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Dr Laura Ashley

About Dr Laura Ashley

Laura is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Leeds Beckett University, a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Laura specialises in psychosocial health research, particularly with people affected by cancer and their families.

Prior to joining Leeds Beckett in 2013, Laura worked as a Research Fellow in the Patient Reported Outcomes Group at the University of Leeds, and at the Bradford Institute for Health Research. Laura was awarded her PhD in Health Psychology from the University of Leeds in 2009, and before this a BSc (Hons) Psychology degree from the University of Leeds in 2004.

Laura is a member of the National Cancer Research Institute’s Psychosocial Oncology and Survivorship clinical studies group (Interventions to Improve Outcomes subgroup), the International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS), and the UK Society for Behavioural Medicine. Laura is also a member of the British Psychosocial Oncology Society (BPOS), as well as a previous member of the BPOS Executive Committee (2010 – 2016) and a past Chair of the society (2014 – 2016), during which time she organised and hosted the 2015 BPOS annual conference at Leeds Beckett University.

Laura regularly peer-reviews manuscripts journals including Quality of Life Research, Psychology and Health and the European Journal of Cancer Care, and is a former member of the Editorial Board of the high-impact journal Psycho-Oncology (2014 – 2016). In October 2016 Laura co-edited a special issue of Psycho-Oncology on cancer disparities and co-authored the accompanying Editorial titled “tackling inequalities in cancer care and outcomes: psychosocial mechanisms and targets for change”.

Current Teaching

Module leader for the Final Year Project (dissertation) on the BSc (Hons) Psychology course, and module leader and lecturer for Psychological Research and Analysis on the MSc Psychology (Conversion Award) course.

Laura supervises undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students undertaking psychosocial health research projects. She was shortlisted in 2014, and nominated in 2015, for undergraduate supervisor of the year in the Leeds Beckett University Student Union Golden Robes Awards.

Laura is currently supervising three PhD projects:

  • Mollie Price’s research looking at understanding and addressing the psychosocial challenges and support needs of caregivers of people with comorbid cancer and dementia, funded by a studentship from Leeds Beckett University
  • Sue Hartup’s research on the development and feasibility testing of electronic patient self-reporting and delivery of an internet based patient educational package to reduce the impact of persistent pain and improve quality of life following breast cancer surgery, funded by a National Institute for Health Research Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship
  • Martin Neal’s research on Nurses’ use of validation therapy techniques with dementia patients in NHS mental health settings: prevalence, nature, perceived benefits, challenges and facilitators, funded in part by Health Education England

Research Interests

Laura’s research focuses primarily on psychological and social antecedents and consequences of chronic illnesses, in particular cancer. Laura undertakes both quantitative and qualitative research, and her areas of interest and expertise include health behaviours, illness perceptions, psychosocial health interventions, quality of life, patient reported outcomes, cancer survivorship, caregivers, and e-health.

Laura has presented her research at over 40 national and international conferences including the British Psychological Society’s Division of Health Psychology annual conference, the International Psycho-Oncology Society Congress, and the USA Biennial Cancer Survivorship Research conference, and has authored over 20 research papers in peer-reviewed journals including Psycho-Oncology, the British Journal of Cancer and the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

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