Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care

Prof Andrew Steptoe

Prof Andrew Steptoe

British Heart Foundation Professor of Psychology

Behavioural Science and Health

Institute of Epidemiology & Health

Joined UCL
1st Oct 2000

Research summary

1. Ageing and health - I am director of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), a large population-based study of a representative sample of men and women aged 50 and over living in England http://www.ifs.org.uk/elsa/. The study forms the basis of a range of research involving economics, psychosocial factors, health, cognition, biology and genetics. 2. The studies that I and my colleagues and students have carried out using ELSA and other population cohorts include work on dementia, frailty, subjective wellbeing and health, and social factors such as social isolation and loneliness in relation to health, cognition and wellbeing. We have also completed studies of discrimination on the basis of age and body weight, subjective perceptions of age, health literacy and other issues. 3. Psychobiology of health and disease - The purpose of this programme is to understand the biological processes through which social status and other psychosocial factors influence disease risk. It involves laboratory studies of the influence of psychosocial factors on cardiovascular, neuroendocrine and immune function, naturalistic studies of blood pressure, cortisol and other measures during everyday life, and clinical studies of patients with coronary heart disease. We have been particularly interested in the impact of mental stress on inflammatory, metabolic, and haemostatic processes; the links between physiological responses and psychosocial risk factors such as low socioeconomic position, depression, work stress, optimism and loneliness; the prospective associations between acute physiological responses to emotional stress and the development of cardiometabolic disease; the complex interplay between psychological processes, neuroendocrine activation, inflammation, depression, and recovery following acute cardiac events such as myocardial infarction; the impact of stress-related biology on biological ageing; and the use of novel biomarkers in social epidemiology. 4. Health behaviour research - Behaviours such as dietary choice, smoking and physical exercise are important determinants of health and disease risk. We carry out studies of the determinants of health behaviours, and work on the use of behavioural counselling to modify risk behaviours. 

Teaching summary

I am course director of the UCL Health Psychology MSc.  I also supervise a number of PhD students in health psychology, psychobiology, and epidemiology


University of London
, | 1995
University of Oxford
, | 1976
University of Cambridge
, | 1976
University of Cambridge
, | 1972


Andrew Steptoe is Professor of Psychology and Head of the Research Department of Behavioural Science and Health, part of the Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care in the Faculty of Population Health Sciences. He graduated from Cambridge in 1972, and completed his doctorate at Oxford University in 1975. He moved to St. George’s Hospital Medical School in 1977, becoming professor and chair of the Department in 1988, where he remained until his appointment in 2000 to UCL as British Heart Foundation Professor of Psychology, a position he held until 2016. He became Deputy Head of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at UCL in 2005 and subsequently Head of Department before being serving as Director of the Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care between 2011 and 2017. He is a Past-President of the International Society of Behavioral Medicine and is a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, the British Psychological Society, Academia Europaea, and the Academy of Social Sciences. He was founding editor of the British Journal of Health Psychology, an associate editor of Psychophysiology, the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, the British Journal of Clinical Psychology, the International Journal of Rehabilitation and Health and the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, and is on the editorial boards of seven other journals. Andrew directs the Psychobiology Group (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/iehc/research/behavioural-science-health/research/psychobiology) and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing research group at UCL (http://www.ifs.org.uk/ELSA). He has published more than 550 peer-reviewed articles and is author or editor of 18 books, most recently the Handbook of Behavioral Medicine (2010) and Stress and Cardiovascular Disease (2012).