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Midlands Health Psychology Network Conference Coming to Coventry

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We’re pleased to share the news that The Midlands Health Psychology Network will be holding its annual conference at Coventry University on March 2nd 2017. The theme will be Approaches to Wellbeing: Working Across Professional Boundaries.

Students from the MSc Health Psychology are encouraged to attend. This will be a chance to see recent graduates and other friends of the course in action, and make useful network contacts. Find out what our students have said about the experience of attending in years past.

MSc health psych graduate moves on to Professional Doctorate

Congratulations to Anjulie Dhillon, who took her MSc Health Psychology at Coventry in 2014/15 and has gone on to do stage two training in health psychology, via a professional doctorate.

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“Since graduating with an MSc in Health Psychology at Coventry University, I have recently joined Staffordshire University on the Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology. I am working as a Trainee Health Psychologist, based primarily on a Paediatric Burns Unit. I support young burn victims and their families through recovery and I will also be undertaking clinical work with adults with diabetes and chronic pain. This opportunity has provided me with the chance to apply my knowledge of Health Psychology models and theories in a clinical area, allowing me to grow and develop as a Trainee Health Psychologist. During the next two years I will be working on a number of projects including psychological interventions, research and teaching. I have also been very fortunate to have continued my work with Coventry University and I look forward to carrying out some research with Liz Sparkes in the new year, as well as delivering some teaching sessions to current MSc students later this academic year.”

We wish Anjulie enjoyment and success in her stage two training and we’re looking forward to her visiting us on the programme at Coventry.

High scores for the behaviour change taxonomy teams

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This week our undergraduate health psychology students have been looking at taxonomies of health behaviour change techniques – what they are, why we need them, and how to use them. A taxonomy (in the general sense) is a system for classifying things according to their distinguishing features.  Such classification systems have been used for everything from Catholic saints to Australian motion pictures.

To the health psychologist, a good taxonomy is a list which classifies the active ingredients that might form part of a behaviour change intervention. This might include, for example:

  • Providing people with information on the link between behaviour and health (e.g. telling people that smoking causes lung disease, that vaccination can protect from childhood illness, etc.)
  • Encouraging people to identify as a role model for others (e.g. encouraging parents to eat well and avoid smoking in order to set a good example for their children)
  • Giving people rewards contingent on their performing the desired behaviour (e.g. giving people a shopping voucher every time they pass a breath test that shows they’ve not smoked recently)

We need taxonomies to help us work out what the individual ingredients are in any programme or intervention. Knowing what the different parts are that make up the whole programme can help us test each part separately. Then we can focus on providing those active ingredients (programme components) that really work, and save money by leaving out components that don’t make any difference to the outcome.

There are lots of different lists and taxonomies available. For the undergraduate coursework we have chosen the taxonomy of 26 behaviour change techniques published by Abraham & Michie (2008). In today’s seminars we had a gentle competition to see which team (s) performed best at recognising the 26 techniques on the taxonomy. Scores were very impressive so this bodes well for students’ performance in the upcoming assignment.

Guest speaker: Puja Joshi on Systematic Reviews

Pleased to be welcoming another guest speaker (and recent graduate of our health psych masters) today, in M145PY Introducing Professional Practice 3.30-5.30 in JA115.

Puja Joshi, now a Research Officer with The National Children’s Bureau, will be giving a guest session on systematic reviews.  This supports your coursework assignment on the first professional practice module.  Puja will also be telling you about an opportunity to collaborate with her.  This may well take the form of writing one or more reviews.

Looking forward to seeing you later today (after your Stress, health and Illness lecture 1-3 which is just up the corridor in JA153).

Guest speaker from Public Health

The MSc health psych team is very pleased to be welcoming Public Health Practitioner Angela Hands to speak to students on M96PY Health Promotion and Behaviour Change today.  Students – we have a room change for today (sorry): we will be in RC251 for Angela’s talk.  That’s second floor Richard Crossman Building.

Watch the eyes: Health psychology and machines that go ‘ping’

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Think of psychological research and the image that comes to mind might be completing a questionnaire, looking at some inkblots or perhaps participating in a bizarre social experiment.  Psychological research methodologies encompass a much wider range of techniques and approaches. Some may seem deceptively low tech – such as focus groups and individual interviews, diaries and participant observations. However, health psychologists increasingly draw on information technology, social media and sophisticated electronic devices to conduct their research and put their theories into practice.

In the past year alone, students on the MSc health psychology did independent and collaborative research using interviews/focus groups to explore a range of topics including

  • The attitudes of healthcare staff to providing positive birth experiences
  • Academic midwifery perspectives on teaching about maternal obesity
  • The experience of early stage dementia sufferers and their partners
  • Barriers and facilitators to health promotion for South Asian people
  • Young women’s beliefs about long-acting reversible contraception
  • Service users and providers’ perspectives on stress management through vocational rehabilitation in schizophrenia
  • South Asian fathers’ perspectives on childhood obesity

Previous students have used online surveys and studies of internet discussion forums to explore the experiences of patients and their families, for example, what it is like to be an elderly person whose adult son or daughter becomes increasingly disabled by multiple sclerosis.

Some of our outgoing MSc health psych students also designed a smart phone app to improve self management for adolescent boys with type 1 diabetes. An important consideration was that the app should work on the latest and most desirable mobile handset.

We already have close links with staff in the University’s Applied Research Centre in Health & Lifestyle Interventions, where numerous projects have harnessed technology to address issues as diverse as breastfeeding and adolescent sexual health. For 2013/14 we are hoping to work more closely with the university’s Health Design & Technology Institute and Serious Games Institute, with a view to realising some of the products our MSc students have designed.

Meanwhile we’ve welcomed a new piece of kit to Psychology & Behavioural Sciences in the form of an advanced eye tracker. There is a lot of scope for staff and postgraduate research using this facility.  Being able to trace and record accurately where a person’s eyes are roaming is an excellent adjunct to more traditional research methods.  For example, we can ask research participants whether they attend to nutritional information that’s presented on food labels or restaurant menus. Now we’ll be able to check what they actually look at and for how long. We might also be able to find out how people really navigate through health information websites, interact with health behaviour change apps and so on. Just need to check if the machine that makes all of this possible really does go ‘ping’.

Small print: This isn’t our actual machine – it is too fresh out of the packaging to be cornered for a photograph. Pic courtesy of wiki commons at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eyetracker1.jpg

Reminder: Coventry Health Psychology Network Meeting is this Thursday

Message from our friends in the Midlands Health Psychology Network (Local group):

Welcome back to the new term!

A reminder that the next Coventry Health Psychology Network Meeting is Thursday 19th September 1pm-2pm in Richard Crossman 319

We will be hearing about the health psychology- related research that is going on in three departments of the University: Psychology, HDTI and the ARC in Health and Lifestyle Interventions.

We will also discuss plans for future meetings and our links to the Midlands Health Psychology Network.

Please pass this message around to your colleagues who may be interested in attending.

I hope to see many of you there!

Best wishes, Naomi

Naomi.Bartle@coventry.ac.uk

We’ve gone official

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Some pics we’ve chosen to show our vision of health psychology

It has taken a wee while but the official Coventry University website now links to this blog. We are looking forward to welcoming visitors who’ve come to us via the CU course finder pages.

Let us know what you think of our blog. Which look do you prefer?

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Some images from the CU course finder pages

What can we do to make our blog more useful for you?

What some of our friends will be presenting at the DHP conference in Brighton next week

Just had a quick glance at the scientific programme for the BPS Division of Health Psychology conference. It’s in Brighton 11-13 September.

At first look, here are a few highlights from folk who’ve completed our course or contibuted as guest lecturers. Apologies if I’ve left anyone out…

Development of a sex education lesson to increase risk and coping appraisals for chlamydia
K Newby, P Joshi, Coventry University, D Lecky, K Brown* & M Hawking

Development of a theoretically grounded health promotion app for childhood weight management
K Curtis, K Brown* & J Wyatt

Predicting breastfeeding duration from Theory of Planned Behaviour and socio-demographic variables
N Bartle**, O Dunn*, S Law & L Wallace**

Dementia – the new ‘c’ word? Self-management programmes (SMPs) for people in the early stages of dementia (PESD) and their carers
C Bourne, A Turner**, N Bradbury, N Belsham & J Aird

Meet the parents: Can group based self-management improve psychological well-being and reduce psychological distress for parent caregivers of children with ASD and/or ADHD?
P Joshi, D McHattie, C Malin, W Dingley, R Edwards & A Turner**

South Asians are not any different? Core versus targeted approaches to self management programmes (SMP) for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities C Grant-Pearce**, B Chandaria, & B Vakil, F Martin & A Turner**

New balls please!” Development and evaluation of a 4 hour self-management workshop for testicular cancer survivors
A Turner**, C Bourne, F Martin, B Lynn & A Lynall

People with hyperlinks are former students on the MSc health psych.

* Katherine and Orla are former course directors for the MSc health psych.

**Naomi, Louise, Andy and Carol are recent contributors to our teaching.

Talk 11 am at this Saturday’s PG Open Day

For those of you who have already booked your place at this Saturday’s PG Open Day at Coventry University:

I will be meeting all those enquiring about the Health Psychology courses at 11 am in the Student Hub.

I will give you a personal presentation on the course and chance for questions and answers.

Looking forward to meeting you then.

Carol P

Course Director