Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine Group

The Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine Group aims to examine the psychological factors that are associated with health-related behaviour and develop interventions that will promote health in the general population and populations with clinical or chronic conditions.

Person holding an apple

Our aims

  • Conduct pioneering experimental and applied theory-based research on health-related behaviour.
  • Lead and collaborate on national and international research projects using psychological techniques to promote and change health behaviour.
  • Disseminate research findings broadly to academic and practitioner groups.
  • Engage practitioners and stakeholders to translate research evidence into effective behavioural interventions and health promotion practice.
  • Mentor students and early-career researchers on programs of research in health psychology and behavioural medicine.
  • Contribute to intellectual debate on priority issues in applied health psychology and behavioural medicine.

HPBM group members

Please contact members if you are interested in conducting honours or postgraduate research with us.

Postgraduate researchers

  • Leon Booth
  • Peta Green
  • Charlene Shoneye
  • Jessie Sipes
  • Sarah Shihata
  • Anna Martin
  • Lisa Novoradovskaya
  • Caitlin Liddelow
  • Rachel Patterson
  • Marlene Kritz
  • Katherine Morgan-Lowes
  • Michael Chapman
  • Robin Lines
  • Lauren Brooke
  • Kristen Seaman
  • Chandrika Gibson
  • Nikita Bhavsar
  • Sofie Lindeberg
  • Alina Thompson
  • Luke Green
  • Sophie Cronin
  • Glenn Kiekens
  • Kate Tonta
  • Danyelle Greene
  • Ashley Slabbert
  • Lexy Staniland
  • Jessica Dawkins
  • Emily Jones
  • Chloe Maxwell-Smith
  • Caitlin Worrall
  • Michelle Huntley
  • Matthew McDonald
  • Darren Haywood
  • Nicole Gray

Current projects

Our projects identify the important conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of health behaviour and applied intervention research with the aim of promoting health and adaptive clinical outcomes. Our current projects encompass a broad range of health related topics, such as:

View our current projects

Promoting physical activity in community and clinical populations
Being physically active can protect against many lifestyle diseases and disorders, and can promote positive psychological well-being, yet most people do not engage in enough physical activity. Our research employs a range of theories and methodologies to understand and promote physical activity among community and clinical populations. We also design, implement and evaluate physical activity interventions among adults in retirement villages, obese middle-aged men, and school children.

Current Funding:

Dantas, J., Ntoumanis, N., Hallet, J., & McVeigh, J. SAMBA – South Asian Mothers and children Being Active. Healthway. [2018-2020].

Quested, E., Ntoumanis, N., Thogersen-Ntoumani, C., Gucciardi, Kerr, D., Hunt, K., Phillips, M., Robinson, S., Morgan, P., Newton, R., Erceg, P. Aussie Fans in Training: A weight loss program in sport settings. Healthway. [2017-2019].

Thøgersen-Ntoumani, C., Ntoumanis, N., Burton, E., Hill, K., Cerin, E., Biddle, S.J.H. Promoting walking, less sitting, and better mental health in older adults. Healthway. [2016-2018].

Thøgersen-Ntoumani, C., Stamatakis, E., Yardley, L., Quested, E.,, Parker, S., Ntoumanis, N., Pereira, G., & Boyle, G. The effects of a peer-led walking program on physical activity, health, well-being, and work outcomes in physically inactive employees. Cancer Council Western Australia. [2017].

Lonsdale, C., Diezmann, C., Ntoumanis, N., Yeung, A., Ryan, R., Beauchamp, M., & Maeder, A. Engaging Students during the Early Years of Secondary School. Australian Research Council. [2016-2020].

Recent Papers:

Carr, R., Prestwich, A., Kwasnicka, D., Thøgersen-Ntoumani, C., Gucciardi, D. F., Quested, E. J., Hall, L. H., & Ntoumanis, N. (in press). Dyadic interventions to promote physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Health Psychology Review. doi:10.1080/17437199.2018.1532312.

Thøgersen-Ntoumani, C., Quested, E., Biddle, S. J. H., Kritz, M., Olson, J., Burton, E., Cerin, E., Hill, K. D., McVeigh, J., & Ntoumanis, N. (2019). Trial feasibility and process evaluation of a motivationally-embellished group peer led walking intervention in retirement villages using the RE-AIM framework: The Residents in Action Trial (RiAT). Health Psychology & Behavioral Medicine, 7(1), 202-233.

Ntoumanis, N., Quested, E., Reeve, J., Cheon, S.H. (2018). Need supportive communication: Implications for motivation in sport, exercise, and physical activity. In B. Jackson, J.A. Dimmock, & J. Compton (Eds.), Persuasion and communication in sport, exercise, and physical activity (pp. 155-169). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Ntoumanis, N., Thøgersen-Ntoumani, C., Quested, E., & Hancox, J. (2017). The effects of training group exercise class instructors to adopt a motivationally adaptive communication style. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sport, 27, 1026–1034.

Maiorana, A. & Ntoumanis, N. (2017). Physical activity in patients with cardiovascular disease: challenges in measurement and motivation. Heart Lung and Circulation, 26, 1001-1003.

Emotional Health and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury

Our work is focused on the emotional health and wellbeing of children, adolescents, and young adults. Our work broadly focuses on individual differences in cognitive and self-regulatory processes (such as appraisal, coping, and emotion regulation) and their potential links with emotional vulnerability.

We are particularly interested in behaviours used to regulate emotion, such as non-suicidal self-injury and risky alcohol use. Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) poses significant health risks to young people, placing them at higher risk of suicide than those who do not self-injure. As NSSI is a complex behaviour that often remains concealed, ongoing research is vital for understanding NSSI and for providing assistance to people who self-injure, as well as those who care for them. We also investigate potential risk and protective factors associated with emotional vulnerability among youth experiencing a variety of adversities in their lives (e.g., children with reading and literacy difficulties, adolescents affected by HIV, young adults living with diabetes).

A driving motivation behind all our work is to conduct world-class research, delivering impact by improving emotional wellbeing for all young people and those who care for them.

Current Funding:

Hasking, P., Melvin, G., Bruffaerts, R., Rees, C., Boyes, M. E., Auerbach, R., Hendrie, D., Nock, M., & Kessler, R. Improving detection and referral for university students at risk of suicide. Suicide Prevention Australia Research Fund. [2019-2021].

Girdler, S., Milbourn, B., Kacic, V., Zimmerman, F., Donovan, R., & Hasking, P. Developing resilience and positive mental health strategies in university students. Healthway. [2019-2021].

Hasking, P. Improving detection and referral for university students at risk of suicide. Department of Health. $75,000 [2019-2020].

Finlay-Jones, A., Rees, C., Boyes, M. E., Perry, Y., & Sirois, F. Improving mental health of young Australians with chronic illness:  A pilot randomised controlled trial of online self-compassion trainingAustralian Rotary Health – Mental Health Research Grant. [2019-2020]. 

Boyes, M. E., Leitao, S., Dzidic, P., Claessen, M., Badcock, N., & Nayton, M. Promoting mental health in children with dyslexia: Piloting the Clever Kids programme. Australian Rotary Health – Mental Health Research Grant. [2018-2019].

Runions, K., Hasking, P., Ruggiero, M., Mitrou, F., Yap, M., Finaly-Jones, A., Race, G., Rao, P., Shaw, R., Benoit, A., & Cross, D. Development of performance measures for identification of adolescent deliberate self-harm. Telethon Kids Institute. [2018-2019].

Pettigrew, S., Miller, P., Kypri, K., Chikritzhs, T., Jongenelis, M., Brennan, E., & Hasking, P. Promoting responsible drinking practices to drinkers to reduce the risk of alcohol-related harm. National Health and Medical Research Council. [2018-2019].

Recent Papers:

Dawkins, J., Hasking, P., & Boyes, M (in press). Knowledge of parental non-suicidal self-injury in young people who self-injure: The mediating role of outcome expectancies. Journal of Family Studies.

Greene, D., Hasking, P., & Boyes. M. (in press). The associations between alexithymia, non-suicidal self-injury, and risky drinking: The moderating roles of experiential avoidance and gender. Stress & Health.

Boyes, M., Leitao, S., Claessen, M., Badcock, N., & Nayton, M. (in press). Correlates of externalising and internalising problems in children with dyslexia: An analysis of data from clinical casefiles. Australian Psychologist.

Preece, D., Becerra, R., Robinson, K., & Gross, J. (in press). The Emotion Regulation Questionnaire: Psychometric properties in general community samples. Journal of Personality Assessment.

Boyes, M., Cluver, L., Meinck, F., Casale, M., & Newnham, E. (2019). Mental health in South African adolescents living with HIV: Correlates of internalising and externalising symptoms. AIDS Care, 31 (1), 95-104.

Psychology of eating, nutrition, and safe food handling

Good nutrition is vital for health and wellbeing, and acts as a protective factor in reducing the risk of related chronic diseases. Additionally, the way food is handled, such as maintaining personal hygiene and storing food correctly, is also an important component in reducing risks associated with food-related illness. Our research investigates psychological influences related to maintaining good nutrition and safe food handling behaviours. We use a range of methodologies in our research, and employ a number of theories, including social-cognitive models, to explore the psycho-social predictors of these nutrition, eating and safe food handling behaviours. As part of our research, we also design, develop and evaluate interventions aimed at improving nutrition and safe food handling behaviours among various populations. Our research in conducted with the aim of improving eating, nutrition and safe food handling behaviours so as to increase the health and wellbeing of various populations. One current population of focus is among parents of infants and children as to assist in maximising nutrition and safe food handling from an early age and to promote these behaviours throughout the lifespan.

Current Funding:

Mullan, B. An Evaluation of the impact of a mass media campaign on consumer safe food handling behaviours in Western Australia. WA Department of Health. [2019-2020]

Breen, L, Same, A., & Mullan, B. An investigation into the efficacy of the Integrum Aged Care+ service. Silver Chain. [2018-2019].

Kerr, D., Collins, C., Mullan, B., Rollo, M., Dhaliwal, S., Norman, R., Boushey, C., & Delp, E. Consumer preferences and performance of technology-based dietary assessment. ARC. [2018-2021].

Kothe, E. J., Klas, A, Mullan, B., & Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, M. Coping efficacy-based messages and intention to engage in pro-environmental behaviour. Deakin University HATCH Research Grant Scheme. [2018-2019].

Kothe, E. J., Ling, M, Mullan, B., & Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, M. Identifying effective persuasive messages for vaccination and climate change denial. Deakin University HATCH Research Grant Scheme. [2018].

Harris, C., Same, A., & Mullan, B. Community care research project: Volunteering trends research. Volunteer Task Force. [2017-2019].

Kerr, D., Pollard, C., Jancey, J., Scott, J., Pratt, S., Dhalwal, S., Norman, R., Straker, L., Boushey, C., Delp, E., & Mullan, B. Computer-tailoring to change overweight adults’ diet and physical activity. Healthway. [2017-2019].

Recent Papers:

Downie, G., Mullan, B., Boyes, M., & McEvoy, P. (in press). The effect of psychological distress on self-care intention and behaviour in young adults with Type 1 Diabetes. Journal of Health Psychology.

Halse, R. E., Shoneye, C. L., Pollard, C. M., Jancey, J., Scott, J. A., Pratt, I. S., … Kerr, D. A. (2019). Improving nutrition and activity behaviors using digital technology and tailored feedback: Protocol for the LiveLighter Tailored Diet and Activity (ToDAy) randomized controlled trial. JMIR research protocols, 8(2), e12782.

McKee, M., Mullan, B., Mergelsberg, E., Gardner, B., Hamilton, K, Slabbert, A, & Kothe, E. (2019). Predicting what mothers feed their preschoolers: Guided by an extended theory of planned behaviour. Appetite, 137, 250-258.

Mullan, B., Allom, V., Sainsbury, K., & Monds, L. A. (2016). Determining motivation to engage in safe food handling behaviour. Food Control, 61, 47-53.

Mullan, B., Wong, C., Todd, J., Davis, E., & Kothe, E. (2015). Food hygiene knowledge in adolescents and young adults. British Food Journal, 117(1), 50-61.