Dr Laura Ashley, Reader

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.

Dr Laura Ashley, Reader

Selected Outputs

  • Ashley L; Kelley R; Griffiths A; Cowdell F; Henry A; Inman H; Hennell J; Ogden M; Walsh M; Jones L (2020) Understanding and identifying ways to improve hospital-based cancer care and treatment for people with dementia: an ethnographic study. Age and Ageing


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  • Travis E; Ashley L; Pownall M; O'Connor DB (2020) Barriers to flexible sigmoidoscopy colorectal cancer screening in low uptake socio‐demographic groups: A systematic review. Psycho-Oncology, 29 (8), pp. 1237-1247.


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  • Griffiths A; Ashley L; Kelley R; Cowdell F; Collinson M; Mason E; Farrin A; Henry A; Inman H; Surr C (2020) Decision-making in cancer care for people living with dementia. Psycho-Oncology: journal of the psychological, social and behavioral dimensions of cancer


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  • Surr C; Kelley R; Griffiths A; Ashley L; Cowdell F; Henry A; Collinson M; Mason E; Farrin A (2020) Enabling people with dementia to access and receive cancer treatment and care: The crucial role of supportive networks. Journal of Geriatric Oncology


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  • Price ML; Surr CA; Gough B; Ashley L (2019) Experiences and support needs of informal caregivers of people with multimorbidity: a scoping literature review. Psychology and Health


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  • Wang X; Smith C; Ashley L; Hyland M (2019) Tailoring self-help mindfulness and relaxation techniques for stroke survivors: examining preferences, feasibility and acceptability. Frontiers in Psychology


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  • Ashley L; Armitage G; Taylor J (2017) Recognising and referring children exposed to domestic abuse: a multi-professional, proactive systems-based evaluation using a modified Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA). Health and Social Care in the Community, 25 (2), pp. 690-699.


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  • Ashley L; Velikova G; Downing A; Morris E; Wright P (2017) Health-related quality of life in cancer survivorship: Predictive power of the Social Difficulties Inventory. Psycho-Oncology


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  • Ashley LJ; Lawrie I (2016) Tackling inequalities in cancer care and outcomes: psychosocial mechanisms and targets for change. Psycho-Oncology: journal of the psychological, social and behavioral dimensions of cancer, 25 (10), pp. 1122-1126.


  • Grassi L; Fujisawa D; Odyio P; Asuzu C; Ashley L; Bultz B; Travado L; Fielding R (2016) Disparities in psychosocial cancer care: A report from the International Federation of Psycho-oncology Societies. Psycho-Oncology, 25 (10), pp. 1127-1136.


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  • Ashley L; Marti J; Jones H; Velikova G; Wright P (2015) Illness perceptions within 6 months of cancer diagnosis are an independent prospective predictor of health-related quality of life 15 months post-diagnosis. Psycho-Oncology, 24 (11), pp. 1463-1470.


  • Marti J; Hall PS; Hamilton P; Hulme CT; Jones H; Velikova G; Ashley L; Wright P (2015) The economic burden of cancer in the UK: a study of survivors treated with curative intent. Psycho-Oncology


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  • Hall PS; Hamilton P; Hulme CT; Meads DM; Jones H; Newsham A; Marti J; Smith AF; Mason H; Velikova G (2015) Costs of cancer care for use in economic evaluation: a UK analysis of patient-level routine health system data. British Journal of Cancer, 112 (5), pp. 948-956.


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  • Ashley L; Smith AB; Jones H; Velikova G; Wright P (2014) Traditional and Rasch psychometric analyses of the Quality of Life in Adult Cancer Survivors (QLACS) questionnaire in shorter-term cancer survivors 15 months post-diagnosis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 77 (4), pp. 322-329.


  • O’Connor DB; Ashley L; Jones F; Ferguson E (2014) Maladaptive rumination moderates the effects of written emotional disclosure on ambulatory blood pressure levels in females. Health Psychology & Behavioral Medicine, 2 (1), pp. 1067-1077.


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  • Wright P; Fenlon D; Jones H; Foster C; Ashley L; Chivers Seymour K; Velikova G; Okamoto I; Brown J (2014) Using the Clinical Research Network for psychosocial cancer research: lessons learned from two observational studies. BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care, 4 (2), pp. 202-211.


  • Ashley L; Smith AB; Keding A; Jones H; Velikova G; Wright P (2013) Psychometric evaluation of the Revised Illness Perception Questionnaire (IPQ-R) in cancer patients: Confirmatory factor analysis and Rasch analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 75 (6), pp. 556-562.


  • Ashley L; Jones H; Thomas J; Newsham A; Downing A; Morris E; Brown J; Velikova G; Forman D; Wright P (2013) Integrating patient reported outcomes with clinical cancer registry data: a feasibility study of the electronic Patient-reported Outcomes from Cancer Survivors (ePOCS) system. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 15 (10),


  • Ashley L; Keding A; Brown J; Velikova G; Wright P (2013) Score equivalence of electronic and paper versions of the Social Difficulties Inventory (SDI-21): a randomised crossover trial in cancer patients. Quality of Life Research, 22 (6), pp. 1435-1440.


  • Ashley L; O'Connor DB; Jones F (2013) A randomized trial of written emotional disclosure interventions in school teachers: controlling for positive expectancies and effects on health and job satisfaction. Psychology, Health and Medicine, 18 (5), pp. 588-600.


  • Ashley L; Jones H; Velikova G; Wright P (2012) Cancer patients' and clinicians' opinions on the best time in secondary care to approach patients for recruitment to longitudinal questionnaire-based research. Supportive Care in Cancer, 20 (12), pp. 3365-3372.


  • Lawton R; Ashley L; Dawson S; Waiblinger D; Conner M (2012) Employing an extended Theory of Planned Behaviour to predict breastfeeding intention, initiation, and maintenance in White British and South-Asian mothers living in Bradford. British Journal of Health Psychology, 17 (4), pp. 854-871.


  • Armitage G; Taylor J; Ashley L (2012) Systematic assessment in child protection: improving outcomes. Nursing Children and Young People, 24 (2), pp. 20-22.

  • Ashley L; O'Connor DB; Jones F (2011) Effects of Emotional Disclosure in Caregivers: Moderating Role of Alexithymia. Stress and Health, 27 (5), pp. 376-387.


  • Ashley L; Jones H; Thomas J; Forman D; Newsham A; Morris E; Johnson O; Velikova G; Wright P (2011) Integrating cancer survivors' experiences into UK cancer registries: design and development of the ePOCS system (electronic Patient-reported Outcomes from Cancer Survivors). British Journal of Cancer, 105 Suppl 1 pp. S74-S81.


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  • Ashley L; Dexter R; Marshall F; McKenzie B; Ryan M; Armitage G (2011) Improving the safety of chemotherapy administration: an oncology nurse-led failure mode and effects analysis. Oncology Nursing Forum, 38 (6), pp. E436-E444.


  • Ashley L; Jones H; Forman D; Newsham A; Brown J; Downing A; Velikova G; Wright P (2011) Feasibility test of a UK-scalable electronic system for regular collection of patient-reported outcome measures and linkage with clinical cancer registry data: the electronic Patient-reported Outcomes from Cancer Survivors (ePOCS) system. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 11 pp. 66.


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  • Ashley L; Armitage G (2010) Failure mode and effects analysis: an empirical comparison of failure mode scoring procedures. Journal of Patient Safety, 6 (4), pp. 210-215.

  • Ashley L; Armitage G; Neary M; Hollingsworth G (2010) A practical guide to failure mode and effects analysis in health care: making the most of the team and its meetings. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, 36 (8), pp. 351-358.

  • O'Connor DB; Ashley L (2008) Are alexithymia and emotional characteristics of disclosure associated with blood pressure reactivity and psychological distress following written emotional disclosure?. British Journal of Health Psychology, 13 (3), pp. 495-512.