Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Research projects

All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation written up as a mock paper submission to the British Journal of Health Psychology. This has led to a number of projects being published. See below for further information.

Recently Published Research Projects

The following peer-reviewed publications began life as UCL MSc Health Psychology student projects:


Roche, C.; Fisher, A.; Fancourt, D.; Burton, A. Exploring Barriers and Facilitators to Physical Activity during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Qualitative Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 9169.

McKinlay, A.R., Simon, Y.R., May, T., Fancourt, D., Burton, A. How did UK social distancing restrictions affect the lives of women experiencing intimate partner violence during the COVID-19 pandemic? A qualitative exploration of survivor views. BMC Public Health 23, 123 (2023).

Ooi L, Paul E, Burton A, Fancourt D, McKinlay AR (2023) A qualitative study of positive psychological experiences and helpful coping behaviours among young people and older adults in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic. PLoS ONE 18(1): e0279205.


Lally, P., Miller, N., Roberts, A., Beeken, R. J., Greenfield, D. M., Potts, H. W. W., . . . Fisher, A. (2022). An app with brief behavioural support to promote physical activity after a cancer diagnosis (APPROACH): study protocol for a pilot randomised controlled trialPilot Feasibility Stud, 8 (1), 74-?. doi:10.1186/s40814-022-01028-w

Gilchrist, K., & Vindrola-Padros, C. (2022). Advocating for carers: a qualitative study exploring the needs of UK carers of patients with an acoustic neuromaInternational Journal of Care and Caring. doi:10.1332/239788221x16432145729095

Manby, L., Dowrick, A., Karia, A., Maio, L., Buck, C., Singleton, G., . . . Vindrola-Padros, C. (2022). Healthcare workers' perceptions and attitudes towards the UK's COVID-19 vaccination programme: A rapid qualitative appraisalBMJ Open, 12 (2). doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2021-051775

Vera San Juan, N., Clark, S. E., Camilleri, M., Jeans, J. P., Monkhouse, A., Chisnall, G., & Vindrola-Padros, C. (2022). Training and redeployment of healthcare workers to intensive care units (ICUs) during the COVID-19 pandemic: a systematic reviewBMJ OPEN, 12 (1), ARTN e050038. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2021-050038

Clark, S. E., Chisnall, G., & Vindrola-Padros, C. (2022). A systematic review of de-escalation strategies for redeployed staff and repurposed facilities in COVID-19 intensive care units (ICUs) during the pandemiceClinicalMedicine, 44, 101286. doi:10.1016/j.eclinm.2022.101286


Perski, O., Stevens, C., West, R., Shahab, L. (2021). Pilot randomised controlled trial of the Risk Acceptance Ladder (RAL) as a tool for targeting health communications. Plos One, 16: e0259949.

Aronsen, S., Conway, R., Lally, P., Roberts, A., Croker, H., Beeken, R. J., & Fisher, A. (2021). Determinants of sleep quality in 5835 individuals living with and beyond breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer: a cross-sectional surveyJournal of Cancer Survivorship. doi:10.1007/s11764-021-01127-2

Conway, R. E., Rigler, F., Croker, H. A., Lally, P. J., Beeken, R. J., & Fisher, A. (2021). Dietary supplement use by individuals living with and beyond breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer: A cross-sectional surveyCANCER, 128 (6), 1331-1338. doi:10.1002/cncr.34055

Taak, K., Brown, J., & Perski, O. (2021). Exploring views on alcohol consumption and digital support for alcohol reduction in UK‐based Punjabi‐Sikh men: A think aloud and interview study. Drug and alcohol review40(2), 231-238.

Almeida-Meza P, Steptoe A, Cadar D. (2021). Markers of cognitive reserve and dementia incidence in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Br J Psychiatry, 218, 243-251.  doi: 10.1192/bjp.2020.54.

Loeffler A, Steptoe A. (2021). Bidirectional longitudinal associations between loneliness and pain, and the role of inflammation. Pain, 162, 930-937. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000002082.

Fortmann, J., Fisher, A., Hough, R., Gregory, A., & Pugh, G. (2021). Sleep Quality Among Teenagers and Young Adults With CancerCancer Nursing. 44(1):13-19 


Jackson, S.E., Farrow, E., Brown, J., Shahab, L. (2020). Is dual use of nicotine products and cigarettes associated with smoking reduction and cessation behaviours: A prospective study in England. BMJ Open, 10, e036055.

Elpers A-L, Steptoe A. (2020). Associations between dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS) and cognitive function in 5,061 older men and women in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 117, 104702

Kaushal, A., Waller, J., von Wagner, C., Kummer, S., Whitaker, K., Puri, A., . . . Renzi, C. (2020). The role of chronic conditions in influencing symptom attribution and anticipated help-seeking for potential lung cancer symptoms: a vignette-based study. BJGP Open. doi:10.3399/bjgpopen20X101086

Kaushal, A., Stoffel, S. T., Kerrison, R., & von Wagner, C. (2020). Preferences for different diagnostic modalities to follow up abnormal colorectal cancer screening results: a hypothetical vignette study. BMJ Open, 10 (7), e035264. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2019-035264

Pugh, G., Petrella, A., Pabary, A., Cross, A., Hough, R., Soanes, L., Sabiston C, Fisher, A. (2020). Health Professionals' Views on Lifestyle Advice Delivery to Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Patients: A Qualitative StudyCancer Nursing. 45(1):e238-e245  

McMichael, L., Faric, N., Newby, K., Potts, H. W. W., Hon, A., Smith, L., Steptoe A, Fisher, A. (2020). Parents of Adolescents Perspectives of Physical Activity, Gaming and Virtual Reality: Qualitative StudyJMIR Serious Games. 25;8(3):e14920 doi:10.2196/14920 


Sarah E Jackson Emily Hill Lion Shahab Emma Beard Susan Michie Jamie Brown(2019), Prevalence and correlates of long-term e-cigarette and nicotine replacement therapy use: a prospective study in England

Faric, N., Yorke, E., Varnes, L., Newby, K., Potts, H., Smith, L., Steptoe A, Fisher, A. (2019). Adolescents' perceptions and attitudes about physical activity, exergaming and virtual reality: A qualitative intervention development studyJMIR Serious Games. 7(2): e11960 doi:10.2196/11960 

Newby, K., Varnes, L., Yorke, E., Meisel, S. F., & Fisher, A. (2019). Illness Risk Representation beliefs underlying adolescents' cardiovascular disease risk appraisals and the preventative role of physical activityBritish Journal of Health Psychology, e12400. doi:10.1111/bjhp.12400 


Smith S.G., Beard E., McGowan J.A., Fox E., Cook C., Pal R., Waller, J., Shahab, L. (2018). The development of a tool to assess beliefs about mythical causes of cancer: the Cancer Awareness Measure Mythical Causes Scale. BMJ Open 8: e022825.

Fortmann, J., Fisher, A., Hough, R., Gregory, A., & Pugh, G. (2018). Sleep Quality, Fatigue, and Quality of Life Among Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Survivors. Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology, 7 (4), 465-471. doi:10.1089/jayao.2018.0004

Smith L, Sawyer A, Gardner B, Seppala K, Ucci M, Marmot A, Lally P, Fisher A Occupational Physical Activity Habits of UK Office Workers: Cross-Sectional Data from the Active Buildings Study. International journal of environmental research and public health 15(6):09

Hackett RA, Moore, C., Steptoe A, Lassale C. (2018). Health behaviour changes after diabetes diagnosis: Findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Scientific Reports. 8 (1), 16938


Wu J, Tombor I, Shahab L, & West R (2017) Usability testing of a smoking cessation smartphone application ('SmokeFree Baby'): A think-aloud study with pregnant smokers Digital Health Volume 3: 1-9

Agustina E, Dodd R, Waller J, & Vrinten C (2017) Understanding middleaged and older adults'first associationswith the word"cancer": A mixed methods study in England Journal of the Psychological, Social & Behavioural Dimensions of Cancer 1-7

Shahab, L., Mortimer, E., Bauld, L., McGowan, J.A., McNeill, A., Tyndale, R.F. (2017). Characterising the nicotine metabolite ratio and its association with treatment choice: A cross sectional analysis of Stop Smoking Services in England. Scientific Reports 7: 17613.

Landowska K, Waller J, Bedford H, et al (2017) Influences on university students' intention to receive recommended vaccines: a cross-sectional survey BMJ Open 2017;7:e016544. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-016544

Hollamby A, Davelaar EJ, Cadar D (2017). Increased Physical Fitness Is Associated with Higher Executive Functioning in People with Dementia. Frontiers in Public Health, doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2017.00346


Tang MY, Shahab L, Robb KA, Gardner B (2016) Are parents more willing to vaccinate their children than themselves? Journal of Health Psychology 

Jawad M, Choaie E, Brose L, Dogar O, Grant A, Jenkinson E, McEwen A, Millet C, Shahab L (2016) Waterpipe Tobacco Use in the United Kingdom: A Cross-Sectional Study among University Students and Stop Smoking Practitioners  PLoS ONE 11

Puszkiewicz, P, Roberts, A L, Smith, L, Wardle, J, & Fisher, A (2016) Assessment of Cancer Survivors' Experiences of Using a Publicly Available Physical Activity Mobile Application. JMIR Cancer, 2 (1), e7

Rolfe C. & Gardner B. (2016) Experiences of hearing loss and views towards interventions to promote uptake of rehabilitation support among UK adults International Journal of Audiology 55, p. 666-673

Mansfield L, Hall J, Smith L, Rasch M, Reeves E, Dewitt S, Gardner B (2018) "Could you sit down please?" A qualitative analysis of employees' experiences of standing in normally-seated workplace meetings PLoS ONE 11



Gardner B, Corbridge S, McGowan L (2015) Do habits always override intentions? Pitting unhealthy snacking habits against snack-avoidance intentions BMC Psychology; 3:8

Toma A, Hamer M, Shankar A (2015) Associations between neighborhood perceptions and mental well-being among older adults Health & Place; 34: 46-53

Nelson V, Goniewiczb ML, Beard E, Brown J, Sheals K, West R, Shahab L(2015) Comparison of the characteristics of long-term users of electronic cigarettes versus nicotine replacement therapy: A cross-sectional survey of English ex-smokers and current smokers Drug and Alcohol Dependence; 153: 300-305

Bennet KF, Wagner VC, Robb KA (2015) Supplementing factual informaiton with patient narratives in the cancer screening context: A qualitative study of acceptability and preferences. Health Expectations 18(6):2032-41 


Silla K, Beard E, Shahab L (2014) Characterization of Long-Term Users of Nicotine Replacement Therapy: Evidence From a National Survey Nicotine & Tobacco Research; 16: 1050-1055 

Steinmo S, Hagger-Johnson G, Shahab L (2014) Bi-directional association between mental health and physical activity in older adults: Whitehall II prospective cohort study Preventive Medicine; 66: 74-79

Gardner B, Sheals K, Wardle J, McGowan L (2014) Putting habit into practice, and practice into habit: a process evaluation and exploration of the acceptability of a habit-based dietary behaviour change intervention  International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity; 11:135

Richards B, McNeill A, Croghan E, Percival J, Ritchie D, McEwen A (2014) Smoking cessation education and training in UK nursing schools: A national survey Journal of Nursing Education and Practice; 4:188-198 

Farič N, Potts HWW (2014) Motivations for contributing to health-related articles on Wikipedia: An interview study Journal of Medical Internet Research; 16: e260

Silla K, Beard E, Shahab L (2014). Nicotine Replacement Therapy use among smokers and ex-smokers: associated attitudes and beliefs: A qualitative study BMC Public Health; 14: 1311


Norris E, Myers L (2013) Determinants of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) use in UK motorcyclists: Exploratory research applying an extended Theory of Planned Behaviour Accident Analysis & Prevention; 60: 219-30.

Wahlich C, Gardner B, McGowan L (2013) How, when and why do young women use nutrition information on food labels? A qualitative analysis Psychology & Health; 28: 202-216


Nadarzynski T, Waller J, Robb K.A, Marlow L.A.V (2012) Perceived risk of cervical cancer among pre-screening age women (18-24 years): the impact of information about cervical cancer risk factors and the causal role of HPV Sexually Transmitted Infections; 88: 400-6


Ghanouni A, Smith S, Halligan S, Plumb A, Boone D, Magee M, Wardle J,  Von Wagner C (2011) Public Perceptions and preferences for CT colonography or colonoscopy in colorectal cancer screening Patient Education and Counseling; 89: 116-121

Some project titles from 2014/15:

  • Randomized Controlled Trial of a smartphone App for smoking cessation, with focus on craving management - BupaQuit (Won DHP Outstanding Thesis Award)
  • Parents and children's experiences of IV epoprostenol as treatment for pulmonary hypertension
  • The impact of time perspective on sexual health behaviours in college students
  • Testing the risk acceptance ladder (RAL) in a student population: An online evaluation
  • Reducing sedentary behaviour in older adults

    Some project titles from 2013/14:

    • The long-term effects of e-cigarette and nicotine replacement therapy use
    • Examining the links between quality of life, work productivity, physical activity and sitting time in an occupational setting
    • Pre-existing cognitive dysfunction in patients with colo-rectal cancer 
    • Perceptions of obesity: unhealthy or just unattractive
    • Can Being Mindful Help You Change Your Smoking Behaviour?

    Some project titles from 2012/13:

    • Why do people eat what they eat?
    • Age and Time trends in Multiple Health Behaviours
    • Health professionals' attitudes as a predictor of intention to recommend cervical screenings and the HPV vaccine - a questionnaire based study.
    • Is inflammation driven mainly by somatic symptoms of depression in patients with heart disease?
    • The impact of midlife tea and coffee consumption on cognitive decline in early old age in the Whitehall II cohort