Health, Welfare & Clinical Psychology
Health & Clinical Psychology
This area builds upon existing expertise within the School from individual academics and the research undertaken by trainees on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology programme.
There are two main research areas in this research theme - Trauma and Clinical Health Psychology. Trauma research focuses on understanding precursors to PTSD, psychometric assessment as well as evidenced-based treatments. Clinical Health Psychology focuses on the development and evaluation of interventions to reduce the psychological sequelae of physical health conditions (cancer, chronic pain, asthma, IBD) as well as disease prevention through encouraging lifestyle change (e.g. diet/oral hygiene).
The School has a long history of research in psychological well-being / quality of life among people with physical health conditions, and their formal and informal carers. This research includes modelling work exploring the factors that are related to quality of life, and the development and evaluation of interventions designed to enhance quality of life. There is also a related methodological strand that explores our approaches to assessing quality of life and the meaning of this concept in different populations.
Animal Welfare and Behaviour
The Animal Behaviour and Welfare group, led by Dr Deborah Wells, has been actively involved in studies aimed at improving the psychological well-being of animals for nearly 3 decades. The efficacy of a host of innovative enrichments for captive animals has been empirically examined, ranging from toys, social contact and feeding devices to more adventurous forms of sensory stimulation. This work has culminated in widely downloaded peer-reviewed papers and has had impact beyond academia, resulting in the widespread use of enrichment tools in kennels, zoos and laboratory settings, the production of ‘designer’ music CDs for companion animals (e.g. Through a Dog’s Ear, by Joshua Leeds, see: https://icalmpet.com/about/music/research), and the development of guidelines for the housing of captive dogs in countries including America and Australia.
Much of the group’s research on environmental enrichment takes place off-site and involves fruitful collaborations with organisations including rescue shelters and zoos. Pet-owner related research and studies focused on canine olfaction are frequently carried out in the Animal Behaviour Centre (ABC), a purpose-designed research facility housed within the School of Psychology. As well as reception and preparation areas, the ABC comprises two large study rooms, both equipped with inbuilt video-cameras and audio recording facilities. The Centre has access to large tarmacked and grass areas for external testing.
The Animal Behaviour and Welfare team have secured research grants from a wide variety of sources over the years, including UK research councils (BBSRC), animal welfare charities (e.g. RSPCA, Dogs Trust), academic organisations (e.g. Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour, Universities Federation for Animal Welfare), governmental bodies (e.g. Belfast City Council) and industries (e.g. Nestec Ltd, Microsoft).
My research interests are in the area of the development and evaluation of psychological (e.g. cognitive behaviour therapy)/behaviour change interventions to reduce the psychological sequelae of physical health conditions (cancer, chronic pain, asthma, IBD) as well as disease prevention through encouraging lifestyle change (e.g. diet/oral hygiene). I am Programme Director for the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.Find out more
I am a newly appointed Lecturer in Health Psychology with a strong interest in research which strives to support the physical and mental well-being of others. To date, I have undertaken research in areas such as Diabetes, Neurodegenerative disorders and Stroke. My PhD focused on the development and evaluation of a psychological intervention to reduce distress in individuals with Type 2 diabetes and their partners. To date, I have worked on projects surrounding the design of interventions to support individuals with complex functional and emotional needs due to illness. In my forthcoming career, I hope to develop new and more creative ways of helping individuals to adjust to and thrive in the face of challenging health issues.Find out more
To date, Grace’s research has focused on farm animals and how we can improve their welfare. Grace has previously examined the effect of housing type on the welfare of sows and piglets. In addition, Grace has assessed the feasibility of collecting welfare-related information in an abattoir environment. Grace also has an interest in feline welfare, evolutionary psychology, and the effect of ‘infant features’ in companion animals on human behaviour.Find out more
My interests include: The Mediating Role of Trauma Appraisals between Traumatic Experiences and Trauma-Related Distress; Examining the role of compassion in predicting both resilience and psychological difficulty among a sample with a history of childhood adversity; Investigating strengths and weaknesses of trauma history measures; Impact of experimental manipulation of attentional bias to alcohol-related stimuli on initial orienting and maintained attention in adolescent drinkers using eye-tracking methodology.Find out more
Martin Dempster conducts psychological research to develop ways of improving the quality of life of people with long term physical illness (such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease); their families; and related health professionals. This involves developing new interventions and evaluating their effect in real life situations. Martin is also a chartered Statistician and so has an interest in methods of analysing data collected in this type of research.Find out more
I am a clinical psychologist and my research and clinical work involves using psychological therapies to help people find ways to live well with chronic diseases or illnesses, like cancer, neurological conditions. Lots of this work includes large trials of psychotherapies for improving mood and wellbeing in NHS patients, and even staff. Ultimately, all the work I do is about improving the effectiveness and quality of care that clinical psychologists offer to NHS service users.Find out more
I am a Lecturer in Health Psychology, and my research focuses on helping individuals with chronic illness to maintain a good quality of life. In particular I am interested in how we can best help individuals and their families to adjust psychologically to a cancer diagnosis, and how we can support individuals who have been diagnosed with an advanced illness. This research involves evaluating tools to assess patient need, and developing and evaluating psychosocial interventions.Find out more
I have three broad research interests. My main research interest is how the arts support and improve people's mental and physical health. I also carry out research exploring the psychological experience of people living with and beyond cancer, and I examine how digital technologies can improve health behaviour.Find out more
I am the Research Coordinator on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Queens University Belfast working in the applied and theoretical research field of mental health. My primary research interest is mental health including the measurement and modelling of psychological trauma, psychosis and related constructs. I am a Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol), Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (AFBPsS) and Fellow of the Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation at Queen's University. I have expertise in research design, methodology and analysis of mental health with over 50 peer-reviewed publications and presentations. I have published a bestselling statistics text book and a more recent research methods text book.Find out more
I am interested in better understanding the lived experience of people with persistent physical symptoms, including persistent pain and chronic cough, and in developing and evaluating behavioural and cognitive approaches designed to enable people living with chronic health problems to better cope and have an improved quality of life. I am also interested in developing / evaluating interventions for pediatric medical traumatic stress.Find out more
My general research interests are animal cognition, animal psychophysics, and applied animal behaviour. My research focuses on domestic dog olfaction and how best to train and evaluate sniffer dogs for a variety of applications. In particular, I am interested in the use of sniffer dogs for the detection of physiological changes in humans and how sniffer dogs can improve their owner’s quality of life. I am also interested in how the study of animal cognition can inform the care of, and improve the welfare of captive animals.Find out more
Kevin Vowles has been working in the field of chronic pain for the majority of his career. He has published over 80 articles in this area since 2001, with recent work concentrating on identifying distinctive characteristics of effective pain rehabilitation and differentiating problematic from non-problematic opioid use.Find Out More
Cherie Armour is a Professor of Psychological Trauma and Mental Health in the School of Psychology at Queens University Belfast and is the Director of the Stress Trauma and Related Conditions (STARC) Research Lab. Cherie is particularly interested in occupational groups that are at increased risk of experiencing trauma and traumatic stress outcomes due to their occupational roles (military, police, emergency service workers). She has also published on the nosology, comorbidity, and longitudinal course of disorders such as PTSD, dissociation, anxiety, and depression.Find out more
My research concentrates on animal behaviour and welfare, with a particular focus on the domestic dog. Much of my work has been concerned with exploring the welfare of animals housed in captivity (e.g. zoos, rescue kennels) and finding ways of improving psychological well-being through the implementation of novel and scientifically tested enrichment strategies. Other research areas include pets and human health, behaviour problems in companion animals and, more recently, laterality in animals.Find out more
- Professor Ad de Jongh, ACTA, The Netherlands
- Professor Blair Smith, Dundee University, Scotland
- Professor Lesley Colvin, Dundee University, Scotland
- Professor Martin Dorahy, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand