation and identity

Understanding patient experiences

Our research on patients’ experiences uses mixed methods to explore, understand, and work to improve patients’ experiences of diverse health care interventions. Areas of current interest include:

  • supporting informed treatment decision-making and adherence to treatment, enhancing treatment outcomes through psychological pathways
  • patients’ lived experience of the use of placebos in randomised clinical trials and associated ethical procedures
  • innovative and ethically acceptable ways to harness contextual components of healthcare (including placebo effects) and thus improve patients’ experiences and clinical outcomes
  • complementary, alternative, and integrative medicine, including the role of these approaches in supporting health behaviour change

Facilities and Equipment

The Pain Research Laboratory is temperature-controlled and hosts state-of-the-art quantitative sensory testing equipment, including the TSA-II Neurosensory-Analyser, a bespoke cold-pressor task, Rolltemp rollers, a handheld digital algometer, pinprick stimulators, and a set of von Frey hairs among others. The lab features a private waiting area, which is especially important for parents when conducting our paediatric research.


Members of our research group have received funding from the UK research councils, NIHR, medical charities, Australian Research Council, Norwegian Research Council, DfID, and EC.

Collaboration and Partnership

CCCAHP collaborates with researchers from many countries and across a range of disciplines, including medicine, public health, computer science, sociology, and health sciences. Current collaborators include researchers from: University College London, University of Oxford, Bristol University, Coventry University, Harvard University, Indiana University, University of Oslo, University of Sussex, University of Technology Sydney, University of British Columbia, University of Victoria, and the Royal Marsden and Great Ormond Street Hospitals.


Impact - brief description of pathways to impact

The digital interventions developed by CCCAHP are made available nationally and internationally to help patients, clinicians and members of the community manage their health. Our university enterprise works with the public, private and third sectors, and has already disseminated interventions to help with antimicrobial stewardship, obesity, respiratory illness, and dizziness.

Prof Liossi runs an outpatient psychology clinic and participates in the MDT clinics for children with chronic pain and is the co-chair of Great Ormond Street Hospital’s (GOSH) paediatric psychology research committee. Access to clinical populations at GOSH has supported recruitment to funded trials and provides direct pathways to impact for the Pain Research Lab’s translational research.


CCCAHP also informs clinical practice and educational initiatives; for example, members of CCCAHP have participated in preparing clinical and education practice guidelines and giving guidance to WHO and NICE. Additionally, in terms of public health policy, members of CCCAHP have attended Parliamentary Select Committees, been members of Government Independent Advisory Groups, including SAGE, as well as offering guidance to some LMIC governments (including Nepal and Thailand) on sexual health, sex education and related issues. Members of CCCAHP work with national and international policy-makers to develop processes and programmes to reduce negative sexual and reproductive health outcomes. Members of CCCAHP also work directly with local NHS services to improve and evaluate service delivery.


Permanent CCCAHP members:

Heather Armstrong

Felicity Bishop

Kat Bradbury

Laura Dennison

Cynthia Graham (Co-Director)

Roger Ingham

Sarah Kirby

Christina Liossi (Co-Director)

Leanne Morrison

Daniel Schoth

Lucy Yardley


List of related projects to Centre for Clinical and Community Applications of Health Psychology (CCCAHP)
Related ProjectsStatus
Development and evaluation of an online psychological intervention to reduce distress in people with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and their family membersActive
BREATHE4T (Breathing REtraining for Asthma Trial of Home Exercises for Teenagers) Active
Empathica: Expectation Management for Patients in Primary Care: Developing and Feasibility Testing a New Digital Intervention for PractitionersActive
Germ DefenceActive
Sexual health service provisioningActive
Brain development studyActive
PARADISE (Psychosocial Difficulties Relevant to Brain Disorders in Europe)Active
Barriers to effective self-management of asthma: A systematic reviewActive
Cancer: Life Affirming Survivorship support in Primary care (CLASP) programmeActive
Mechanisms in Orthodox and Complementary Alternative Medicine Management of Back Pain (MOCAM study)Active
Improving communication with the public about antivirals and vaccination during the next pandemic (INfluENCE)Active
Safe4Play: Innovative educational intervention for safer sexual and reproductive healthActive
RECON - Reducing and preventing Cognitive impairment iN older age groups (the RECON programme)Active
Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of an Online Dizziness Intervention for Older adultsActive
Sexual wellbeing, functioning, arousal and pleasureActive
Cost-effectiveness of self-management of dizziness in primary careActive
Development and evaluation of an interactive, internet-based smoking cessation interventionActive
Contraceptive utilisation, condom use and STI prevention Active
Positive Online Weight Reduction (POWeR)Active
Evaluation of HIS-UKActive
Antibiotic Reduction and conservation in hospitals (ARK - Hospital)Active
Diabetes LiteracyActive
Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in primary careActive
STREAM - Screen and TREAt for MalnutritionActive
PRimary care Infection Management for Everday practice (PRIME)Active
Sexuality education and sexual health literacyActive
ECO - Eczema Care OnlineActive
Dose for Adjustment for Normal Eating (DAFNE)Active
Psychosocial stress and multiple sclerosis (MS) symptomsActive
Model disability surveyActive
Sexual health promotion and policy Active
The Atlantis study: Amitriptyline at Low-dose and Titrated for Irritable Bowel Syndrome as Second-line Treatment: A Double-blind Placebo-controlled TrialActive
Early parenthood and teenage pregnancyActive
CLASP Cancer: Life Affirming Survivorship support in Primary careActive
Placebo effects and informed consentActive
The role of acceptance in adjustment to Meniere's diseaseActive
Supporting self-management of low back pain with an internet intervention in primary care: A randomised controlled trial of clinical and cost-effectiveness (SupportBack 2)Active
REDUCE (REviewing long term anti-Depressant Use by Careful monitoring in Everyday practice)Active
Safe passages to adulthoodDormant
Opportunities and choicesDormant
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