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Anna Van Wersch

01642 384436
Job title:
Professor of Psychology
School of Social Sciences, Business & Law
Social Sciences, Business & Law research

About Anna Van Wersch

Anna Van Wersch

Anna Van Wersch
Professor of Psychology, School of Social Sciences, Business & Law
T: 01642 384436
Research: Social Sciences, Business & Law research

Anna van Wersch is Professor of Psychology, a Chartered Psychologist in both Sport and Exercise Psychology and Health Psychology on the register of the British Psychological Society (BPS), and a Health Psychologist on the register of the Health and Care Professions Council (HPCP).

Since 1998 she acts as the Programme Director of the accredited MSc Health Psychology at Teesside University and is a qualified supervisor for the second stage BPS Health Psychology award. Since 1997 she has been teaching undergraduate and postgraduate modules, and has completed supervisions of 14 PhDs (for full details click above on Research), 9 Clinical Doctorate theses, over 130 undergraduate and over 120 postgraduate dissertations. She has been external examiner for 9 PhDs; and acts currently as external examiner for the Doctorate Health Psychology at both the University of Surrey and Staffordshire University.

Recent esteem factors
In March 2012, Professor Anna van Wersch received the prestigious title of Fellow of The British Psychological Society to distinguish her as an internationally respected expert in Health, and Sports and Exercise Psychology. This title, which recognises a significant contribution to psychology, is the highest designation the Society can bestow. It demonstrates outstanding contribution to the advancement or dissemination of psychological knowledge or practice through research, teaching, publications or public service.

Professor Anna van Wersch’s book with Mark Forshaw and Tina Cartwright published by the Open University Press in 2009 (Complementary Medicine and Health Psychology) received positive reviews in Health Psychology Update and the Journal of Health Psychology, and has been quoted as “.. an eclectic and thought-provoking read for health psychologists. I echo the authors’ hope that it will inspire colleagues to look beyond traditional biomedicine and begin to explore the exciting new possibilities for theory and research...” (Bishop, F. (2011) Journal of Health Psychology 16(8) 1277–1278).

For six consecutive years, the Social Futures Institute at Teesside University has given Professor Anna van Wersch Researcher Status of International Excellence with a recent special recognition as one of the PhD supervisors with the highest number of completions.

On 7th of May 2014, Professor Anna van Wersch presented an invited guest lecture at the Cancéropôle in Paris organised by Université Paris Descartes - Sorbonne Paris Cité and Institute Curie based on her longstanding work in breast cancer with the title: “Perspectives historiques et développements actuels en psychologie lors d’une reconstruction mamaire a la suite d’un cancer du sein”.

Research interests

PhD completions supervised by Professor Anna van Wersch

2002 Carol Campbell: The relation between expectations and experiences in chronic low back-pain patients
2005 Michael Sheard: A construct validation approach to mental toughness in sport
2006 Carol Eastwood: Endometriosis: power and modernity
2007 Darren Flynn: Biopsychosocial aspects of idiopathic scoliosis
2009 Nick Harland: Validation of the Coping Strategies Questionnaire 24(CSQ24): A longitudinal study of state and trait coping strategies in a chronic low back pain population 2009 Sandra Darkings: Passengers’ awareness and adherence to exercise programmes on air flights
2010 Virginie Lemaire: Mental strength in disabled sports people
2010 Triece Turnbull: Psychological exploration of sex and relationship education in the family context using the grounded theory approach
2011 Gareth Bachi: The broken promise of antiretroviral drugs–an ethnographic study of patients in Zambia.
2012 Judith Eberhardt: An electronic coping-enhancement programme for bereaved women addressing psychosocial factors in breast-cancer development
2012 Nicola Smith: Breast Self-Examination: the effects of autobiographical accounts and a multimedia support program on women’s knowledge, beliefs and behaviour
2013 Katherine Swainston: Embodiment and breast cancer: a longitudinal exploration.
2013 Jennifer Maggs: Examining the physiological, cognitive and behavioural correlates of mental toughness.
2014 Stephanie Kilinc: An Interpretative Phenomenological Exploration of the experience of living with epilepsy when diagnosed in adulthood

Selected Research Funding
Social psychological model for adolescents’ interest in Physical Education.  Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), (£10,000) (with Trew, K. and Turner, I) 

Continuity of psychological and medical care for women operated on for breast cancer. Prevention Fund, the Netherlands, (£60,000). (with van Geel, A., Pruyn, J., Wiggers, T)

Psychological, medical and economic factors of a randomised control trial comparing long stay and short stay for patients with an operable carcinoma of the breast. Ministry of Health, Welfare & Culture, the Netherlands, (£100,000).  (with van Geel, B, Pruyn, J., Wiggers, T)

Improvement in the continuity of psychological and medical care, through coordination and the use of a logbook, for patients being treated for a head-and-neck tumor. National Committee on the Chronically Ill, the Netherlands, (£80,000)  (with de Boer, M, Meeuwis, C, Pruyn, J.) 

Patient involvement in evidence based guidelines. Centre for Health Services Research, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, (£16,000)

The development and evaluation of a sex education programme based on mutual respectful communication. HEFCE, (£36,000) (with van Schaik, P.)

Development and evaluation of an information service for people living with long-term conditions, Teddington: NHS Research for Patient Benefit Program (RfPB): (£298,030) (with Walker, R., Corbett, S., Greenwell, K.) 

Pilot-study for a randomised control trial of the effectivity of Floww Health Technology on the medical and psychosocial wellbeing of patients suffering from suspected complaints of exposure to electromagnetic-radiation. Harmony Fellowship, 2013 (€36,379.79)

Randomised controlled trial of hospital at home compared to standard inpatient management of patients with an acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD). (NIHR Research for Patient Benefit Competition (RfPB), 2014 (£254,934.00) (with Bourke, S., Echevarria, C. & Steen, N.)   

Evaluation of the sexual health and relationship education ‘Speakeasy’ programme. City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, 2014 (£35,991.60) (with Turnbull,T & Swainston,K)

Professor van Wersch would welcome applications from PhD candidates in the following broad areas:
> sport and exercise psychology (e.g. mental toughness, PE-interest, exercise and diabetes)
> psychological aspects of cancer 
> stress, coping and psychoneuroimmunology (PNI)
> philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas and psychology 
> medical unexplained symptoms (MUS), complementary and integrated and psychology

In the news

  • SoFI Seminar Series: No Rapport, No Comment: The Relationship Between Rapport and Communication During Investigative Interviews With Child Internet Sex Offenders
    Gazette Live online, 22/10/2014
    An event at Teesside University with Professor Anna van Wersch and Dr Kimberley Collins.

  • Going too far for the perfect body?
    Evening Gazette, 25/01/2012, p.8,
    New research has revealed that men are more concerned than ever about their body appearance. Teesside University psychologist Anna Van Wersch believes attitudes to appearance have changed over the yea