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Dr Laura Ashley


About Dr Laura Ashley

Laura is a Reader in Health 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 British Psychological Society's Standing Conference Committee. Laura is 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), and a current Editorial Board member of the journal Psychology and Health. 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

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 six PhD projects:

  • Sue Hartup (co-supervisor, with Professors Michelle Briggs, Mark Johnson & Galina Velikova)
    Thesis title: 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
  • Mollie Price (Director of Studies, with Professors Claire Surr & Brendan Gough)
    Thesis title: Understanding and addressing the psychosocial challenges and support needs of caregivers of people with dementia and comorbid cancer
  • Olivia Robinson (Director of Studies, with Professor Claire Surr, & Drs Darren Hill & Iain Lawrie)
    Thesis title: Understanding the care and support needs of nursing home residents with dementia and comorbid cancer
  • Sarah Birch (co-supervisor, with Professor Georgina Jones)
    Thesis title: Raising awareness of and prompt help-seeking for lower-limb lympoedema in gynecological cancer patients
  • Rebecca Platt (Director of Studies, with Professor Claire Surr)
    To start Oct 2018
  • Elizabeth Travis, University of Leeds (co-supervisor, with Professor Daryl O'Connor)
    To start Oct 2018

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, comorbidities, patient reported outcomes, cancer survivorship, caregivers, and e-health. She is currently a PI or co-applicant on five research projects funded by Macmillan Cancer Support, National Institute for Health Research, Abbeyfield Research Foundation, and.Alzheimer's Society.

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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