Supporting Behaviour Change

Lead: Prof Lucy Yardley

Co-lead: Prof Mary Barker

Changing our behaviour can improve our health, prevent or effectively manage disease and reduce our need for healthcare, but is often extremely challenging.  


We are working with patients, the public and health professionals to create new approaches that support behaviour change, helping to tackle rising demand for healthcare and an urgent need to reduce health inequalities.

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What we are tackling – Research Questions


Research with patients and the public

How can we work with patients and the public to research and develop new approaches that are accessible and engaging

for everyone they are intended for?


Developing digital innovations

How can we use new digital capabilities to quickly and effectively refine and implement healthcare innovations?

Our impact

Our Germ Defence website has helped reduce the spread of infection in the home. We have also developed Healthy Conversation Skills training to support people in making healthy changes, and society in tackling chronic disease. Our POWeR (Positive Online Weight Reduction) website is being used across the UK to support personalised weight loss.

  • Germ Defence is the only website proven to help reduce infection in the home and has been approved nationally. When the pandemic hit, we worked with Public Health England (PHE) to adapt the website for COVID-19. It was available via PHE self-isolation advice web pages and rolled out to all English GP practices as a national priority project.

  • Germ Defence has reached users in 170 countries, with public volunteers translating it into 27 languages. Findings from our Germ Defence Covid study were used by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). Read more

  • Working with NHS Health Education England, Healthy Conversation Skills (HCS) has been deployed across NHS regions. As use spreads, it is getting more out of the one million daily contacts between the public and NHS staff. Trials across eight countries have consistently shown benefits.

  • Obesity is the leading cause of avoidable early death and affects one in four adults in the UK. Our POWeR website has reduced disease risk, cut costs, and is valued by patients and NHS staff alike. Partnering with Local Health Authorities and the NHS, POWeR has been made available to two million people.

  • POWeR will be shared with 600,000 people through to 2025 as the weight management part of the National Diabetes Education Programme. Our future work will adapt the content to support weight loss in a range of other conditions. Read more

Image by Towfiqu barbhuiya

Online support helping fight obesity and chronic disease

Our online weight-loss support programme is impacting lives across the UK to reduce risks of a range of health problems. Read more

Our people

Meet key individuals leading and enabling Supporting Behaviour Change research in Southampton.


Prof Lucy Yardley

Professor of Health Psychology


Dr Sofia Strommer

Chartered Psychologist


Dr Kathryn Woods- Townsend

LifeLab Programme Manager


Dr Wendy Lawrence

Associate Professor of Health Psychology, Faculty of Medicine Team-working


Prof Graham Roberts

Professor of Paediatric Allergy and Respiratory Medicine


Prof Nick Francis

Professor of Primary Care Research


Dr James L Denison-Day

Research Fellow


Prof Mary Barker

Professor of Psychology and Behavioural Science


Dr Katherine Bradbury

Senior Research Fellow in Health Psychology


Dr Adam Geraghty

Associate Professor, Research Psychologist


Dr Judy Joseph

Senior Research Enterprise Fellow



Health Psychologist and Research Psychologist


Dr Felicity Bishop

Consultant Health Psychologist


Prof Hazel Inskip

Professor of Statistical Epidemiology


Dr Chloe Grimmett

Senior Research Fellow


Dr Leanne Morrison

Lecturer in Health Psychology


Prof Julia Sinclair

Professor of Addiction Psychiatry


Dr Nisreen Alwan

Associate Professor in Public Health


Prof Paul Little

Professor of Primary Care Research