School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law
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Dr Katherine Swainston

About Katherine Swainston

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.

Research interests and activities

Katherine's research interests focus on psycho-oncology including melanoma, breast, and prostate cancer as well as treatment decision-making processes within women's health, sexual health and paediatrics. She works collaboratively with the NHS and has previously led service evaluations in the areas of cardiothoracics and spinal rehabilitation and has worked on numerous research projects regarding behavioural change and public health. She has worked in collaboration with the National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence leading a series of systematic rapid reviews evaluating the effectiveness of community engagement methods/approaches in primary health promotion. Katherine currently works to support children and young people and their families within oncology and provides support for children with life limiting conditions. She also has interests in paediatric neurology and rehabilitation and patient experiences post-surgery. 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 and alcohol screening
Childhood cancers and physical activity
Wearable technologies with older adults
Shared treatment decision-making within breast cancer services

PhD and research opportunities

Katherine 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 and physical activity, pain management, acquired brain injury, the emotional impact of career disruptions, decision-making, co-dependency in healthcare, and sex and relationships education within the primary setting. 

External roles and professional activities

Katherine is Chair of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law Research Ethics committee and teaches professional practice issues at postgraduate level. She supervises independent route Stage 2 Health Psychology trainees who are working on projects within pain management, surgery, wearable technologies with older adults to promote physical activity, and supporting victims of honor-based violence, forced marriage, and FGM. 

Learning and teaching interests

Katherine is Director of the MSc in Health Psychology and Clinical Skills and leads the modules 'Clinical & Professional Skills in Health Psychology' and 'Health Psychology Project' on this programme. She specialises in teaching behavioural change, psycho-oncology, mental health, clinical skills, and research methods. She leads 'Psychological Research Design & Analysis' at Undergraduate level 5 and supervises students across all levels of study. Katherine is the academic coordinator for the psychology Peer Assisted Support Scheme and has collaborated on research projects regarding mentoring and student peer leaders. She supervises numerous PhD and taught doctorate students as well as Stage 2 Health Psychology trainees. 


van Wersch, A., Turnbull, T. & Swainston, K. (2016). ‘A qualitative investigation of the Bradford Speakeasy sex education programme’. Bradford City Council: EdSH17, 1-40.

Dismore, L., van Wersch, A. & Swainston, K. (2014). ‘Social constructions of the male contraceptive pill: When are we going to break the vicious circle?’ Journal of Health Psychology.

Swainston, K. & van Wersch, A. (2014). ‘Women’s experiences of treatment decision-making in breast cancer’. Paludi, M.A. (ed.). Praegar Handbook of Women’s Cancers: Personal and Psychosocial Insights: Praegar.
Swainston, K., Campbell, C., van Wersch, A. & Durning, P. (2012). ‘Treatment decision-making in breast cancer: A longitudinal exploration of women’s experiences’. British Journal of Health Psychology, 17: 155-170.

View Katherine Swainston's Publications on TeesRep