Behaviour and Health is one of five key research themes at the Primary Care Unit.
The Behavioural Science Group was established in 2001, and is headed by Professor Stephen Sutton. This group’s work aims to understand the psychological and other determinants of behaviours that are related to the risk and prevention of chronic diseases and to develop more effective and cost-effective interventions to change these behaviours. There is a focus on three main behaviours: smoking cessation; physical activity; and adherence to medication.
The Behaviour and Health Research Unit (BHRU) is headed by Professor Theresa Marteau. It aims to bring contemporary understandings of behaviour from behavioural and brain sciences to national and international effort to achieve sustained behaviour change that improves health outcomes and reduces health inequalities. The BHRU is funded as part of the of the Department of Health Policy Research Programme to provide policy makers with timely and authoritative information to support decisions on investing or disinvesting in interventions designed to change health-related behaviour.
The Prevention Group, led by Professor Simon Griffin, focuses on reducing the burden of common chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, in which primary care plays a central role in diagnosis and management. Reducing the population health, economic and societal burden of chronic disease necessitates a balance of individual and collective approaches, from for example intensive medical treatment of patients at high risk, through screening for undiagnosed disease, to changes in transport or fiscal policy affecting the majority of the population. The group therefore includes within its programme of work the identification of modifiable determinants of behaviour and other risk factors for disease as well as the prudent development of interventions informed by behavioural science theory.
The Applied Social Science Group (ASSG) was established in 2016, and is headed by Dr Robbie Duschinsky. The group provides a forum for research drawing on the social sciences, using these methods, approaches and ideas to offer insights into patient experiences, contexts and health behaviours