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Personal profile

Academic Biography

Dr Katherine Swainston is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law. She is a Chartered Psychologist, a HCPC Registered Practitioner Psychologist (Health) and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. Katherine is a full member of the British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology and a founding member of the Qualitative Methods in Psychology Section. She is a registered Applied Psychology Practice Supervisor and a Fellow of the HEA. Dr Swainston is a registered Clinical Hypnotherapist and has qualifications in a range of psychologcal interventions as well as Neuro Linguistic Programming.

Summary of Research Interests

Dr Swainston has experience providing health psychology expertise within research and practice, using mixed methods and translational research across numerous settings and contexts. Through conducting research and consultancy her work has engaged people with a range of acute and long term health and mental health conditions as well as their carers, and she works extensively with the NHS, third sector organisations, and patient groups to enhance wellbeing and improve patient outcomes. Katherine provides consultancy and data analysis skills on projects listed within clinical trials and research innovation and collaborates on a number of projects in the areas of cancer care, long-term conditions, and women’s health. She is an experienced systematic reviewer and has an interest in engaging hard to reach groups in research through the use of innovative research methods as well as examining the value of therapeutic tools. She is a highly experienced qualitative researcher and has numerous peer reviewed publications using a variety of qualitative approaches and methods. Specific areas of interest include: living with and beyond cancer; treatment decision-making; neurological illness; public health; perinatal mental health; gender and health. Katherine is a regular reviewer for numerous health and social sciences journals and funding bodies and is a former co-ordinating editor of Health Psychology Update.

Research Projects & External Funding

Current research projects and funding are within the following areas:

  • Psycho-oncology 
  • Patient experiences of self-care while hospitalised
  • The impact of COVID-19 on substance misuse services
  • Shared treatment decision-making 
  • Pain catastrophizing

PhD and Research Opportunities

Dr Swainston supervises full and part-time PhD students and welcomes applications within the remit of health and psychology. The research areas of current students include: psycho-oncology, behaviour change, psychological interventions, pain experiences and pain catastrophizing, forensic radiography, diabetes management.

External Roles and Professional Activities

Dr Swainston is Chair of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law Research Ethics committee and Vice Chair of Teesside University Research Ethics & Integrity Committee. She supervises independent route Stage 2 Health Psychology trainees. 

Dr Swainston is the academic lead on work which has included the development of a Health Psychology clinic (specialising in sleep and stress) and Hybrid Interventions Team. The work has included the development of self-help materials for students experiencing a range of health psychology related issues underpinned by behaviour change theory and health psychology practice. The Health Psychology Clinic works in collaboration with the TU Lifestyle Clinic and Counselling Service aiming to provide proactive support and assertive outreach activities to enhance student engagement, and support retention, progression and attainment through counselling, mental health and wellbeing interventions. The Health Psychology clinic further aims to provide more holistic and integrated approaches to healthy lifestyles and enable evaluation of the effectiveness of direct real world interventions.

Learning and Teaching Interests and Activities

Dr Swainston is Director of the MSc in Health Psychology programme and leads the modules 'Clinical & Professional Skills in Health Psychology' and 'Health Psychology Project'. She specialises in teaching behavioural change, psycho-oncology, mental health, clinical skills, systematic reviewing and research methods and supervises students across all levels of study. 

Education/Academic qualification

Professional Doctorate

Award Date: 30 Nov 2009


Award Date: 28 Oct 2002


Award Date: 4 Jun 2001


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