Wellbeing and Psychological Health

About The Wellbeing and Psychological Health Research Cluster:

Led by Dr Niall Galbraith & Dr Wendy Nicholls

 

Mission

The purpose of the Wellbeing and Psychological Health research cluster is to produce novel and impactful research at the intersection of physical and psychological health: health defined in the broadest by the World Health Organisation (2018) as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.  Our mission is research excellence, to build impact through regional, national and international partnerships and to improve lives (individuals, families and communities) through dissemination and sharing of our research.

This research cluster offers regular meetings, collegial support and mentorship, knowledge exchange channels and guidance in the development of grant applications, projects, publishing and research impact activities.  We sit within a large Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing which affords a rich academic mix including allied health professions, public health, medicine, education and sport science. Membership is inclusive, open to anyone across the University with an interest in wellbeing and psychological health, with novel perspectives welcomed. Cross fertilisation with other communities of research and practice is actively encouraged and we have an extensive network of external collaborators including health services, the emergency services, charities and schools.

Our cluster comprises a group of academics, practitioners, research staff and postgraduate students from a diverse range of interests and expertise. There is a holistic approach to our culture whereby our research informs our teaching and students are encouraged to affiliate with our cluster, helping to nurture their own research interests.

 

Research is most successful when done with collaborators. As well as working with international and national partners we also take pride in the crucial research we carry out alongside our many regional community colleagues.

International Connections

We have published with and continue to do research alongside colleagues from Universities all over the world. These connections span Nigeria, Canada, the USA, France, Italy, and Japan.

National and Community Connections

  • West Midlands Police, West Mercia Police and North Wales Police has led to bespoke training and best practice recommendations to equip officers and staff with improved suicide prevention skills and better stress awareness 
  • Our research on weight management has led to new psychological interventions benefitting people who are overweight or obese.  
  • Dr Orchard has presented CPD sessions for the Breastfeeding Network which was informed by the research funded from an Early Career grant (mentored by Nicholls).  
  • Dr Purewal has led a collaborative project with Wolverhampton Art Gallery, the Royal Wolverhampton Trust and the University of Wolverhampton’s Art School to destigmatise chronic IBD in the South Asian female population.  
  • We worked with Tiller Research to evaluate the Active HERE project, funded by Herefordshire Council and Sport England. Active HERE was a community-based intervention to increase physical activity levels among inactive adults. We are currently working with Tiller research to evaluate the Our Community Can project, designed to enhance physical and creative activity in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. 
  • We collaborate with numerous NHS trusts including: Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, Central Manchester NHS Foundation Trust; South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Worcestershire, Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, and Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust; Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust  
  • We also have partnerships with schools and charities, including  Wrekin College, Kineton High School, St Michael’s CE High School, Rugby Girl’s Grammar School,  Buses 4 Homeless, the Samaritans and the Breastfeeding Network. 

 

Membership is inclusive, open to anyone across the University and to anyone from an outside organisation with an interest in wellbeing and psychological health. Cross fertilisation with other Research Clusters, Faculties and among Psychology communities of research and practice is actively encouraged. Post graduate Research students are very welcome. We offer collegial support and mentorship, knowledge exchange channels and support the development of grant applications, projects and publications. Please email Niall Galbraith or Wendy Nicholls if you are interested in joining us.

Dr Georgios Agathokleous

Dr David Boyda

Dr Darren Chadwick

Dr Chris Cockshott

Dr Niall Galbraith

Dr Alexa Guy

Dr Gemma Heath

Garrett Kennedy

Dr Lamprini Mangiorou

Dr Hana Morrissey

Dr Danielle McFeeters

Dr Wendy Nicholls

Dr Satvinder Purewal

Debbie Stevens-Gill

Dr Abigail Taiwo

Dr Samuel Westwood

 

 

Led by Dr Nicholls 

Members: 

Tracey Devonport, Darren ChadwickErica Thomas, Gurpinder Lalli, Jennifer Lim, Claire Parkes, Claire Cotterill, Lorraine Pollard, Gemma Heath, Sally Johnson, Marcia Blake, Sharon McIntosh. 

In recognition that eating behaviour, and weight management require a multidisciplinary approach, this SIRG brings together expertise from psychology, sport, nursing, public health, speach and language therapy and and education. Our aim is to understand eating behaviour, in particular non-hunger eating, which may be motivated by environmental or internal factors, such as our emotions, and which may lead to long-term weight gain, or a failure to maintain a healthy weight. An additional topic studied by members of the SIRG is eating, drinking and swallowing problems faced by those with disabilities.  

Obesity is a pressing health concern, with some BAME communities particularly vulnerable to associated comorbidities (e.g., type II diabetes), as such, there is an urgent need to understand how we can help people to maintain a healthy weight. Our aim is to contribute new knowledge towards that understanding. Towards this aim, our SIRG has published systematic reviews exploring the role of emotion in eating behaviour. We have developed interventions to help with food cravings, and also psychometric tests for use in community and clinical settings, which can help identify problematic eating behaviours. 

Our SIRG is directly involved in the process of developing national guidelines for weight management and healthy living through being stakeholders for the National Institute for Clinical Excellence in their current review of clinical guidelines. 

A project page where you can download research papers, presentations and resources focusing on Dysphagia in People with a Learning Disability can be found here. 

 

Croom, S., Chadwick, D., Nicholls, W., & McGarry, A. (2021). The experiences of adults with intellectual disabilities attending a mindfulness-based group intervention. British Journal of Learning Disabilities.

Devonport, T., Ruiz, M., Chen-Wilson, J., Nicholls, W., Cagas, J., Fernandez-Montalvo, J., ... & Robazza, C. (2021). A cross-cultural exploratory study of health behaviours and wellbeing during Covid-19. Frontiers in Psychology.

Galbraith, N., Boyda, D., McFeeters, D., & Galbraith, V. (2021). Patterns of occupational stress in police contact and dispatch personnel: implications for physical and psychological health. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 94(2), 231-241.

Kent, S., Devonport, T. J., Lane, A. M., & Nicholls, W. (2021). Implementing a pressure training program to improve decision-making and execution of skill among premier league academy soccer players. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 1-41.

Bhogal, M. S., Farrelly, D., Galbraith, N., Manktelow, K., & Bradley, H. (2020). The role of altruistic costs in human mate choice. Personality and Individual Differences, 160, 109939.

Boyda, D., McFeeters, D., Dhingra, K., & Kelleher, I. (2020). A population-based analysis of interpersonal trauma, psychosis, and suicide: evidence, pathways, and implications. Journal of interpersonal violence, 0886260520912591.

Devonport, T., Kent, S., Lane, A., & Nicholls, W. (2020). The importance of contextualization when developing pressure intervention: An illustration among age-group professional soccer players. Psychreg Journal of Psychology.

Galbraith, N., Boyda, D., McFeeters, D., & Hassan, T. (2020). The mental health of doctors during the COVID-19 pandemic. BJPsych bulletin, 1-4.

O'Neill, S., Potts, C., Bond, R. R., Mulvenna, M., Ennis, E., McFeeters, D., ... & Turkington, R. (2020). An analysis of the impact of suicide prevention messages and memorials on motorway bridges. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behaviour.

Orchard, L. J., & Nicholls, W. (2020). A systematic review exploring the impact of social media on breastfeeding practices. Current Psychology, 1-17.

Wan, Y., Xu, H., Wang, S., Boyda, D., Mcfeeters, D., Sun, Y., ... & Tao, F. (2020). Gender differences in the relationship between sleep problems and suicide attempt in adolescents. Frontiers in psychiatry, 11, 133.

Bhogal, M. S., Farrelly, D., & Galbraith, N. (2019). The role of prosocial behaviors in mate choice: A critical review of the literature. Current Psychology, 38(4), 1062-1075.

Danat, I. M., Clifford, A., Partridge, M., Zhou, W., Bakre, A. T., Chen, A., ... & Chen, R. (2019). Impacts of overweight and obesity in older age on the risk of dementia: a systematic literature review and a meta-analysis. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 70(s1), S87-S99.

Devonport, T. J., Nicholls, W., & Fullerton, C. (2019). A systematic review of the association between emotions and eating behaviour in normal and overweight adult populations. Journal of Health Psychology, 24(1), 3-24.

Hulbert-Williams, L., Hulbert-Williams, N. J., Nicholls, W., Williamson, S., Poonia, J., & Hochard, K. D. (2019). Ultra-brief non-expert-delivered defusion and acceptance exercises for food cravings: A partial replication study. Journal of health psychology, 24(12), 1698-1709.

Vogel, D. L., Heath, P. J., Engel, K. E., Brenner, R. E., Strass, H. A., Al-Darmaki, F. R., ... & Zlati, A. (2019). Cross-cultural validation of the Perceptions of Stigmatization by Others for Seeking Help (PSOSH) Scale. Stigma and Health, 4(1), 82.

Wan, Y., Chen, R., Ma, S., McFeeters, D., Sun, Y., Hao, J., & Tao, F. (2019). Associations of adverse childhood experiences and social support with self-injurious behaviour and suicidality in adolescents. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 214(3), 146-152.

Boyda, D., Mc Feeters, D., Dhingra, K., Galbraith, N., & Hinton, D. (2018). Parental psychopathology, adult attachment and risk of 12-month suicidal behaviours. Psychiatry research, 260, 272-278.

Boyda, D., McFeeters, D., Dhingra, K., & Rhoden, L. (2018). Childhood maltreatment and psychotic experiences: Exploring the specificity of early maladaptive schemas. Journal of clinical psychology, 74(12), 2287-2301.

Devonport, T. J., Nicholls, W., Johnston, L. H., Gutteridge, R., & Watt, A. (2018). It’s not just ‘What’you do, it’s also the ‘Way’that you do it: Patient and Public Involvement in the Development of Health Research. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 30(2), 152-156.

Galbraith, N., Moss, T., Galbraith, V., & Purewal, S. (2018). A systematic review of the traits and cognitions associated with use of and belief in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Psychology, health & medicine, 23(7), 854-869.

Kent, S., Devonport, T. J., Lane, A. M., Nicholls, W., & Friesen, A. P. (2018). The effects of coping interventions on ability to perform under pressure. Journal of sports science & medicine, 17(1), 40.

McIntosh-Dalmedo, S., Devonport, T. J., Nicholls, W., & Friesen, A. P. (2018). Examining the Effects of Sport and Exercise Interventions on Body Image Among Adolescent Girls: A Systematic Review. Journal of Sport Behavior, 41(3), 245-269.

O'Neill, S., Ennis, E., McFeeters, D., & Gallagher, L. (2018). Financial sector workers' experiences of managing suicidal clients. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, 39(3), 159.

Volker, F., & Galbraith, N. (2018). Psychological therapy in prisons: Professionals’ perceptions. European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling, 20(3), 278-293.

Duncan, M. J., Eyre, E. L., Bryant, E., Seghers, J., Galbraith, N., & Nevill, A. M. (2017). Autonomous motivation mediates the relation between goals for physical activity and physical activity behavior in adolescents. Journal of health psychology, 22(5), 595-604.

Nicholls, W., Patterson, P., McDonald, F. E., & Hulbert‐Williams, N. J. (2017). Unmet needs in young adults with a parent with a chronic condition: a mixed‐method investigation and measure development study. Scandinavian journal of caring sciences, 31(1), 191-200.

 

Emotional Eating and Eating Behaviour

Emotional eating is eating so as to create or change an emotion in some way.

Tracey Devonport, Professor of Applied Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Wolverhampton, explains how our research aims to help people develop techniques to regulate their emotions without relying on eating habits. See the video by clicking here.

We have investigated the role that emotions play in binge-eating disorder (BED). This research has helped us design effective therapeutic interventions for people with BED. We have worked with clinicians in the NHS to deliver these mindfulness-based approaches. 

Mental health and stress in the health professions

Mental health risks in frontline, high-stress roles have been a key focus of psychological research conducted at University of Wolverhampton for more than 10 years. We have carried out numerous studies on mental health in public sector occupations. This includes work on doctors’ and nurses’ attitudes to getting help for mental health difficulties and the barriers which prevent them from doing so. Many of our studies have shown that doctors and nurses often need support but might often feel reluctant to ask for it.

The research we have done in this area has been used to inform policy on health professionals' workplace wellbeing in organisations including Health Education England, the American Psychiatric Association and also the UK Government. Read some of our publications in this area.

Read our research with doctors/ psychiatrists, nursesstudent nurses

Mental Health in the Police

We already know that policing is a stressful occupation additionally though, during the course of their duties the police themselves are increasingly required to manage mental health difficulties in members of the public. Drawing from our own research and from the wider research literature, we have designed training guides, best practice guidelines and training workshops to help the police to better manage stress, mental health and suicide risk.

read our research with the police,

Mental health and suicide in the general population

We have published a number of studies on the factors (such as victimisation, abuse, trauma and attachment insecurities) which can increase the risk of mental health and suicide across the lifespan. We have used this research as the basis for our work with the charity Buses 4 Homeless. Buses 4 Homeless provides psychoeducation, rehabilitation and accommodation for men transitioning out of homelessness. Homelessness is more common in males and the homeless are at higher risk of mental health difficulties and suicide than the general population. We helped the charity develop their risk management policy and a suicide safety plan to provide an effective tool for assessment of suicide risk.

Inspiring creativity and culture

Dr Purewal's research on irritable bowel disease (IBD) has led to a collaborative project with Wolverhampton Art Gallery, the Royal Wolverhampton Trust and the University of Wolverhampton’s Art School to destigmatise chronic IBD in women from South Asian communities. This cross-disciplinary work was a co-production between patients, practitioners, researchers and artists. The project embraced art to change opinion and cultural norms, to destigmatise the condition in the community and raise awareness of the significant psychological distress felt by women in South Asian communities. Read relevant publications here.