Clinical, Health, and Behavioural Psychology
The heart of the Clinical, Health and Behavioural Psychology (CHBP) research grouping is the application of psychological knowledge to understand and enhance psychological well-being in multiple contexts. A range of applied questions drives the research in this group, with many addressing the need for Behaviour Change in health (e.g. diet, eating and alcohol) and occupational settings, but also typical developmental and learning processes across the lifespan (e.g. dementia). Health psychology is also an important focus of this group as well as the use of psychological interventions (e.g. mindfulness-based programmes) in a range of populations. Using a variety of psychological approaches, we seek to make real changes to behaviour of benefit to individuals and to other psychological and Quality of Life outcomes. This work can involve direct intervention with individuals or groups of people facing challenges and/or seeking to change the behaviour of supporters and carers around the person (e.g., through training).
Professor Cox's research interests include motivation and the motivational determinants of alcohol use and other addictive behaviours, investigated through experimental mood induction, information processing paradigms, assessing motivational structure and motivational interventions for treatment and prevention; experimental consumer psychology.
Dr. Dorjee's research investigates cognitive and neural changes resulting from mindfulness training in the context of overall well-being across lifespan. Specifically, she has been examining the impact of mindfulness practice on systems of cognitive control, attention, emotion regulation and conceptual processing both longitudinally and in cross-sectional studies.
She isparticularly interested in possible preventive effects of mindfulness on mental and physical health in children and adolescents and believe that research in cognitive neuroscience of mindfulness can inform development and implementation of education strategies enhancing well-being and resilience in the young population. Her research combines psychophysiological methods, mainly event-related brain potentials (ERPs), with behavioural and self-report measures.Dr. Dorjee's Publications
Dr. Henningham's expertise is in global child development and global child mental health and her research area focuses on early childhood interventions for children who are at risk for learning and behaviour problems. Helen works primarily in low and middle-income country settings although she is also involved in school-based violence prevention programmes and parent training programmes in Wales. She conducts cluster-randomised trials of interventions in schools, community and primary health care settings, which involve working with parents, teachers and health care staff to promote young children’s development.
Professor Horne's research interests include the development of imitation in human infants and young children, behavioural analysis of naming and other linguistic behaviours in young children, the study of imitation in babies and young children, and applied research that aims to promote healthy eating and exercise in children of all ages. Along with Professor Fergus Lowe she developed the Food Dudes Programme.Professor Horne's Publications
Professor Hutchings established and leads the Centre for Evidence Based Early Intervention. For 25 years held a joint post as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist in the NHS (now Honorary) and as a University based researcher. In 2011 she was awarded an OBE for her work with children and families. Her interests are conduct disorders, parenting, child social skills, anger management and problem solving, teacher classroom management, real world interventions and fidelity. Whilst most of her work has been within Wales she has also trained internationally and is also working in South Africa in collaboration with Oxford and Cape Town Universities. She is currently researching a web based parenting programme based on her "little parent handbook" and is implementing, disseminating and researching the KiVa school based bullying prevention programme across Wales.
She serves on the World Health Organisation Violence Prevention Alliance Parenting subgroup andis part of a group of researchers developing a parenting for lifelong health suite of low cost programmes for low and middle income countries. She is also a BPS spokesperson for child behaviour problems and parenting and speaks regularly to the media about her work.Professor Hutchings's Publications
Drawing from sociocognitive and self-regulation theories, Dr. Morrison's research seeks to identify predictors of emotional, functional, behavioural andsocial outcomes amongst those affected by chronic disease or disability, in order to inform healthcare practice, and psychosocial intervention. In addition to personal, clinical and cultural influences our work has highlighted the predictive role of cognitions (e.g. illness and treatment perceptions, self-efficacy), outcome expectancies and goals, patient and carer perceived needs, and behaviours (coping, exercise, adherence). In collaborations with health and social care professionals predictors are then addressed in developing psychosocial interventions for those affected by stroke, hypertension, cancer, arthritis or multiple sclerosis.
Currently the Director of the Bangor Imaging Centre, Dr Mullins liaises with researchers from the College of Health and Behavioural Sciences on study design, data acquisition and processing and resources available to help with their research questions, his aim is to build a world-class centre for neuroimaging research in North Wales.
Actively involved in research using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to measure neurochemistry in central nervous system function, Dr Mullins' research primarily focuses on measuring functional dynamics of the neurotransmitters Glutamate and GABA in response to external and internal stimuli. In addition to developing functional magnetic resonance spectroscopy (fMRS), he has research programs applying neuroimaging and MRS in chronic pain, ageing and dementia, and recently mindfulness. Working with colleagues in the School of Sports and Exercise Sciences Dr Mullins is also interested in the physiological affects of hypoxia on the brain. Most recently work has focused on the simultaneous acquisition of MRS with other measures of neural activity such as EEG and BOLD to better elucidate the neurochemical correlates of neuronal activity.Dr Mullins's Publications
Prof. Parkinson's work focuses on the neural mechanisms of behavioural control including interactions between actions and habits, as well as understanding the influence of Pavlovian conditioning on behavioural and motivational control. Ongoing research is directed at understanding how behaviour is differentially influenced by messages and signals that either 'speak' to explicit or implicit systems. He is currently the Director of the Wales Centre for Behaviour Change which is funded in part by the Wales European Funding Office of the Welsh Government. The Centre is a conduit through which Bangor's expertise in behavioural science is translated and applied in the real world. Find out more... (Work funded by ESRC, WICN, WEFO)
Professor Robert Rogers' research addresses the psychopharmacological mechanisms that make some people vulnerable to psychological disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder and addictions. Currently, he is conducting investigations of the risk factors for gambling problems (including those involving the Internet), and the role of mood disturbance in eating, gambling and alcohol consumption. Other research focuses upon social isolation in psychological disorders and involves investigation of how the activity of neuromodulators (e.g. serotonin and dopamine) mediates dyadic and group-based social behaviours.
Professor Robert Rogers' Publications
Professor Wood's research encompasses family care-givers of dementia sufferers; psychological factors related to strain and interventions to reduce strain; interventions to improve quality of life and function in people with dementia. Co-Director, Dementia Services Development Centre Wales. He has been closely involved with developments in dementia care in Wales through his role with the NHS Wales 1000 Lives plus quality improvement programme on dementia care. His research focuses on psychosocial approaches to working with people with dementia and their families and he also leads a major epidemiological study of cognitive impairment in Wales. He has published widely, from research papers on dementia care and on depression in older people to text-books for clinical psychologists to books for family carers and training packages.
Publications to be updated soon.
Clinical / Teaching / Practitioners
Dr Rebecca Crane directs the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University and has played a leading role in its development since it was founded in 2001. Prior to this she worked in the mental health field as an Occupational Therapist and an integrative counsellor. She teaches and trains internationally in both Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and is a certified MBSR teacher with the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She is a Principal Fellow with the Higher Education Academy.
Her research focuses on how the evidence on mindfulness-based interventions can be translated into practice settings, with a particular focus on the influence and integrity of the teaching process. She has written Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy: The CBT Distinctive Features Series, Routledge, 2009 and co-authored Mindfulness and the Transformation of Despair, Guilford, 2015 and a full list of her publications can be accessed here.
Publications to be updated soon.
Eluned Gold is Head of Continuing Professional Development in the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice. She has developed a flexible Training Pathway for mindfulness teachers leading to a certificate in competence in mindfulness teaching. Her teaching and research interests lie in teaching training and researching mindfulness to support children and families, and those who work in this field. She has authored chapters in “The Mindfulness Breakthrough’ (2012) and has a published research article about mindfulness for primary school teachers.Eluned Gold's Publications
Dr. Erjavec's research interests span developmental psychology, behaviour change, experimental analysis of behaviour, and health psychology. Her developmental research examines determinants of imitation in infancy and toddlerhood and its links to other social learning mechanisms and development of language. She is also interested in determinants of food preferences in childhood. For more detail please see playlab.bangor.ac.uk. Mihela's behaviour change research interests include child health and well-being and development and evaluation of evidence-based early interventions for typically developing children and those with developmental problems. Mihela is also a Bangor University Teaching Fellow.
Dr. Hughes's research interests include behaviour, evidence based education, precision teaching, special educational needs, training. He is involved with the Applied Behaviour Analysis postgraduate courses at Bangor University's School of Psychology and deputy director of the Wales Centre for Behaviour Change.Dr Hughes's Publications
All aspects of applied behaviour analysis especially use to enhance the quality of life in people with intellectual disabilities. Functional analysis, behavioural activation and mindfulness approaches.
Publications to be updated soon.
Dr Swales’ research interests are in the clinical effectiveness of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) for borderline personality disorder and in the mechanisms and strategies that ensure effective implementation of evidence-based psychological treatments in routine clinical practice. She leads the British Isles DBT Training team that trains clinicians across the UK & Ireland in DBT and whose courses form the basis of the Post-Graduate Certificate in DBT. She is also President of the Society for DBT in the UK & Ireland.
Publications to be updated soon.
Autism, social timing, autism genetics, musical interaction therapy, social interaction, symbolic functioning, teasing.
Publications to be updated soon.
Researchers in the CHBP research group work across eight main themes.
Ageing and dementia
The Research in Ageing and Cognitive Health (REACH) group aims to improve the lives of older people and people with dementia through clinical psychology and clinical neuropsychology research focused on promoting well-being, preventing, reducing or delaying the onset of age-related disability, developing rehabilitative interventions, and enhancing quality of care. For more information please click here.
Chronic Illness and Disability
Clinical, behavioural and sociocognitive perspectives are used to research chronic illness and disability in children and adults. Morrison and Hargreaves study the perceptions of, and psychosocial responses to cancer and other chronic diseases, including rehabilitation processes.
Wimpory focuses on social timing, including musical interaction therapy and genetics in autism. Researchers working on this theme also address the stresses and positive experiences of caregivers of individuals with chronic illness and disability.
Early intervention for children and families
Hutchings has led research and practice on behavioural training for several decades, helping both parents and teachers manage children with behaviour disorders at home and in schools. She also carries out research on directly teaching children social, emotional, and problem solving skills.
Hughes carries out research on behavioural education methods in mainstream school populations and with children with special educational needs (especially those with autism and/or intellectual disability). Henningham researches interventions to improve child development and mental health in low and middle income countries.
Children's healthy eating and exercise
Horne (and the late Prof Lowe) works on the acclaimed Food Dudes research programme using behaviour change methods to improve children's health eating. They have also extended this model to intervene to increase children's physical exercise.
Addictive behaviours and motivation
One focus of research is on cognitive-motivational determinants of addictive behaviours and change and their neural substrates. Interventions are used to help substance users to defocus their attention on addictive substances while increasing the value and salience of healthy, alternative incentives. Another focus in on dimensional models of psychopathology (e.g., borderline personality disorder, psychopathy and other personality disorders); self-regulation (including emotional dysregulation); and how these disorders are related to multiple addictive and impulse control behaviours, including those related to alcohol and other drug use, eating, exercise, self-injury, etc.
The first Centre for mindfulness was established in the UK in Bangor University in 2000 [see www.bangor.ac.uk/mindfulness/], and through the director Crane and Dorjee the centre continues to develop practice and research on mindfulness-based interventions focused on general well-being but also for various clinical and health problems. The School has strength also in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) training and research led by [Swales] and is home to the British Isles DBT training team. DBT is a combination of behavioural psychology and mindfulness.
John Parkinson's work has shown that changes in motivational state (in this case hunger) can influence upstream cognitive functioning. Much like it is dangerous to go shopping with an empty stomach (think trolley full of chips, biscuits and bread), John has shown that shifts on motivation change several cognitive processes including set-shifting, inhibitory control and decision-making. His work has also elucidated the neural networks that underlie some of these interactions.
Lawrence NS, Hinton EC, Parkinson JA, and Lawrence AD (2012) Nucleus accumbens response to food cues predicts subsequent snack consumption in women and increased body mass index in those with reduced self-control. NeuroImage 63 415–422
Shore, D, Rafal B, and Parkinson JA (2011) Appetitive motivational deficits in individuals with Parkinson's disease. Movement Disorders. DOI: 10.1002/mds.23736
Piech, R M, Hampshire, A, Owen AM, and Parkinson J A (2009). Modulation of cognitive flexibility by hunger and desire. Cognition and Emotion, 23(3) 528-540.
Psychopharmacological research, combined with cognitive and social psychology methods, can tell us more about the way that disturbances in brain chemistry promote the onset and maintenance of psychological illnesses. Rogers' research focuses upon the role of emotion and mood disturbance in gambling (and Internet gambling) and alcohol consumption. This research can also help us to understand how drug-based treatments might work or how their efficacy might be improved in different psychological disorders. Read more.
Resistance to devaluation in conditioned reinforcers
John's Parkinson's research demonstrated, for the first time, that conditioned reinforcers (think of money or other abstract tokens of value) become disconnected from the primary reinforcers that created them. He achieved this by devaluing the primary reinforcer and showing that the associated conditioned reinforcer maintained its value. This findings helps us understand why we find it so hard to escape from addiction, even when we no longer enjoy the addictive substance (as often seen in smoking).
Parkinson, J.A.; Roberts, A.C.; Everitt, B.J.; & Di Ciano, P. (2005). Acquisition of instrumental conditioned reinforcement is resistant to the devaluation of the unconditioned stimulus.Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section B: Comparative and Physiological Psychology. 58, ((1)) 19-30.
Low cost intervention benefits children in developing countries
Universal school-based interventions in developed countries have been shown to benefit child antisocial and prosocial behaviour and achievement over the short term and there is some evidence that benefits are sustained over time. However, there is limited evidence of their effectiveness in developing countries where schools often have poor physical conditions, high child-staff ratios few classroom resources and low levels of teacher training.
Recent research led by Helen Henningham has shown that a relatively low cost intervention involving 8 days training for paraprofessional preschool teachers in inner-city Jamaican schools led to significant and meaningful benefits to young children’s prosocial and antisocial behaviour at home and at school and to child attendance.
Large benefits were also found to teacher’s practices including increased use of positive strategies and less use negative strategies including physical punishment. This study is enormously important for informing interventions for child mental health in developing countries as the intervention is low cost, is integrated into the existing school system and hence is feasible and sustainable. We are currently following up the children as they enter grade one of primary school to determine whether the benefits to child behaviour are sustained and whether child academic achievement and child language also benefit.
">Baker-Henningham H, Scott S, Jones K, Walker S. (2012) Reducing child conduct problems and promoting social skills in a developing country: a cluster-randomised controlled trial. British Journal of Psychiatry 201: 101-108.
Neural circuits for emotion and motor control explain internet gambling
Robert Roger's research has shown how dopamine and serotonin may play different roles in the tendency of gamblers to keep gambling in order to recover previous losses and how such so-called 'loss-chasing' behaviour is supported by neural circuits linked to emotional and motor control. Other survey-based work has shown how the different ways that people use Internet gambling services are associated with distinct patterns of mental health experiences and risk factors for problematic Internet gambling and Internet use generally. This work can help develop more effective clinical assessments and self-help tools.'
Early childhood education benefits child mental health in lower and middle income countries.
More than 200 million children under age 5 in low and middle income countries are not fulfilling their developmental potential due to poverty, poor nutrition and lack of stimulation. Although there is strong evidence that early childhood education (ECE) programmes can benefit child development, little attention has been given to the potential for ECE to benefit child mental health in lower and middle income countries even though mental health problems affect 10-20% of children and adolescents worldwide and almost 90% of the world’s population of children and adolescents live in these countries.
In a new just-published review, Helen Baker-Henningham has evaluated the relevant evidence and demonstrated that ECE interventions are an important component of programmes and policies to prevent child and adolescent mental health problems and promote well-being in lower and middle income countries, especially when programmes focus not only on improving child development but also pay attention to improving caregivers child rearing skills and caregiver mental health.
Serotonin activity influences how people manage valuable but finite resources in the ‘Tragedy of Commons’
Humans, like other socialized species, must work together to manage the exploitation of valuable but finite resources. Supplies such as fresh water, fish, or fossil fuels form the basis for survival, and a sustainable balance between exploitation and conservation must be found. Game-theory typically assumes that such dilemmas pit self-interest of individuals against the interests of their community, highlighting 'tragedy of the commons' outcomes in which resources are eventually exhausted to the disadvantage of both. Field studies, however, demonstrate that community members typically find ways to manage resource-harvesting behaviours through coordination, regulation, or sanctions.
In a new experimental study, Bilderbeck, Rogers and colleagues report that dietary restriction of the serotonin precursor, tryptophan, disrupts the ability of healthy adults to work in social groups to solve resource dilemmas by impairing responses to social norms. These results highlight the role of serotonin in community-based solutions of common-pool problems.