Research Centre for Behaviour Change

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The work of the Behaviour Change Group aims to develop knowledge of the psychological factors underlying health, health behaviours and wellbeing, and develop strategies and interventions for improvement.

Research is both basic and applied, to further understanding of underlying biological mechanisms and psychological theories, and to result in translation and application of this understanding into interventions and improvements in health for the whole of society. Research focuses on both clinical and general populations, covers a range of behaviours and psychological conditions, and uses a variety of methodologies.

We currently have strengths particularly, in eating behaviours, eating disorders, physical activity, sleep, stress, psycho-oncology, asthma, antisocial and deviant behaviours and clinical psychology and psychotherapies. We have a leaning towards interventions that are behavioural and/or involve emerging technologies, e.g. gaming technology, websites, mobile phone apps. This increasing use of emerging technologies has also resulted in more research with a focus on online behaviours, and aspects of cyber security, online safety and wellbeing.


Current / Recent Funded Projects

Cybersecurity online training evaluation. KTP / Technology Strategy Board. Oct. 2018 – March 2020 (for further details, contact Jacqui Taylor, or John McAlaney,

Sharing Activities from Pre-tertiary and Higher Education to Promote Psychological Literacy in Psychology Students. British Psychological Society, April 2018. (for further details, contact Jacqui Taylor

Reducing Worry in Asthma Patients (REWRAP): Can non-pharmacological interventions improve asthma outcomes by reducing worrying thoughts? Asthma Allergy & Inflammation Research Trust. 2017 – 2018 (for further details, contact Helen Bolderston

Understanding the Experiences of Women with Non-Exclusive Sexualities. American Institute of Bisexuality, Oct 2017 – Oct 2018 (for further details, contact Liam Wignall

FoodSMART. EU: Marie Curie: IAPP. Jan. 2015 – Dec. 2019 (for further details, contact Katherine Appleton

VeggiEAT. EU: Marie Curie: IAPP. Oct. 2013 – Sept. 2017 (for further details, contact Katherine Appleton


Funded PhD Studentships

Ameliorating the impact of complications and errors on surgeons: Development of an evidence-based support toolkit. Royal Christchurch and Bournemouth Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust/BU. April 2016 – March 2019 (for further details, contact Helen Bolderston

An evaluation of the impact of a care farm model on the wellbeing of young males with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties, Future Roots / BU. Jan 2014 – Jan 2017 (for further details, contact Andy Mayers

Assessing the impact of a novel web-based behavioural intervention for increasing engagement with services to treat eating disorders. BU. Sept 2015 – Sept 2018 (for further details, contact Sarah Muir

Designing systems for risk-based decision making and assurance. DSTL / BU. Jan 2016 – Dec 2018 (for further details, contact John McAlaney

Increasing egg intakes. The British Egg Industry Council / BU. Sept 2014 – Sept 2017 (for further details, contact Katherine Appleton

The impact of complications and errors on surgeons. Nuffield Health/BU. Oct 2015 – Sept 2018 (for further details, contact Helen Bolderston

Promoting the scientific and public understanding of stress through use of visual metaphor. BU. Sept 2017 – Aug 2020 (for further details, contact Julie Turner-Cobb

Recent publications

Li, X., Huang, C.Y. & Shen, A.C.T. (2019) Romantic Involvement and Adolescents’ Academic and Psychosocial Functioning in Chinese Societies. Children and Youth Service Review, (96), 108-117. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.11.036

Cheetham-Blake, T.J., Turner-Cobb, J.M., Family, H.E., & Turner, J.E. (2019). Resilience characteristics and prior life stress determine anticipatory response to acute social stress in children aged 7-11 years British Journal of Health Psychology, published online 13 Jan 2019 DOI: 10.1111/bjhp.12353

Appleton, K.M., Hemingway, A., Rajska, J., & Hartwell, H. (2018). Repeated exposure and conditioning strategies for increasing vegetable liking and intake: Systematic review and meta-analyses of the published literature. Am J Clin Nutr, 2018;108:842-856.

Appleton, K.M., Tuorila, H., Bertenshaw, E.J., de Graaf, C., & Mela, D.J. (2018). Sweet taste exposure and the subsequent acceptance and preference for sweet taste in the diet: systematic review of the published literature. American Journal of Clinical Nutrution, 107,  405-419.

Attard-Johnson, J., O Ciardha, C., & Bindemann, M. (2018). Comparing methods for the analysis of pupillary response. Behavior Research Methods.

Appleton, K.M., Krumplevska, K., Smith, E., Rooney, C., McKinley, M.C., & Woodside, J.V. (2018) Low fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with low knowledge of the details of the 5-a-day fruit and vegetable message in the UK: findings from two cross-sectional questionnaire studies. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 31, 121-130.

Bolderston, H., Gillanders, D.T., Turner, G., Taylor, H.C., Ní Mhaoileoin, D., & Coleman, A. (2018). The initial validation of a state version of the Cognitive Fusion Questionnaire. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science. Advance online publication. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcbs.2018.04.002.

Bolderston, H., Gillanders, D. T., Turner, G., Taylor, H. C., Ní Mhaoileoin, D., & Coleman, A. (2018). The initial validation of a state version of the Cognitive Fusion Questionnaire. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science. In press.

Curry, O.S., Rowland, L.A., Van Lissa, C.J., Zlotowitz, S., McAlaney, J. and Whitehouse, H., (2018). Happy to help? A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of performing acts of kindness on the well-being of the actor. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 76, 320-329.

Dempsey, R.C., McAlaney, J., & Bewick, B.M. (2018). A critical appraisal of the social norms approach as an interventional strategy fpr health-related behavior and attitude change. Frontiers in Psychology, 9(Nov).

Denison-Day, J., Appleton, K.M., Newell, C., & Muir, S. (2018). Improving motivation to change amongst individuals with eating disorders: A systematic review. Int J Eat Disord, 2018;51:1033-50.

Drosatos, G., Arden-Close, E., Bolat, E., Kostoulas, T., Budka, M., McAlaney, J., Phalp, K. et al., 2018. Enabling Responsible Online Gambling by Real-time Persuasive Technologies. Complex Systems Informatics and Modeling Quarterly.

Ebert, D. D.,  Van Daele, T., T Nordgreen, M Karekla, A Compare, C Zarbo, A Brugnera, S Øverland, G Trebbi, K L. Jensen, Kaehlke, F., Taylor, J. & Baumeister, H. (2018). Internet- and Mobile-Based Psychological Interventions: Applications, Efficacy, and Potential for Improving Mental Health. European Psychologist, 23(2), 167-187.

Erwin, C.M., McEvoy, C.T., Moore, S.E., Prior, L., Lawton, J., Kee, F., Cupples, M.E., Young, I.S., Appleton, K.M., McKinley, M.C., & Woodside, J.V. (2018). A qualitative analysis exploring preferred methods of peer support to encourage adherence to a Mediterranean diet in a Northern European population at high risk of cardiovascular disease. BMC Public Health, 18, 213.

Everitt, H., Baldwin, D.S., Staurt, B., Lipinska, G., Mayers, A., Malizia, A.L. & Wilson, S. (2018). Antidepressants for insomnia. Cochrane Library, Vol. 2018, Issue 5

Gregory, N.J., Bolderston, H., & Antolin, J.V. (2018). Attention to faces and gaze-following in social anxiety: preliminary evidence from a naturalistic eye-tracking investigation. Cognition and Emotion, 0(0), 1-12.

Hawken, T., Tuner-Cobb, J., & Barnett, J. (2018). Coping and adjustment in caregivers: a systematic review. Health Psychology Open. Published Nov. 9, 2018.

Hodge, S., McAlaney, J., Gatzidis, C., Anderson, E.F., Melacca, D., Taylor, J. (2018). Applying Psychological Theory to in-game moral behaviors through the development of a purpose-made game. In: Bowman, N.D., ed. Video Games: A Medium That Demands Our Attention. Routledge.

Hsieh, Y. P., Wei, H. S., Hwa, H. L, Shen, A. C. T., Feng, J. Y. & Huang, C.Y. (2018). The Effects of Peer Victimization on Children’s Internet Addiction and Psychological Distress: The Moderating Roles of Emotional and Social Intelligence. Journal of Child and Family Studies. Doi: 10.1007/s10826-018-1120-6

Huang, C.Y.(2018). Assessment of offender recidivism, treatment and rehabilitation- theories and practical applications in the UK. Taiwan Prosecutor Review, 23, 90-101.

Lehne, G., McAlaney, J., et al., (2018). Personal and perceived peer use and attitudes towards use of non-prescribed prescription sedatives and sleeping pills among university students in seven European countries. Addictive Behaviors, 87, 17-23.

McEvoy, C.T., Moore, S.E., Appleton, K.M., Cupples, M.E., Erwin, C.E., Kee, F., Prior, L., Young, I.S., McKinley, M.C., Woodside, J.V. (2018). Development of a peer support intervention to encourage dietary behaviour change towards a Mediterranean diet in adults at high cardiovascular risk, BMC Public Health, 18, 1194

Moore, S.E., McEvoy, C.T., Prior, L., Lawton, J., Patterson, C.C., Kee, F., Cupples, M., Young, I.S., Appleton, K.M., McKinley, M.C., & Woodside, J.V. (2018). Barriers to adopting a Mediterranean diet in Northern European adults at high risk of developing Cardiovascular disease. J Hum Nutr Diet, 31:451-462.

O Ciardha, C., Attard-Johnson, J., & Bindemann, M. (2018). Latency-based and psychphysiological measures of sexual interest show convergent and concurrent validity. Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 47(3), 637-649.

Shahri, A., Hosseini, M., Phalp, K., Taylor, J. and Ali, R., 2018. How to engineer gamification. Journal of Organizational and End User Computing, 31(1), article 3

Skinner, T., Taylor, J., Dale, J. & McAlaney, J., (2018). The Development of Intervention E-Learning Materials and Implementation Techniques for Cyber-Security Behaviour Change. In: Masthoff, J., Collinson, M. and Vargheese, J.P., eds. Convention of the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour (AISB): Symposium on Digital Behaviour Intervention Liverpool: AISB, 29-34.

Taylor, J., Salvagno, M., Morris, R., Hutchings, M. and Bobeva, M., (2018). Evaluating and measuring how new technologies and ubiquitous connectivity affect university students’ psychosocial well-being. Psychology Teaching Review, 24(1), 21-33.

Thomas, K.E., & König, C.J. (2018). Knowledge of previous tasks: task similarity influences bias in task duration predictions. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 760.

Tulloh, R.M.R., Garratt, V., Tagney, J., Turner-Cobb, J.M., Marques, E., Greenwood, R., Howard, L., Gin-Sing, W., Barton, A., Ewings, P., Craggs, P., & Hollingworth, W. (2018). A pilot randomised-controlled trials investigating the effect of a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) intervention in individuals with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) – The PATHWAYS study. Pilot and Feasibility Studies. 

van den Heuvel, E., Murphy, J. L., & Appleton, K. M. (2018). Could Eggs Help Increase Dietary Protein Intake in Older Adults?–Exploring Reasons for the Consumption and Non-Consumption of Eggs in People over 55 years old. Journal of nutrition in gerontology and geriatrics, 1-18.

van den Heuvel, E., Murphy, J., & Appleton, K. (2018). Towards a Food-Based Intervention to Increase Protein Intakes in Older Adults: Challenges to and Facilitators of Egg Consumption. Nutrients10(10), 1409.

Wilkinson, P., Taylor, J. & Readman, M. 2018.  Mediating Family Play: Exploring the Expectations of Digital Media through a Mobile Application Designed to Facilitate Real-world Child-Parent Play. International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction, 18, 90-99.  DOI: 10.1016/j.ijcci.2018.10.003

Zhou, X., Perez-Cueto, F.J.A., Dos Santos, Q., Monteleone, E., Giboreau, A., Appleton, K.M., Bjørner, T., Bredie, W.L.P., & Hartwell, H. (2018). A systematic review of behavioural interventions promoting healthy eating among older people. Nutrients, 10, 128.

Ainsworth, B., Bolderston, H., & Garner, M. (2017). Testing the differential effects of acceptance and attention-based psychological interventions on intrusive thoughts and worry. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 91(4), 72-77.

Appleton, K.M., Dinnella, C., Spinelli, S., Morizet, D., Saulais, L., Hemingway, A., Monteleone, E., Depezay, L., Perez-Cueto, F.J.A., & Hartwell, H. (2017). Consumption of a high quantity and a wide variety of vegetables are predicted by different food choice motives in older adults from France, Italy and the UK. Nutrients, 9, 923.

Arden-Close, E., Thomas, D.M., Yardley, L., Kirby, S., & Bruton, A. (2017). Patients’ experiences of breathing retraining for asthma: a qualitatiev process analysis of participants in the intervention arms of the BREATHE trial.  Primary Care Respiratory Medicine, in press.

Bruton, A., Lee, A., Yardley, L., Raftery J., Arden-Close, E., Kirby, S., et al. (2017). Psychiotherapy breathing retraining for asthma: a randomised control trial. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, s2213-2600 (17) 30474-5.

Daniels, J., & Turner-Cobb, J.M. (2017). Adjuvant psychological therapy in long term endocrine conditions. Clinical Endocrinology. In press

Dutke, S., Bakker, H.E., Papageorgi, J., & Taylor, J. (2017). Editorial Evidence-based teaching – Examples from learning and teaching psychology. Psychology Learning & Teaching, 16(2).

Dutke, S., Bakker, H.E., Papageorgi, J., & Taylor, J. (2017). Introduction to the Special Issue on Evidence-based Teaching (EBT): Examples from learning and teaching psychology. Psychology Learning and Teaching, 16, 175-178.

Friis, R., Skov, L.R., Olsen, A., Appleton K.M., Saulais L., Dinnella, C., Hartwell H., Depezay L., Monteleone, E., Giboreau A., Perez-Cueto, F.J.A. (2017). Comparison of three nudge interventions (priming, default option, and perceived variety) to promote vegetable consumption in a self-service buffet setting. PLos One, 12:e0176028.

Daniels, J. & Turner-Cobb, J.M. (2017). Adjuvant psychological therapy in long term endocrine conditions. Clinical Endocrinology. Pre-print 00:1–6. Clinical Question series: invited paper.

Huang, C.Y. (2017) Resilience in Taiwan: The Shaping Forces of Its Diverse Cultural Context and Beliefs about Adversity. In Rich, G., & Sirikantraporn, J (Eds.), Human Strengths and Resilience: Cross-Cultural and International Perspectives, Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Huang, C.Y., Shen, A.C.T., Hsieh, Y.P., Feng, J.Y., Wei, H.S., Hwa, H.L., & Feng, J.Y. (2017). Cultural perspectives on parenting, emotional intelligence and mental health in Taiwanese children. International Journal of Emotional Education. 9(2), 4-16.

Huang, C.Y., Cheah, C. L., Lamb, M.E., Zhou, N. (2017) Associations between Parenting Styles and Perceived Child Effortful Control within Chinese Families in the U.S., the U.K., and Taiwan. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 48(6), 795–812.

Kirby, S., Miles, C., Arden-Close, E., Thomas, D.M., Bruton, A., & Hankins, M. (2017). Barriers and facilitators of effective self-management in asthma: systematic review and thematic synthesis of patient and healthcare professional views. Primary Care Respiratory Medicine, in press.

McAlaney, J. and Jenkins, W., (2017). Perceived social norms of health behaviours and college engagement in British students. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 41 (2), 172-186.

McCormack, M. & Wignall, L. (2017) Enjoyment, Exploration and Education: Understanding the Consumption of Pornography among Young Men with Non-Exclusive Sexual Orientations. Sociology. 51(5) 975-991.

Muir S, Newell C, Griffiths J, Walker K, Hooper H, Thomas S, Thomas PW, Arcelus J, Day J, Appleton KM. MotivATE: A Pretreatment Web-Based Program to Improve Attendance at UK Outpatient Services Among Adults With Eating Disorders. JMIR Res Protoc (2017) ;6:e146

Quigley, J., Rasmussen, S. and McAlaney, J., (2017). The Associations Between Children’s and Adolescents’ Suicidal and Self-Harming Behaviors, and Related Behaviors Within Their Social Networks: A Systematic Review. Archives of Suicide Research, 21 (2), 185-236.

Quigley, J., Rasmussen, S. and McAlaney, J., (2017). The social norms of suicidal and self-harming behaviours in Scottish adolescents. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14 (3).

Richardson, T., Bell, L., Bolderston, H., & Clarke, S. (2017). Development and evaluation of acceptance and commitment therapy delivered by psychologists and non-psychologuists in an NHS community adult mental health service: a preliminary analysis. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 11, 1-7.

Rooney, C., McKinley, M.C., Appleton, K.M., Young, I.S., McGrath, A.J., Draffin, C.R., Hamill, L.L., Woodside, J.V. (2017). How much is ‘5-a-day’?: A qualitative investigation into consumer understanding of fruit and vegetable intake guidelines. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 30, 105-113.

Taylor, J., McAlaney J., Muir, S., & Cole, T. (2017). Teaching sensitive issues in cyberpsychology. Psychology Teaching Review, 23(1).

Taylor J., Ollis, G., McAlaney, J., Hodge, S., & Thackray, H. (2017). Observations and reflections on teaching psychological principles and methods to cybersecurity students. In: National Conference for Learning and Teaching in Cyber Security 2017, 5 – 6 April 2017, Liverpool John Moores University, UK.

Wignall, L. (2017). The sexual adoption of a social networking site: The case of Pup Twitter. Sociological Research Online. 22(3) 21-37.

Wignall, L. & McCormack, M. (2017) An exploratory study of a new kink activity: pup play. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 46(3) 801-811.

Alrobai, A., McAlaney, J., Phalp, K. and Ali, R., (2016). Exploring the risk factors of interactive e-health interventions for digital addiction. International Journal of Sociotechnology and Knowledge Development, 8 (2), 1-15.

Appleton K.M. (2016). Barriers to and facilitators of the consumption of animal-based protein-rich foods in older adults. Nutrients, 8, 187

Appleton K.M. (2016). Greater fruit selection following an appearance-based compared to a health-based health promotion poster. Journal of Public Health, 38, 731-738.

Appleton, K.M., & Smith, E. (2016). A role for identification in the gradual decline in the pleasantness of flavours in age. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 71, 987-994.

Appleton K.M., Hemingway, A., Saulais, L., Dinnella, C., Monteleone, E., Depazay, L., Morizet, D., Perez-Cueto, F.J.A., Bevan, A., Hartwell, H. (2016). Increasing vegetable intakes: Rationale and systematic review of published interventions. European Journal of Nutrition, 55, 869-896.

Appleton K.M., Perry, R., Sallis, H.M., Ness, A.R., Churchill, R. (2016). w-3 fatty acids for depression in adults: An abridged Cochrane review. BMJ Open, 6, e010172

Appleton, K.M., Woodside, J.V., Arveiler, D., Haas, B., Amouyel, P., Montaye, M., Ferrieres, J., Ruidavets, J.B., Yarnel, J.W.G., Kee, F., EVans, A., Bingham, A., Ducimetiere, P., Paterson, C.C.C. (2016). A role for behaviour in the relationships between depression and hostility and cardiovascular disease incidence, mortality and all-cause mortality: The PRIME Study. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 50, 582-591.

Bastiaansen, J.A., Munafo, M.R., Appleton, K.M., Oldehinkel, A.J. (2016). The efficacy of fish oil supplements in the treatment of depression: Food for thought. Translational Psychiatry, 6(12), e975.

Bogosian, A., Van Vliet, L., Fraser, L., Wei, G., Craig, C., & Turner-Cobb, J.M. (2016). Editorial. Minding the gap and moving forward in children’s long-term conditions: a vital role for health psychology. British Journal of Health Psychology, 21, 493-498

Cheetham, T. and Turner-Cobb, J.M. (2016). Panel manipulation in social stress testing: the Bath Experimental Stress Test for Children (BEST-C). Psychoneuroendocrinology63, 79-85.

Cheetham, T., Turner-Cobb, J.M., & Gamble, T. (2016). Children’s implicit understanding of the stress-illness link. Testing development of health cognitions. British Journal of Health Psychology, 21, 781-795.

Densham, S., Johnson, A., Baldwin, D., & Turner-Cobb, J.M. (2016). Enhanced psychological flexibility and improved quality of life in chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 88, 42-47.

Dempsey, R.C., McAlaney, J., et al., (2016). Normative perceptions of cannabis use among European university students: Associations of perceived peer use and peer attitudes with personal use and attitudes. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 77 (5), 740-748.

Helmer, S.M., Sebena, R., McAlaney, J., Petkeviciene, J., Salonna, F., Lukács, A. & Mikolajczyk, R.T. (2016). Perception of High Alcohol Use of Peers Is Associated With High Personal Alcohol Use in First-Year University Students in Three Central and Eastern European Countries. Substance Use and Misuse, 51 (9), 1224-1231.

Hsieh, Y. P., Shen, A. C. T., Wei, H. S., Feng, J. Y., Huang, C.Y., & Hwa, H. L. (2016). Multidimensional victimizations and internet addiction among Taiwanese children. Chinese Journal of Psychology, 58(4), 217-231.

Hughes, M.F., Patterson, C.C., Appleton, K.M., Blankenberg, S., Woodside, J.V., Donnelly M., Linden, G., Zeller, T., Esquirol, Y., Kee, F. (2016). the predictive value of depressive symptoms for all-cause mortality: Findings from the PRIME Belfast Study examining the role of inflammation and cardiovascular risk markers. Psychosomatic Medicine, 78, 401-411.

McAlaney, J., Thackray, H. and Taylor, J. (2016). The social psychology of cybersecurity. The Psychologist29, 686-689.

Shen, A.C.T., Hwa, H.L., Feng, J.Y., Hsieh, Y. P., Wei, H.S., Huang, C.Y. & Feng, Y.J. (2016) Who Gets Protection? A National Study of Multiple Victimization and Child Protection Among Taiwanese Children. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 1-25.

Turner, K., Johnson, C., Thomas, K., Bolderston, H., McDougall, S. (2016). The impact of complications and errors on surgeons: Do surgeons need support – and, if so, what kind? Royal College of Surgeons The Bulletin, 98 (9), 404-407.

Turner-Cobb, J.M,. & Cheetham, T.J. (2016). Psychological factors tha influence children with immune related health conditions (Chapter 2).  Child and Adolescent Resilience in Medical Contexts: Integrating Research and Practice. DeMichelis, C., & Ferrari, M. (Eds.). Springer.

Turner-Cobb, J.M., Smith, P.C., Ramchandani, P., Begen, F., and Padkin, A. (2016). The acute psychobiological impact of the intensive care experience on relatives. Psychology, Health and Medicine, 21 (1), 20-26.

Wei, H.S., Shen, A.C.T., Hwa, H.L., Hsieh, Y. P., Feng, J.Y., & Huang, C.Y. (2016) Physical Conditions and Special Needs as Risk Factors of Peer Victimization Among School Children. Journal of School Nursing.


Our facilities include:

Eating Behaviours Unit

Sports Performance Laboratory

Dedicated facilities for qualitative research including user-friendly interview rooms and facilities for focus groups, and group based (n=10 max) interventions,

Dedicated facilities and technical support for online and technology-based interventions;

Access to EEG and tCDS laboratories, state-of-the-art our eye-tracking and Virtual Environments setups, and EEG & Eye-tracking co-registrations.


Our People

Academic Staff Members

Katherine Appleton
Head of Research Centre

John McAlaney
Deputy Head of Research Centre


Postgraduate Researchers

Associate Members

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