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Centre for Public and Psychosocial Health

Unit(s) of assessment: Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience; Social Work and Social Policy

School: School of Social Sciences


This Research Centre brings together a wide range of research excellence in Social Science, including in Public and Population Health, Health and Wellbeing and Employment and Wellbeing.  This breadth of research spans clinical (lymphoedema) and non-clinical areas (sleep, wellbeing, social identities, trauma, health promotion/prevention) and is multi-disciplinary, for example taking sociological and psychosocial approaches to health.  The Research Centre has strong links regionally (e.g. NUHT) and internationally with established partnerships with Uganda and South Africa (Public and Population Health), EU Countries (Workage Project in Psychology), Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Japan and EU Countries (Skin Integrity).


A number of Research Groups are associated with the Centre for Public and Psychosocial Health:

Public Health and Skin Integrity

Social Work and Health Research

The focus of this group is characterised by its very applied nature with an overarching aim of contributing to more responsible people, professions and communities. It draws together social policy and social intervention to improve services and the outcome of those who use them. Examples of projects currently undertaken in this division include:

  • substance misuse services for children and young people, funded by Nottingham County Council
  • leadership of Social Work Services, funded by Skills for Care
  • comparing the priorities of the multitude of excluded homeless people and support agencies, funded by the ESRC.

Behavioural Addiction (including The International Gaming Research Unit (IGRU))

The International Gaming Research Unit is committed to

  • Discovering and understanding attitudes toward gambling, game playing, internet usage and other potentially addictive behaviours
  • Developing and evaluating responsible gambling tools
  • Developing psychometric tools to assess problematic and addictive behaviours
  • Examining the ways individuals interact online – both healthy and unhealthy interactions
  • examining the situational and psycho-structural characteristics of gaming (for example, what makes games enjoyable to play?)
  • Examining how new technologies and products impact on our lives and change the way we live
  • Identifying those people who are most at risk of developing behavioural problems with these activities
  • Designing prevention strategies to minimise the risk of such vulnerable people developing problems
  • identifying the underlying factors that contribute to some people developing psychological and behavioural dependencies in relation to some of these activities or technologies.

Bullying and Aggressive Behaviour Research Group

The Bullying and Aggressive Behaviour group undertakes research that broadly reflects how bullying and aggressive behaviour is defined, experienced, and the psychological impact of involvement in such behaviours. As a group, we focus on a range of aggressive behaviours including peer victimisation, face-to-face bullying, cyberbullying, street harassment, and aggression in interpersonal relationships.

Cyberpsychology Research Group

The Cyberpsychology Research Group is very active in undertaking and disseminating research in the area of the psychology of the Internet and digital technology use. The group’s research spans psychosocial implications of Internet and technology use across various channels and applications (e.g., mobile/smartphones, gaming, social networking), the use of technologies to inform mental health, education, and research, as well as augmented and virtual reality applications.

Groups, Identities and Health Research Group

The Groups, Identities and Health research group investigates the ways in which social identities impact upon the health and wellbeing of group members. We examine groups across a wide range of community, healthcare and educational contexts to examine how social identities can shape group members’ perceptions and experiences, how identities facilitate or impede helping behaviour and how groups serve to support or undermine individual and collective resilience.

Sleep Research Group

Sleep research at NTU builds upon John Groeger’s collaborations at Surrey’s Sleep Research Laboratory (University of Surrey) and School of Applied Psychology (University College Cork). Commitment to exploring the functional significance of different aspects of sleep, and individual differences in vulnerability to the effects of sleep loss continues, but collaborations with new colleagues has enabled us to build programmes which address sleep’s importance to health and wellbeing, its social context, and implications for everyday cognition.

Thus far, a dozen or more academic staff have become engaged in specific projects, all with clear outputs planned for this/early next academic year). These are: Couples’ sleep (Dr. Lydia Harkin); Sleep in prisons (Dr. Karen Slade); Campus wide Sleep Service scoping study (Dr. Maria Karanika-Murray, Dr. Mike Marriott and Dr. Eva Sundin); Sleep and group identification (Dr. Mhairi Bowe, Dr. Blerina Kellezi and Dr. Juliet Wakefield); Sleep in families with disability (Dr Rebecca Stack); Sleep and autobiographical memory (Dr Lucy Justice); Sleep and homelessness (Rachel Harding, thought-piece commissioned by The Conversation).

The sleep group has two current PhD students, one investigating the effects of portable device use and emitted light on adolescents’ sleep (Holden, supervisors Professor John Groeger, Dr. Nadja Heim, Dr. Rebecca Stack), and the effects of sleep loss on inflammation (Heasman, supervisors Professor John Groeger, Dr. Suvo Mitra).

Major objectives for 2018-19 is the establishment of a fully functional sleep laboratory, appointment of staff with sleep expertise, seeking external funding for research collaborations and additional doctoral students, and perhaps the development of a campus-wide sleep service for staff and students.

Ongoing areas of investigation include:

  • Specific functions of sleep structure
  • Cognitive consequences of sleep and sleep loss
  • Individual differences in sleep and sleep loss vulnerability
  • Sleep, health and environment
  • Sleep, caring and development

Trauma, Social Isolation and Mental Health Research Group

The mission of the Trauma, Social Isolation and Mental Health (TSIMH) group is to improve the psychological wellbeing of and support for individuals with experiences of trauma, social exclusion and psychological distress (ranging from traumatic experiences in refugees and staff in the emergency services, homelessness to mental illness, for example eating disorder and bipolar disorder). This is structured around some of the key principles of NTU’s Health and Wellbeing theme: we explore social events and pathologies that influence healthy development in people’s mind and body, in the wider context of communities and society.

Wellbeing in the Workplace Research Group

The Work, Well-Being and Performance research group undertakes rigorous and impactful research that aims to improve the health and well-being, working lives, and productivity of individuals, teams, and organisations.

Our work is externally funded and designed in collaboration with those who will benefit from the research insights. It draws and applies knowledge from a range of areas within psychology (such as developmental/lifespan, personality, health, community, and social psychology) and cognate areas such as business and management, occupational health, sport science, and ergonomics. Specific research interests cover: health and well-being, organisational interventions, intervention evaluation, diversity, coaching, organisational resilience and recovery, work behaviours (e.g., presenteeism, absenteeism, workaholism), climate and culture, change and organisational development, human error and safety, ageing and work, (in)quality, job design, leadership and teamwork, commuting and working away from home, affect (nostalgia) and individual differences, mindfulness, performance and motivation, chronic health, “always on”, and acceptable behaviours in SMEs.

Our work is carried out in a range of workplace settings, including, for example, healthcare, higher education, local government, the police, and manufacturing. Our work has been funded by the European Commission, Research Councils, charities, and industry.

PhD Funding

Find out everything you need to know about funding your doctoral studies – from tuition fees and loans, to studentships and external funding.