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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Resilience, Health and Well-being

Resilience Health & Wellbeing


What contributes to health and well-being in good as well as bad time? Current research emphasises the interplay between endogenous biological factors and the external social and physical environment. Researchers in this area include Dr Kristin Hadfield, Dr Janelle Jones, Dr Robert Keers, Dr Sevasti Foka, and Professor Michael Pluess.

A particular focus of our current research involves the investigation of psychological well-being among refugee children. This includes longitudinal studies as well as controlled trials to test the efficacy of psychological interventions developed by members of the department. The majority of this work takes places in Lebanon, Jordan, and Greece.

Improving mental health and well-being is a major public health concern that is also being addressed within the department. Dr Janelle Jones is working with charity partners to investigate how and why community-based arts interventions can influence the health and well-being of older adults. Dr Sophie Pettit is exploring barriers and facilitators to psychological talking therapy services in typically under-represented groups, and Dr Elke Vlemincx studies how breathing, breathing perception and breathing awareness contribute to emotion and stress regulation, coping with symptoms and performance.

Current teaching emphasises the development of health and well-being and interventions to support student engagement and achievement. Scholarship in this area is being conducted by Dr Sevasti Foka, Dr Elke Vlemincx, and Dr Shirley Wang.

Professor of Developmental Psychology Michael Pluess discussing his research.


Researcher Title Department

Research Interests

Foka, Dr Sevasti

(Teaching and Scholarship)

Lecturer in Psychology Psychology

Work and organizational psychology, Mindfulness, Positive psychology, Well-being

Jones, Dr Janelle

Lecturer in Social Psychology


Identity, Social connections, Resilience, Health and well-being, Stigma

Pettit, Dr Sophie

(Teaching and Scholarship)

Lecturer in Psychology Psychology

Mental health, Psychiatric care, Psychological therapy, Age factors

Pluess, Prof Michael

Professor of Developmental Psychology, Head of Psychology Department


Environmental sensitivity, Positive development, Resilience, Health and well-being, Behaviour genetics

Vlemincx, Dr Elke

Lecturer in Psychology


Psychophysiology, Respiration, Interoception, Positive emotions, Relaxation, Stress regulation, Emotion regulation, Cognitive flexibility



We collaborate with the following universities:


Hadfield K, Amos M, Ungar M, Gosselin J, Ganong L (2018). Do changes to family structure impact child and family outcomes? A systematic review of the instability hypothesis. Journal of Family Theory and Review

Hadfield K, Nixon E (2018). “He’s had enough fathers”: Mothers’ and children’s approaches to mothers’ romantic relationships following the dissolution of previous partnerships. Journal of Family Issues

Panter-Brick C, Hadfield K, Dajani R, Eggerman M, Ager A, Ungar M (2018). Resilience in context: A brief and culturally-grounded measure for Syrian refugee and Jordanian host-community adolescents. Child Development

Roberts S, Keers R, Breen G, Coleman J, Jöhren P, Kepa A, Lester K, Margraf J, Scheider S, Teismann T, Wannemüller A, Eley T, Wong C (2018). DNA methylation of FKBP5 and response to exposure-based psychological therapy. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics

Nocentini A, Menesini E, Pluess M (2018). The Personality Trait of Environmental Sensitivity Predicts Children’s Positive Response to School-Based Antibullying Intervention. Clinical Psychological Science

Brock A, García-González J, Parker M, Kuan V, Jolliffe D, Sudwarts A, Teh MT, Busch-Nentwich E, Stemple D, Martineau A, Walton R, Brennan C (2018). Behavioral screen assay in zebrafish isolates new gene predicting human smoking behavior biorixv. BIological Psychiatry (in press)

Vlemincx E, Meulders M, Luminet O (2018). A sigh of relief or a sigh of expected relief: Sigh rate in response to dyspnea relief. Psychophysiology

Pluess M, Assary E, Lionetti F, Lester K, Krapohl E, Aron E, Aron A (2018). Environmental sensitivity in children: Development of the Highly Sensitive Child Scale and identification of sensitivity groups. Developmental Psychology

Keers R, Pluess M (2017). Childhood Quality Influences Genetic Sensitivity to Environmental Influences across Adulthood: A Life-Course Gene-Environment Interaction Study. Development and Psychopathology

Pettit S, Qureshi A, Henley W, Richards S, Gibson A, Byng R (2017). Variation in referral and access to new psychological therapy services by age. British Journal of General Practice

Pettit S, Bowers L, Tulloch A, Cullen A, Moylan L, Sethi F, McCrone P, Baker J, Quirk A, Stewart D (2017). Acceptability and use of coercive methods across differing service configurations with and without seclusion and/or psychiatric intensive care units. Journal of Advanced Nursing

Pettit S, Cresta E, Winkley K, Purcell E, Armes J (2017). Impact of cancer treatment on glycaemic control and adverse outcome in people with type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One

Brock A, Goody A, Mead A, Sudwarts A, Parker M, Brennan C (2017). Assessing the Value of the Zebrafish Conditioned Place Preference Model for Predicting Human Abuse Potential. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

Brock A, Sudwarts A, Parker M, Brennan C (2017). The rights and wrongs of zebrafish: Behavioral phenotyping of zebrafish. Springer

Vlemincx E, Meulders M, Abelson J (2017). Sigh rate during emotional transitions: More evidence for a sigh of relief. Biological Psychology

Keers R, Coleman J, Lester K, Breen G, Hudson J, Lewis C, Plomin R, Eley T (2016). A genome-wide test of the differential susceptibility hypothesis reveals a genetic predictor of differential response to psychological treatments for child anxiety disorders. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics

Pluess M (2015). Individual Differences in Environmental Sensitivity. Child Development Perspectives

Vlemincx E, Van Diest I, Van den Bergh O (2015). Emotion, sighing and respiratory variability. Psychophysiology

Jones J and Hynie M (2017). Similarly Torn, Differentially Shorn? The experience and management of conflict between multiple roles, relationships and social categories. Frontiers in Psychology

Jones J and Ramos M (2017). Promoting engagement health and well-being in ethnically diverse societies. In K. Niven, S. Lewis and C. Kagan (Eds.) Social Impact: Making a Difference with Psychology 

Jetten, J, Haslam, S, Haslam, C, Dingle G and Jones, J. M (2014). How groups affect our health and well-being: The path from theory to policy. Social Issues and Policy Review